March of 2020 – Airports are closed, beaches are closed, curfews and mandatory lockdown. The whole world had to stay at home to be safe during these crazy times. Unfortunately for many, this meant no surfing, no windsurfing, no surf foiling, SUP foiling nor wing foiling.
Luckily for us, the Taco Crew, Taco Lake is part of our home, so access to a body of water was possible without breaking the law. But without waves and with very little wind, how were we supposed to foil?
Even the cable of the wake park was shut down…
The answer came as quick as the virus had. Pump Foiling.
This means using your body and an up-and-down movement to generate speed and lift in order to continue foiling. The next challenge was how to get up on the foil in the first place.
Fortunately, Tiesda has been working on the design of an electric boat and his latest prototype was strong enough to tow somebody on a foil board. And so, the fun began. Taco Lake, home of Starboard HQ, was empty except for us so we were foiling back and forth, left and right. Swapping boards, moving the foils, adjusting the wings and changing them became part of the common goal: to pump foil as far as possible with as little effort as possible.
But the life span on Tiesda’s electric boat’s battery was limiting. And so was the fact that only one person could be towed at the time. So, we decided to step up our game and learn how to dock start.
How and where to hold the board, which foot should go on the board first and how to run or jump were the biggest unknowns. It didn’t take long for us to get ahold of the dock start pump foiling technique. You should always run facing the water while holding the board flat and parallel to the surface, as high as possible without the foil showing out of the water. It should be the back-foot stepping on the board first, and if it is your right foot, it should be your right hand holding the rail close to the tail. Your hands when holding the board should be more or less in the same position where you want your feet to be, so you can use them as a reference. Just before you jump, you should put your front hand flat on the board, so you can control the lift while your feet are in the air.
Once on the board, you should glide for a bit before you start pumping. And then pump, and pump,
and pump, and pump.
The added benefit of dock-start pump foiling was, that changing or adjusting elements on the board or the foil was much easier and faster since all our gear was already at the dock. Quicker than we would have thought, we went from 5’2” boards over to 4’8” and currently ride 3’11”.
On top of that, the different Starboard foil wings, the different AK foil wings, as well as the masts were all available for us, so our pump foil evolution escalated quickly. Front wing sizes varied between 1300, 1500, 1600 and 1700cm2 with aspect ratios between 4.0 and 7.0; the tail wings between 230 and 270cm2 while the mast heights range between 70 and 95cm. Without realizing it, we went from just having a blast amongst friends to also discovering a very demanding endurance workout with the kicks of foiling, which keeps us entertained and fit for the next possible foil trip.
On top of that, we found the most efficient way of testing foils and boards in front of our office, as well as coming up with new concepts and ideas. These will be tested further and might perhaps pop up in the next year’s catalogue.