Pumping onto foil, SUP vs Wing

Going to start tooling around to see if I can figure out this DW thing. I’m coming at this as a total SUP noob, but with a lot of winging experience (including downwinging), and I like to feel like I am pretty efficient pumping onto foil with small wing gear (sinker board, smaller foils and smaller sails for the given wind speed). I also know how to time my wing and board pumping with swell energy to get onto foil.

My question is how comparable is the pump timing, and lower body pumping dynamics between pumping onto foil with a wing vs a paddle? What kind of mechanical or timing adjustments should I be making with the paddle vs the wing?

Anybody made this transition and how translatable is it?

To make matters more complicated, I have a competitive paddling background (from a long time ago), but I’m naturally a right side paddler, but a goofy surfer/winger, so I’m going to have to switch my natural paddling side and totally relearn my stroke - but thats another can of worms…

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For me, it was mostly intuitive. The wing boards need pumping because they aren’t very efficient in the water. The dw boards need a lot less pump, but they benefit well from paddle speed on takeoff.

More than anything, timing is crucial with your paddle take offs. Skilled paddlers paddle way too much. It’s a feel, when the right swell pushes, get speed and 2-3 pumps and you’re off.


You are the first one who has ever made it sound easy. There might be hope for me afterall! Ha. Thanks

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I’m a defect, I paddled up right away. I’m a sup surfer though, so I thought of it like catching a traditional wave.

Cloud IX fs1780 with 66cm mast. Nuking winds. Up and gliding 15 minutes in.

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Once you figure out the balance, paddling up isn’t actually that hard (in decent energy). The hardest part is putting down power while not falling off the board.


As a SUP noob, you will need to put in time to get your balance and stamina up just standing on the board for extended periods. It’s not the same as winging fitness and balance wise. I have a lot of SUP experience but had stopped several years back due to a rib injury so my balance was gone. It just took time on the water to get my balance and stamina back- standing on an 18" wide SUP foil board is kind of like holding a yoga pose, your legs start shaking and you lose it eventually at the beginning. Once your balance kicks in, you can be a lot more relaxed and it’s way easier. If your paddling experience includes knowing how to brace a tippy craft, you are ahead of the game since you will be bracing almost constantly waiting for bumps.

Longer mast and/or wide span foils help. Start with SUP foil surfing if you have waves, then start pushing to get in earlier and earlier to unbroken swell. Go out when it’s windy & choppy.

I would say that pumping the foil is more important on SUP than wing


I have prone foiled for 6.5 years and winged downwind since wings existed. I have spent the last 12 months learning dw and flat water paddle up when conditions allow. Pumping up with a wing has little to no resemblance to paddling up a dw sup. I thought the same as you but the learning curve is significant. Winging was very easy to learn. I did have some sup experience surfing little sup’s and that helped a bit but there is so much to learn. I think it has taken 1 year of dedication at dw, flat water practice and riding the dw sup in the surf every chance to finally feel like I am going ok but still plenty to learn.

The good news is that from winging dw you will be able to stay up once you get up like I was able to. It’s a massive head start but still hardest thing I have learned.


The only crossover from winging I’ve seen is to wing way way underpowered, and rely on bumps for the extra push to get onto foil, and to only use the wing for balance. Underpowered such that you’re forced to use the bumps and otherwise won’t get on foil. The most important thing to learn is the rhythm of bumps. Unless you have dead easy steep bumps, it is very difficult.

Also get used to riding unpleasantly big foils. Axis 1300 or Armstrong APF 1880.

In terms of how easy:

You will fall over a lot, the only people who don’t are sup surfers. It is all very difficult. Winging honestly is about the easiest thing in foiling, and SUP downwind the hardest - looking across the people I know who have tried them, even prone is more predictable.

I’ve found and seen that pumping and ability to glide is not well developed from winging, maybe worse than you realise. Winging feels like you have a massive motor in comparison, so you come to rely on it and aren’t forced to feel out the low end to the extreme degree necessary.

Location then dictates the rest, easy conditions and logistics and you could progress quite quickly.


I agree. Winging very underpowered on a dw board is a similar (board) pump up to sup. I also think that downwinding using a small wing, and forcing yourself to stay on the front handle as much as possible is a great way to learn to read / surf the bumps


flatwater paddle-up is much much harder than paddling up on even the slightest bump. So don’t judge from that. If there is energy in the water and it isn’t moving so fast that it passes you up, you won’t need to pump the board to get it out of the water. Its more about keeping your balance, correct foot positioning, and putting down enough power in the paddle to get up to speed in time with the bump.

Go out there and struggle a bit and you’ll get it quickly. Might take a few sessions, but could also happen on the first session if you have enough stability/volume/width in your SUP board.


Even better if the wind slightly side-off, trying to stop you instead of helping you, and if the foil is way faster than the wave - it makes you really look for the energy and to make turns to generate the speed.

Two different sports all together so hard to compare imo. You’ll likely be riding different foils, mast lengths and fuzes. All of that will require a different approach to the pop-up and then trimming the ride. As others have stated, winging is like riding with an engine… there is a higher level of skill required (in all things) including timing, balance, foiling and fitness… when you take away that engine. Best of luck with your progression.