That the pumpfoiling community is growing is not a secret. People who stay regularly at lakes or rivers will spot out more and more brave people flying over the water. Observing first time a pumpfoiler is an impressive and fascinating moment.
It happens quite often, that people who see me for the first time Pumpfoiling, approach me and ask me questions like “Is there a small engine built in?”, “How difficult is it to learn?”, “Can you do it the whole year round?”, “Is pumpfoiling like going to the gym and do you do it each day?”, “Do all the pumpfoilers use the same equipment?”. But also those who observe me more frequently are curious to get to know more about that fascinating sport.
To find out a little bit more about the growing pumpfoiling community, we conducted a survey among the local pumpfoilers. For sure we could not reach every pumpfoiler and just started the survey with sharing a link to the survey in a local pumpfoiling chat group in Switzerland. Therefore, the result may not be completely representative. Nonetheless, it reveals some insights into the small but growing group of pumpfoilers.
The survey was open from July 6 to July 31, 2022 and in total thirty pumpfoilers participated in the survey. Let us now have a look at some of the findings.
Pumpfoiling something new?
As there are not yet so many people indulging pumpfoiling, many people ask for how long pumpfoiling actually already exists. Well, using foils in different applications is nothing new. However, using foils for pumpfoiling, purely imposed by the riders body is not as old as the first applications used for motor driven boats.
Looking at the results of the survey, which primarily includes respondents from the local Zurich based community, we see that over one third only started in 2022.
Talking about an aquatic’s sports, many people most probably assume that most pumpfoilers did their first steps – or better pumps – during the summer months. But looking at the responses, we can see that many did their first attempts during the colder season (please note, the respondents of the survey are mainly located in Switzerland where the winter months can be quite cold and water temperatures are not inviting everyone for a swim in the bikini…).
How does it come, that so many started in the colder time of the year? How did they get into contact with Pumpfoiling?
How did you hear about pumpfoiling?
Over 40% of the pumpfoilers responded, that they saw someone doing pumpfoiling and due to that that got aware that pumpfoiling exists. But also 30% got across Pumpfoiling by having a friend who seems to have been convincing.
How difficult is pumpfoiling?
Doing the first attempts is only the beginning of the career. Especially those who have not yet tried Pumpfoiling ask very often how difficult it is “to fly smoothly over water”. For sure, it will depend on if you ask an experienced pumpfoiler or someone who just started his pumpfoiling career.
So let us first have a quick look how the survey respondents judge their own pumpfoiling skills.
More than 60% of the participants judge their pumping skills as “advanced intermediate” or better. But how much effort does it require to master Pumpfoiling? How many times do you have to fail until you can enjoy flying over the water?
For sure, it is not a sport you try once and after the first session you will be a ‘master-pumper’. Most survey participants responded that it takes between 150 and 600 attempts to learn Pumpfoiling. Some people may challenge and say it depends how experienced you are and what you would judge as ‘can pumpfoil’. In the graph above you see, that the result is similar independent if you consider the feedback from all respondents or only the more advanced pumpfoilers.
There are different brands and models of foiling equipment. For sure, it takes some time to decide if you want to invest into equipment and once the decision is taken to invest into it, the question comes what equipment fits your use case. As an alternative, there are more and more shops that offer to rent equipment.
Most of the survey participants have their own equipment.
For sure, in case you frequently go pumpfoiling, it will worth to buy your own equipment as it can become quite costly and also take some time, in case you have to pick up each time the rental equipment at a shop, that may is not close to your preferred pumfpoiling spot.
Based on our survey, we can see that more than 65% of the participants go at least weekly pumpfoiling – so be careful, may you get addicted to it after your first try… 😉
But let us go back to the equipment. There are many different brands and models on the market. Looking at the previous question about how they got in contact with Pumpfoiling, we may also have to consider that the decision for the equipment is besides other factors also influenced what equipment the colleagues are using. Nonetheless, the variety of the boards and models used by the survey participants is quite big.
Interesting is to see is that some people also do their own boards. Searching in the worldwide web, you can also find quite some information how to make your own board.
The frontwing has a major impact on the behavior of the system. What is the preference here and is there any difference dependent on the foilers level? As we could already see from the previous question, there are different brands and consecutively also different models used.
Interesting to see is that when digging a little bit deeper, the variety of boards used based on the experience level changes.
The participants in our survey mainly use INDIANA frontwings.
However, looking at the responses of the more advanced pumpfoilers (responses counted of all participants who categorized themselves as “Advanced intermediate – I can manage the dockstart, pump for more than 20 sec and manage front and back side turns”, “Advanced – I can pump stable for more than 45 seconds” or “Wakethief – I can pump for more than 60 seconds”) the variety of used foils becomes bigger.
Well, this does not yet answer if there is a clear correlation between the pumpfoilers level (that has also been assigned by the pumpfoiler itself on a qualitativ level) or if they have exchanged their equipment. To get this more precise, we asked also if they still foil with the same equipment or if they have changed it over time.
As we can see, over two third already changed their equipment. Combining the answer of the question about if one is still using the same equipment with when they did start with pumpfoiling, we can conclude that a majority of the foilers who pumpf or more than 1 year have changed their equipment.
Well, I do not know what your impression is about pumpfoilers and “who these pumpfoilers are”? Well, those who observed pumpfoilers during the winter months they may call them “brave” – or just crazy 😉
But are these just all young kids being bored, or elderly people looking for a fancy gym nachine?
Well, at least in my opinion this is something really cool about this sport: There are people of all ages practicing and enjoying this sport!
People approaching me at the dock also very often ask, if I do other foiling sports. Also within the pumpfoiling community, we often talk about other foiling sports. But which of the other foiling sports do the pumpfoilers who participated in this survey practice?
More than 80% of the survey participants replied that they also do other foiling sports besides Pumpfoiling. Overall, 38% replied that they also practice Wing Foiling, which seams besides Pumpfoiling to be the main foiling sport of our participant group.
Recommendations for beginners
Having looked a little bit at the preferences of our community, we for sure also wanted to get to know from them their recommendations for the ones who got curious about pumpfoiling and want to do their first steps. Below, you find a selection of the recommendations given by the survey participants (please note that we have not reflected feedbacks that contained sales promotions).
As we can see from the survey, the diversity makes the community. Pumpfoiling can be challenging and most probably all of us who already tried pumpfoiling and have not given up know, that there are phases where giving up seems to be the easier choice than to jump one more time on the board – and may that is the attempt it works!
In the additional comments someone mentioned:
“The community around pumpfoiling helps a lot to stick to it even you’re feeling like a complete failure in the beginning. This is so important and a great joy.”
That is very much down to the point. Pumpfoiling is not only a great sport, but also a great opportunity to meet likeminded people who support each other.
Thanks a lot to the survey participants and sharing some insights. Especially, also thanks for sharing the recommendations for the beginners. Looking forward meeting you at the lake, river or wherewere there is a chance for pumpfoiling!
We reserve all rights in this article and for the contents contained therein. Reproduction, use or disclosure in third party documentation without express authority is strictly forbidden. © 2022, pumpfoilers.ch, firstname.lastname@example.org, all rights reserved