Foil pumping physics

As an avid mountain biker who also peruses bike forums - this article really unlocked my understanding of how pumping a foil works (from a physics standpoint) and helped me refine my technique:

How to Pump Your Bike, According to Physics - Pinkbike

Pumping a foil uses the same technique of increasing speed through conservation of angular momentum - except with a foil we are free to move the foil through a curve anywhere (similar to how you pump a surf skate on flat pavement).

If you watch good pumpers on the foil - they extend their arms upwards as the extend their legs through the pump. This works to further raise their center of mass off the foil and gives more speed / a more effective pump.

This video is a breakdown of the same technique, but used to generate speed on a surfboard:

How to Generate Speed | The Pumping Technique - Learn How Advanced Surfers Accelerate. (

Here’s an old video of me which shows the leg extension timing through the pump (my pumping has gotten a lot better since this was taken):

Hope this helps someone!


yeah, i find alot of connection between MTB and foil. Intention, commitment, confidence. Mannaging your headspace is half the battle in both.

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Agreed- add to the list that both are hard on the wallet :rofl: