Forums > Stand Up Paddle Foiling

How much of downwinding is fitness?

Created by icharus 3 months ago, 8 Feb 2019
NSW, 1948 posts
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7 Mar 2019 4:39AM
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PeterP said..

JB said..

PeterP said..

murf said..

PeterP said..
Very nice run Mr Murf - you barely had a touchdown if at all? My graphs are a little too rugged for public viewing - my best 1km is 3:21 but I can never maintain as I run out of steam and runway. Our second half is distinctly more challenging than our first and it really punishes anyone who doesn't have the skills and/or stamina to stay up on foil without assistance from the bumps.

I'm beginning to believe the holy grail of dwd foiling is the ability to pump unassisted by any bumps for at least 200m. On a good day I might make 50m but (very) slowly improving.

Thanks Peter

Knowing how to pump helps a lot but the best tip I can give is not to chase the runs down the runs in front of you but peel off the run you are on and hook onto the run coming from behind you. Saves a lot of pumping and energy. Ot made a massive difference in the way i downwind now.

Agreed, the peeling off works really well for me in the first half of our run, but further down as our bumps get more crossed up and flatter, I often find you peel off and have to try stay on foil with no assistance from bumps - ie you have to pump. It could be poor technique in not peeling off at the right time and reading it wrong but I feel I'd be able to reconnect if I had more ability to stay up in the flats - but by then I'm so knackered the last bit of technique is gone - one day....

I call it retreating, but same thing. It is super important to et this timing right, or you will be working hard. I use the term retreating as you're kind of bailing on a good run (i.e. retreating). It is so hard to retreat/peel off when you're flying along and everything feels awesome! Here's a try an explaining how I try and time it.

1. Paddling and pumping for your bump.
2. If there's no chop or prop to get you up and the bumps seems like it's going to pass you by, let it go, slow down and regain energy. then hit the throttle again as you're coming off the back of it (very important), you kind of want your first paddle pump to be as the next bump is forming behind your board (don't wait too long or it will pass you too), it will feel a little dead and un-aided at first, but quickly become easy and get you foiling efficiently.
3. Once you get up on the foil and have gathered speed, it is time to start thinking about your first retreat. It is important to ensure you have speed, but do not wait too long. 99% of errors IMO are from staying on your pump for too long and drawing out the speed. As soon as your speed spikes, get off and use that speed to go hunting.
4. This is the tricky part, you will hardly be able to see what it is that you are going for (you will learn to read it really well the more you do it), but you need to turn for it early and align your momentum in a very similar fashion to point 2. (before the pump has reached you and properly formed). It will feel like your turning straight in the "pit", and your inner thoughts are going to be like WTF R U Doin! But it will all happen, the pump will form up behind you, and your speed will increase again, and if you've done it well you may not even have to bounce, pump or paddle at all. Then we repeat the process.
5. It is important to know when you can run some glides, and when you need to keep retreating, plus you need to watch and follow the swell/chop pattern, and there's often a repeating pattern out there where you'll go Right, right, Left, right, right, left (and so on). The important thing is not to reach and pass your top speed, if you start decelerating, you've likely stayed on that bump too long and will inevitably need to pump and/or paddle for your next transition. (If you constantly hunt after that 29km/h run DW'ing (which is what I used to do a lot), you will find your averages are low and efforts are through the roof. However if you come to the realisation that 19km/h is a smoking fast average, and 25km.h is a smoking high for DW'ing, then you'll have higher lows, better averages with less pumping and no paddling and use far less energy allowing you to go way further.)

I guess the key thing I always say, is do it way before you think you should. Retreat earlier, change bumps earlier, paddle earlier and so on. When you get in the groove, it is amazing, and will feel like you're floating on nothing at all but cruising at a good stable pace with little effort.

Don't be in a rush, learn to hold your foil back, fly high. I like using an 80cm mast for DW, and I use every cm. Slow, smooth and calculated.

Most of all, just get out there and do it. Every session you learn something.

Ride safe.


Great tips in there JB - out of interest: How proficient are you at pumping in the flats? You've clearly nailed it on the DWD but can yo do 200m after pulling out of a wave? I'm obsessed with cracking the dwd foil code and I'm practicing pump-technique when there isn't enough wind to dwd.
I think it would be useful if one could establish a rule of thumb for when you might be ready to crack a no touch-down dwd on foil and whether you think the 200m flat pump is it?

Hey PeterP,

Yes I can pump back out in the surf and link up waves regularly. It is important to be able to cover some distance without out aid, as you will inevitably make a mistake dw'ing and need to pump (or for lighter days).

Here's another long video from yesterday's short lap session at St Kilda Pier. The wind was funky west, so we opted for some training of=ver a long run just incase it did a 90 degree switch on us (which it did a few times) during a crossing of Port Phillip Bay. This will help with hte fitness vs tech thing, as there is very little pumping. My HR was pretty on every run.


Ride safe,



Forums > Stand Up Paddle Foiling

"How much of downwinding is fitness?" started by icharus