Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast
Results 1 to 7 of 32
  1. #1
    Senior Member Graemef's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Seabrook Kent

    Is it necessary to learn to Pump?

    So I'll start with my tale which was long ago, 1st season I ever raced a windsurfer and in those days we raced to sailing rules and here in the UK, it was illegal to 'Pump, rock, ooch or otherwise promote forward movement by kinetic force) or some similar wording, it still is the case in lots of sailing classes, but then they didn't have to hold the rig in their bare hands and resist the instinctive urge to pull on the sail to get yourself going that bit sooner.

    In the Summer of 1978, we went to the European championships, and basically got totally slaughtered by the French and just about everyone else and as a team, we resolved to stop the petty protests we'd been using against each other for any kind of rig movement and to learn how to do it properly and on all points of sailing, up wind, cross wind, deep and dead downwind and there is an entirely different method for each, plus some others that came along once higher speed planing devices came along.

    It took us almost the entire winter of 78 into 79, but by the Europeans of 79 we did at least manage to battle it out at the front of the fleet rather than the back given we're all sailing exactly the same size of 23kilo polyethylene board with a wooden boom flexy mast and baggy as hell none battened sail.

    So fast forward to today and the generation of predominantly planing only board riders that don't necessarily have either the desire or the time to compete, is it necessary that they even bother to learn the art? It is an art and even some really good sailors some household names, can't do it properly on every point of sailing such are the various nuances to the fill then stroke that can if neccessary promote forward motion in entirely no wind at all.

    For would be big wave reef riders it's necessary, if you can pump your way onto some of the big fast pacific waves the like you see in Hawaii, then once on the wave it's own fast forward motion generates enough wind to promote enough apparent wind to really rip.

    So I'd argue yes you do, and you need to at least be able to pump cross and down wind, sometimes the best waves are in offshore conditions so pumping deep downwind is a bonus.

    We just had a thread about downwind sailing where we did eventually manage to point out the assistance that a well timed pump of the sail can have in altering the attitude of the board, or to assist it over the back of a wave even if it's already on the plane.

    Some sails and rigs also react better than others to being pumped, we spent many a year in the early development of the sport in designing sail twist to recover quickly precisely so the next pump stroke would deliver as much energy as the last and carbon masts came along to perfect that.

    So if desired we could have an entire thread here dedicated to a lost skill, or is it a lost skill, I've no idea, how many of y'all can pump and I mean really pump, not just shake the rig while imitating sex?
    Last edited by Graemef; 23rd June 2017 at 02:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Billyboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    For wavesailing I'd say it's not necessary, but it is useful. Its also a dynamic, technical and physically demanding skill so I suspect very few are actually any good at it. I'll do my pathetic version occasionally to try and get planing in marginal conditions or catch a wave if I'm not planing, but it probably isn't always a net gain!! It's something I'd like to get better at in the fantasy world where I have lots of free time to go windsurfing - in that regard it has to join a long queue!

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Bring it on. I'm clueless on this.

  4. #4
    Senior Member max111's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Graeme do you have any videos to illustrate these differences as im a bit more visual in the learning dept

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    nice idea for a thread - Its surprisingly satisfying when you get it right. I spent a few years with a technique that looked like I was trying to hump the sail. The volumus tails of freestyle boards/stubbies and the softer 3 and four batten sails make it way easier to bounce the board coordinated with a well timed pump to get the board moving in minimal wind. This didn't work with the older thin tailed waveboards

    Good example of pumping and bouncing the board, give it 20s
    Last edited by southsea; 23rd June 2017 at 03:24 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    I mostly just pump to get planing slightly down wind. I think of it as a circular motion where the rig moves as much forwards and back as in and out. It's hard to explain what's really going on but shoving the rig forwards on long arms to "catch the wind" before every pump is important. I think. In a place like Pozo where you often have no more than a few seconds to get planing before the first ramp this skill is essential. Much of the time I will however be so well powered that I'm half planing as soon as I get both feet on board. It's a kind (f)lying beach start.
    Last edited by boards_Tomas; 23rd June 2017 at 05:23 PM.
    The infamous wavewriter

  7. #7
    Interesting historical read but to my mind there are different forms of pumping.

    I pump all the time but it's part of proactive driving on relatively small and lighter weight boards that accelerate well if helped.

    For example to get planing I use a single pump of the rig to get air flow over the sail and that is done in conjunction with my pumping the fin with my back foot or a downwards pressure to release the board.

    I might pump a few times if I'm trying to get planing and someone is upwind of me, giving me dirty wind.

    Slalom sailors pump when coming out of marks, especially where they have fallen into a wind hole or are stuck in the dirty wind from other sails. However, once planing they generally don't pump.

    Once planing I don't like to unsettle the board but will add a quick pump or two to help increase speed going into a gybe or when coming out of one.
    A similar idea can work when you're cranking a turn on the wave face, or perhaps wanting to accelerate down the face. Any sail pump has an associated affect on the board through one foot or the other, so the way you pump the sail matters.

    In Cape Town we do pump onto a wave in float and ride conditions, but that's not the norm on my beach at home.

    The other form of pumping is more of a continual thing for dinghies and for heavier or bigger windsurf kit like longboards , where you may be continually fanning the sail as part of working the board upwind or down – if your class rules allow this tactic. The idea is to make some forward movement out of nothing, in the same way you can make a skateboard move forwards by sort of jumping up and down on it.
    The most pumping you see outside a longboard event is in the RS:X class and the Finn dinghy at the Olympics. It's used in non-planing conditions or when the wind is still marginal.

    Most people understand how to get more power from their sails to help them get planing – such as easing the downhaul a touch to tighten the leech – but to pump a sail effectively, you do need some positive outhaul.

    I spent a lot of my younger days fanning my way around a lake on a longboard, and before that in a dinghy where roll-tacking was the norm.
    When I'm in Cape Town each year I often sail my freestyle board around the lake in non-planing conditions but you don't really pump the sail on that sort of kit if you can't plane.
    Last edited by basher; 23rd June 2017 at 06:20 PM.
    Now back in the UK.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts