Forums > Wing Foiling General

How to swap your feet

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Created by Gorgo 1 month ago, 26 Jul 2021
Gorgo
VIC, 4669 posts
26 Jul 2021 7:27PM
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There's two ways of swapping your feet on the foil. The Pro way where you smoothly swap feet on the fly in a single coordinated motion, and the Less Pro way where you move your feet in a series of smaller steps.

I am a natural foot, left foot forward rider. I always do foot swaps with the wing over the left side of the board. So riding left foot forward and heel side I carve to toe side then swap feet. If I'm riding right foot forward I swap to left foot forward/toe side and do a heel side carve.

The Pro way:
- Ride along in your normal stance.
- Get some good speed up.
- Give the foil a pump to bring the nose up. It's not a bad idea to do 3 pumps to give you a bit of a ready-set-go action.
- Pumping the foil makes the board rise up so when you swap your feet the board is travelling up and able to compensate for your weight being placed on the front of the board. The additional speed also gives more lift to the foil and makes it more able to support your weight.
- Quickly and firmly move your back foot to the front foot position.
- Almost instantaneously move your old front foot to the back foot position. You can delay this if the pump was solid and the speed good and you have a big foil. Chances are you'll crash if you don't do it quickly enough.
- Ride away and accept applause from the crowd.

If you get the timing wrong the board is supposed to drop down onto the surface. You can complete the foot swap during that instant and bounce back up onto the foil. If you're stuck on the surface then the board was going too slow and the swap was too slow.

Don't jump up in the air and do a scissor kick. I guess it could work but I don't like your chances. The foil works much better with some weight on it.

The Less-Pro Way

The balance point of your foil is a point on the board more or less directly below your crotch. You can stand with both feet in this area and be perfectly stable.

Depending on your speed and the type of foil the balance point is quite large, it can extend all the way to the front foot position (which is why the Pro foot swap works).

You can practice exploring this balance point as you ride along, dabbing your feet in and out of the balance point. Start off with moving a foot then transferring your weight to load that foot then back again.

To do the Less Pro foot swap:
- Bring your back foot forward to the balance point in front of the foil.
- Bring your front foot back to be beside your back foot (more or less)
- Bring your old back foot to the front foot position.
- Bring your old front foot to the back foot position.

You can do this in a series of dabs and shuffles, or do it in a smooth flowing series of moves. If you do it fast and smoothly you're doing the full on Pro foot swap. A 1-2-3 sequence is pretty solid and feels good.

The advantage of the Less Pro method is you can do it with any speed and almost any time you like. You don't have to set up for it, you just do it whenever you want. More importantly you can practice all the elements of moving your feet as you ride along. You don't have to do it in a single flowing movement. You can stop and stabilise at each point. It's part of learning to intuitively feel and tune your foil as you ride and that has to be a good thing.

A particularly nice thing about a foot swap is you can do a fast change then you get a period of descending gliding where you accelerate in the new position and you're a bit front foot heavy. Things naturally balance out and it stabilises and away you go. That instant of swoosh is very nice.

Also quite fun is the Less-Pro method can result in your feet being a little bit close together. The board tends to get a bit pivoty in this position. It can be nice to snap the foot change and combine it with a bit of swoopy turning action. It's quite nice on longer boards where the swing weight can take over a little and bring the board through a turn.

hilly
WA, 6217 posts
26 Jul 2021 5:49PM
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Great descriptions
I have a less pro way

Natural stance and I only change the feet riding with the right hand forward on the wing. If I do change, which is rare now I use a front strap.
I let the board touch the water then swap feet, just after a toe side gybe or just before a heel side gybe. The touch down makes the board stable. Trick is to just kiss the water rather than bog down.

58 secs in Alex Aguera vid below:

Youngbreezy
WA, 777 posts
26 Jul 2021 8:05PM
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Very well described there Gorgo, nice one!

The less pro method is really the key to starting to learn foot switches. I have seen a lot of tutorials from pros where they say " switch your feet in one quick smooth motion" what they might as well say is "be really good at switching your feet". Not very helpful for learning.

Moving the back foot forward and finding that central point of balance on the board is a great exercise for getting familiar with your foil and board. Good to practice some skiing stance with feet side by side can be fun.

I find the foot switching technique in wingfoiling to be almost exactly the same as kite foiling. Makes it easy for us with kite foiling experience.

eppo
WA, 8325 posts
26 Jul 2021 9:04PM
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Mines somewhere in the middle. Quick swap then micro dabs and shuffles if need be (if I don't quite nail It. Must admit I'm swapping less and less.

northy1
321 posts
27 Jul 2021 1:57AM
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That is super userful Gorgo - i am on this mission now, so thanks for the tips

Q1. how soon after the gybe do people swap...i take a while to recompose (disbeleif ive gybed, haha)

Q2. i see quite a few people almost / kinda switching their feet during the gybe itself...i havent analysed it but seems that way to me

Jethrow
NSW, 1040 posts
27 Jul 2021 7:19AM
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One of the Damian LeRoy videos said that if you're gybing from your weaker stance to your stronger one then switch feet before the gybe. When going from stronger to weaker then switch after.

Currently I can do neither!

Velocicraptor
48 posts
27 Jul 2021 5:51AM
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Im naturally goofy (right foot forward) and I foot switch in two instances:

1) Foot switch from goofy/toe side/natural to regular/heel-side/unnatural AFTER a gybe if I want to crank as far upwind as possible on that run. I find Im a bit more efficient upwind on my heel-side (even if its my unnatural stance) versus toe-side.
2) Foot switch from regular/heel-side/unnatural to goofy/toe-side/natural BEFORE a gybe or tack any time Im going into it unnatural. I can't transition on my unnatural side yet.

For all foot switches, I bring my front foot out of the strap and scoot my feet closer together before doing the switch. This has gotten smoother and faster with more practice. Haven't been strapping the back foot yet, but figuring that out (and how to get that back foot out for the switch) is next on the agenda.

eppo
WA, 8325 posts
27 Jul 2021 6:37AM
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Select to expand quote
Jethrow said..
One of the Damian LeRoy videos said that if you're gybing from your weaker stance to your stronger one then switch feet before the gybe. When going from stronger to weaker then switch after.

Currently I can do neither!


Yeh that's what I'm forced to do. Tend to go from non natural heel stance back into toeside almost as I'm giving around. As my left leg goes in front into toeside stance I'm leaning and carving.

mcrt
274 posts
27 Jul 2021 6:42AM
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I have learned what you call the "pro" way.But i am not sure it is the best way.
It implies a very unbalanced position(both feet forward) and this is a bad place to be when the water is really active and x-choppy

I can now bring it off about 90% of switches,both tacks, but i am going to try and learn the "easy" way you describe.

Easier is very often better i think.

I like to do upwind/downwind yoyo's and pulling off any maneuver in +20kt chop with good fetch (aka good downwind conditions) when you are a bit tired and stiff after a 10min upwind tack is hard,very hard.

So whatever is more surefire is better IMHO.

Same in breaking waves,do not fall,do not come off foil.Whatever works,style points are overrated sometimes.

Good post Gorgo.There was a YT vid by a teeny hawaian girl describing exactly this method.Will try to find it.

martyj4
352 posts
27 Jul 2021 7:07AM
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Thanks a Million gorgo! This is my second biggest problem after riding toeside. Top ideas. I've been experimenting with moving my feet closer together to make the swap easier, but your notes give a good system of doing this.
More homework.....

airsail
QLD, 750 posts
27 Jul 2021 9:37AM
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Can I add that wearing booties make foot swap much harder. I do the pro version both ways and often your front foot ends up slightly off after the switch. In bare feet it's easy to shuffle your foot to the correct position using your toes, something that is almost impossible in booties.

eppo
WA, 8325 posts
27 Jul 2021 9:12AM
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Yeh hate booties. No tactile feel. But forced to use them if in estuary to avoid the bity crustaceans. I then take them off and stuff down wetty.

sunsetsailboards
169 posts
28 Jul 2021 1:02AM
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go with the pro way. it will take a little time to dial in but will also make you a better rider IMO. I started windsurf style foot switch bringing my front foot back first and then quickly stepping forward. I sometimes do this still if really underpowered/going really slow. but now pretty much exclusively go double front foot style.

one tip for pro way is not to slow down too much before the foot switch. the more flow over the foil, the more it can resist momentarily having two feet up front. be quick but don't hurry. deliberately place your old back toes next to your other toes and then step back... jumping around in a hurry makes the board do all sorts of weird things. flying the wing overhead also decreases some of your weight pressure on the board.

I've now also gotten in a habit of pivoting on the ball of my old front foot as i'm pumping up and moving my rear foot up. gives me a little more space and de-rotates my hips a bit. Was actually thinking it would be good to get some video of different foot switching techniques. Will see if my buddy can work on it with me.

Gorgo
VIC, 4669 posts
28 Jul 2021 10:52AM
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You really need to master both methods. The pro/strap-to-strap method is very nice, but it's not very tolerant of poor conditions or mistakes.

The less-pro/multistep/shuffle method can be done at any time, in any conditions, at any speed. It is very resilient and very reliable. It's what you're doing if your feet don't quite make it doing the pro method.

More importantly it frees you from having your feet in only that special spot. You can walk around the deck at will and that helps every aspect of your foiling.

I wear booties all the time. I love the freedom and simplicity and feel of bare feet. I hate the foot injuries and wear and tear of bare feet. I have a permanent injury to a toe joint simply because I stubbed my toe on a rock hurrying to get to the water.

In ideal conditions I go barefoot. If the sand is burning hot I wear 1.5mm reef shoes. If it's chilly or there's reefs in the area I wear 3-4mm boots, usually on my strapped boards. In the cold weather I've been wearing 5mm boots strapless on the wingding.

The grip with boots is better than bare feet. I surfed a short custom SUP for several years with boots and no deck pad, wax of sugar coat. The board wasn't polished.

mcrt
274 posts
28 Jul 2021 1:51PM
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Select to expand quote
Gorgo said..
You really need to master both methods. The pro/strap-to-strap method is very nice, but it's not very tolerant of poor conditions or mistakes.

The less-pro/multistep/shuffle method can be done at any time, in any conditions, at any speed. It is very resilient and very reliable. It's what you're doing if your feet don't quite make it doing the pro method.

More importantly it frees you from having your feet in only that special spot. You can walk around the deck at will and that helps every aspect of your foiling.

I wear booties all the time. I love the freedom and simplicity and feel of bare feet. I hate the foot injuries and wear and tear of bare feet. I have a permanent injury to a toe joint simply because I stubbed my toe on a rock hurrying to get to the water.

In ideal conditions I go barefoot. If the sand is burning hot I wear 1.5mm reef shoes. If it's chilly or there's reefs in the area I wear 3-4mm boots, usually on my strapped boards. In the cold weather I've been wearing 5mm boots strapless on the wingding.

The grip with boots is better than bare feet. I surfed a short custom SUP for several years with boots and no deck pad, wax of sugar coat. The board wasn't polished.


First day of this season i went without booties i kicked the foil in a fall downwinding...small but deep cut on the top of the foot.
I foiled back in with what looked like gallons of blood&water sloshing around the white deck ,mostly visual effect but it does look very impressive.
Three stitches and a more than two weeks healing ,as i have gone into the water pretty much everyday in typical surfer dimwit fashion.

Gorgo
VIC, 4669 posts
28 Jul 2021 4:42PM
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PS on booties. I kite surfed for years on a surfboard with two straight mounted straps.

The front strap is mounted wide so you can get your front foot in and your foot twists in the strap so it locks down on your foot. The little toe of my left (dominant front foot) would be wedged in under the edge of the strap.

Riding without booties I would get a really nasty blister on the little toe, which would make subsequent sessions painful. That's what started me on almost full time boot wearing.

Jeroensurf
467 posts
28 Jul 2021 5:00PM
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96kg Goofy and strapless and doing it the Hilly Alex Aguera way.
Due surgery on my left foot I have only feel/control over my big toe and the part behind that, the rest of the foot doesnt have any function left so that is giving some small balance issues.That 2 seconds with the small touchdown/bounce ads just that tiny bit of extra stability that helps with the transfer.

Frankieboy
32 posts
28 Jul 2021 6:47PM
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As said before riding with feet closer together helps a lot switching feet (straless), but also help pumping with less effort (more efficient) to stay on a bump or connect bumps.

It is also like being more relax on the wing/kite board.

Look at Greg from boardridingmaui how cool it looks !

Gorgo
VIC, 4669 posts
29 Jul 2021 11:01AM
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There are a few issues with the touch-down method of changing your feet.

As a technique it's perfectly fine. If that's what works for you then go for it. With refinement you can get a perfectly weighted swoosh as you touch the surface. It's fast and feels great.

It's not good as a pathway to learning to swap your feet on the foil. You can do the most perfect touch-down foot swaps and it's not a matter of making them better to do them on the foil. You have to do something different and that's the pump to raise the foil before you swap. That's almost the exact opposite of what you do when doing a touch-down swap, where you line up a bit of flat water and aim to bounce off it. You're pressing the board down into the water. That's great for your agility and comfort in the movement. Not great for actually foiling through it.

Certainly if you mess up a foiling foot swap you'll end up doing a touch-down swap. It's highly unlikely you'll mess up a touch-down swap and end up doing a foiling swap.

The other thing is that in learning a touch-down swap you'll come down to the surface and do a taxi swap. With practice you'll get faster and better at it and end up with a touch down swap. Some people will never get past the taxi stage.

With foiling foot swaps the aim is to start on the foil and stay on the foil. Making that a comfortable and reliable process is the key and that's what practicing moving your feet about does for you. Once you can move your feet about the board you can do pretty much anything you want.

t457118
118 posts
9 Aug 2021 5:58PM
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Loving this thread! Thanks Gorgo et al. Now, any riding toeside for more than 3 seconds without eating it tips!

mcrt
274 posts
9 Aug 2021 7:18PM
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My footswitches got a lot more reliable when i started riding with a more "front on" stance vs a sideways stance.

Hips and shoulders facing forward as much as is comfortable for me.
Switching like this you only pivot the body 90* or less.
Plus it feels closer to walking,which is a movement i have practiced daily for years :)

Sideways to sideways involves almost a 180* pivot movement,takes more time and in chop i found it really hard to stay balanced and not misplace a foot.



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"How to swap your feet" started by Gorgo