Advanced pumping - aka how the pros pump

The way top foilers pump is so distinct from the average punter, and I think it is worth some observation.

They do:

  • strike their arms back
  • bent forward slightly at the hips
  • project forward
  • short sharp burst movements

They don’t:

  • swing their arms back and forth, and especially not forward
  • stand upright (generally)
  • bounce / swing / rock

I think for slower intermediate foils this doesn’t really matter, but I think what is happening is figuring out how to project forward on a high aspect foil, while keeping the foil from getting to a high angle of attack and stalling.

I think the important thing is that swinging your arms forward kills momentum, so you don’t swing forward, only strike back. This is more important when going slower, when most less competent foilers on the same foil would stall it trying to accelerate.

Here are some clips.

Here, once up to full speed, doing the back swing every second pump

Much bigger foil, much less movement and more upright on the bigger foil, but same base movement

Watch how James Casey does the grave dig pump with striking his arms back, but then as he gets up to speed he goes into a more swinging pump

So the challenge will be to strike your arms back, but not swing them forward again

Another one, easy to see how at the slow dockstart speed you only pump like this


As someone still learning to pump - I agree about the arms swinging back and forth.
I’ve tried both the swing and also more of a relaxed arm motion and definitively feel like keeping the arms relatively still helps a lot.
Don’t get me wrong I’m still an absolute wreck at pumping - but I can still notice a difference.


James drives his arms forward as nearly all do. Even Adam is driving forward with his hands but it’s relative to how far back the hands finish in the stroke before. They are still projecting forward otherwise their hands couldn’t sweep back as they must come forward in order to be able to sweep back. Adam hides it better than most but it is still there.

There are clips of mike pedigo pumping up an inlet that I found the very best to study due to the technique and the great filming angle. He drives short fast forward and slower back. Of course the large swinging motion is not ideal and I fight it every day.

Examples of pumping big foils don’t help as anyone can pump them

My go to model is Oskar J. - who (paraphrasing) says

the arm swing can help some stay in rhythm but doesn’t make more efficient pumping
try to minimize porpoising your board
stay high on the mast for to really maximize efficiency (which he says really “unlocked” a higher level of pumping for him)

Most of the vid’s I see (like on the Dock Start FB Group) show wild arm thrashing, board noses moving up and down a lot, and even for people who seem pretty comfortable staying on foil - are way low on their masts…

Disagree, they are bringing their hands forward, but the emphasis and the power is in the backswing. Can you show an example of what you mean?

Couldn’t find a clip, but from what I could see he does what I’m describing. Mostly he edits the pumping out.

I think this is why people struggle when they get off the big foils because it doesn’t matter, but you can pump them like Erik does in the clip. Most people don’t/can’t

Yes definitely, but that is generic advice for beginners. Beyond that I don’t hear much, but see a lot. I’ve been working on the technique described and I think it is a refinement and addition on exactly that. If you can’t do all that basic stuff then yes this refinement isn’t possible.

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Good example from the grand master at 1:00. Body forward, arms dont swing ahead of shoulders and legs do all the work.


Casey: uses an offset stance

That is great, definitely demonstrates it in that clip

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Join Coach Casey Club for 3 months. Pumping is dissected to a minute detail there. Having a professional coach dissect your personal footage on a weekly basis is more beneficial than buying a new tail wing. :slight_smile:


Can’t forget Oscar:

I noticed he was putting more effort into the back swing. Almost scooping down and back by bending at the hips a little.

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Arm swing doesn’t matter. I put my hands in my pockets as a joke and it didn’t make much difference.

Keeping the board perfectly level is so crucial (in all directions).
Keeping perfect balance is a major challenge for most. Sacrificing pumps for “balance calibrations” is costly. The next big issue I see is riders pointing their nose down slightly when they pump. You gain speed, but lose everything else you worked for.

My issue currently is always craving acceleration on the pump, pushing the foil faster than it needs to be and wasting cardio


he looks like hes got a bit of a front arm swing, quite different then bennetts. im learning alot from this thread. It seems like I should be minimizing the front arm swing. Ive looked at oceanpixels and he also does some kind of forward arm swing like oscar

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Go look at Dylan Fish Bez if you want to see a flat water pump record holder. Only does the back arm motion. The back arm motion is done when trying to gain speed. Dylan Fish Bez on Instagram: "Super fun second ever dock start session. I can see why people love this now. It's always fun. And the more people doing it, the better it is. 🤩 Cheers to Matt for letting up use his perfect setup 🏠 and filming. 🎥 @axisfoils"

Arm swing helps keep you in time. Anything above the elbow doesn’t help and probably hurts, but I do it anyway, so sue me.

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I disagree. Watch any pro in slow motion and you will see the nose pitch down before they begin the down pump. WakeThief calls it the “DRIVE” part of the pump sequence,

A pro rider like Oskar J, says they keep the board level as possible, but watch any of his videos, the board is NOT level during the pump sequence.


Hi Matt,
The clip of mike pedigo is below. Better to watch on picuki so you can slow no. Note this is for learning to pump better.

I believe the best technique to follow is the two stroke method. One pump pulling the arms back for speed generation, the next pump subtle arms forward and up pump for height gain. So when learning it’s height speed height speed height speed etc which was typical of all pumping done by all pro level foilers a few years ago but some more or less exaggerated than others. The higher the aspect the less movement but it was still there.

Bending at the waist allows exaggerating the speed stroke because the height stroke is helped by leaning forward and the arms don’t come as far forward or need to because you can pull you legs higher while bent forward for some reason.

When you see Adam doing the speed stroke repeatedly after flicking off the wave he can do this because he already has such highly developed height maintenance but even so once up to speed he does morph back into a two stroke maintenance pump for efficiency and you can see that on his longer pumps but is not to frequently captured in video but it is there. James does the same. Sometimes when gliding in they may do just a few one stroke height gainers in a row if the glide was a little unpredictable.

If most were to focus on Adam’s one stroke phase they will just loose height eventually and consequently speed.

These are just my observations as a foil brained nut.


Like running without using your arms lol. Try using your arms as described it helps with the acceleration.

Yes this is a good description

Yeah he does it very subtly, because he’s on a big foil etc, but certainly has the motion down

Thanks this is excellent, exactly right it’s not one technique that replaces all the others, its a subtle nuance specifically on the speed stroke. Once up to speed it is too much energy to maintain, but I think you’ve captured it.

It’s the best way to accelerate up to maintenance speed. Once you’re at speed, slow cadence pump with maybe a bit more swinging for rhythm, focus on breath, stay smooth etc.

That clip from Mike is great because it shows all the variations, but on the 12th or 13th pump to accelerate from the glide, he does exactly what I mean, a big back strike emphasised pump or two, then back to easy pumps

Yes I think so, though I’m not sure why

To summarize when do you do the mr. B back dig stroke only versus the front arm swing plus back swing?

This only applies to a fast foil that is going too slow aka need to dig. In short, when you need a burst of acceleration to get up to speed.

Watch this clip at 6sec in, watch in 4k at 0.25 speed.

See how as he kicks out, between the 2 sets, he suddenly does 3 quick very bent, very arm-strike style pumps. That is the moment. Need acceleration, need speed to glide the upcoming wave. Need to do it quickly.

The reason you don’t see the this in the wake thief clip is that he is using a slow foil and trying to maintain steady speed.

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Cole knows a lot about pumping and pumps better than most. Might be worth a relisten.

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