Is the “infinite flight achievable”? Jérôme Baudoux, Indiana Paddle & Surf Co. Brand Ambassador, claims that it is, “through some calculus and experience”, not to mention a lot of pumping! And to prove it, this frequent flyer has just pushed the limits of what’s possible in the sport by pumping for longer than an hour and a half on a single masted foil.
TotalSUP caught up with Jérôme to talk about his achievement and get technical about the details.
Hi Jérôme, welcome to TotalSUP! Congrats on your recent world record endeavour, whoa – more than 1.5 hours of pure pumping! But let’s dive first into your background and how did you get into foiling? Are you a stand-up paddler too?
Hi, thank you for reaching out! I got into foiling about three years ago while seeing this new discipline emerging. Flying above water was fascinating and made me want to try it. I don’t have a background that would lead to foiling; I had already done some kitesurfing but was much more into cross-country skiing and winter sports. I started my foiling journey with homemade wooden foils and a homemade winch to have my first flights. I quickly figured out it was the best and only solution to ride in my local gusty lakes with pump foil, wingfoil, or winchfoil.
Could you tell us about your collaboration with Indiana?
At the beginning of Summer, I was at Lac de Monteynard to present a product I developed on my own (WindUP Winch), and as I was foil pumping for a long time with somewhat subpar gear, Raphael from Indiana reached out to me and with Maurus Strobel (Indiana’s CEO), they proposed I tried their new pumping setup for distance runs. It turns out I am also a mechanical engineer, and I have been designing the next gear for the brand since then. I’m really happy to be part of this team now!
Photo by Xavier Rivet
The world record itself – How did you come up with this challenge and what was driving your decision to attempt it?
The pump foil duration record is something I was looking for since the beginning of my foil journey. I really felt like infinite flight was achievable through some calculus and experience. I find the idea of cruising on any body of water at this speed with gear this small attractive. I like sport challenges. I like the gliding feeling. I like technical challenges. So I had to go for this one.
The Record: 1h 37m on the Indiana 1396P Pumpfoil
How do you prepare for a challenge like that?
First, I had to get used to the foil setup. Every foil has its pumping behaviour and spending time on it is the only way to perfectly match the leg pump strokes and the flight behaviour of the foil. And I have a winch that lets me easily spend a lot of time on the water above the foil.
Physically, I do different other sports all year long and I train for the upcoming cross-country ski season. But what helps me the most is that I know very well, through my sport experience, what is the best timing and type of training that leads to good shape for a precise day.
How do you decide on your gear set up?
With Indiana, the choice was simple. Their 1396P front wing is clearly the most efficient one. It’s made for high lift and great glide. All the other foil parts and settings are more about comfort and foil behaviour. But they are still important.
A short, stiff and light mast is ideal for pumping as it gives good feedback of the foil and great power transfer. The carbon mast 72 LW has it. The short Alu 610 gives pitch agility and HP 336 stab has the least drag while stabilizing enough. The Ledoigt 3’7” board is also the best compromise between stiffness and lightness. Then a few hours on the foil allows me to choose the settings and shims that suit me the best.
Photo by Xavier Rivet
What was the toughest part of this challenge?
This very day, the water was really glassy. It meant almost no wind which is good but also means figuring out the height of the foil is quite hard. I then had to ride a bit low to avoid breaching at all costs. And riding low usually requires more power.
The most important thing to make longer runs is consistency. Every mistake, slight acceleration, or mistimed strokes increase fatigue and reduce the time you can expect.
Photo by Xavier Rivet
Have you got any more pump foiling world record attempts on your mind?
Sure! I don’t know how they will be classified but I really want to do more of this. I’m thinking of doing a full marathon, crossing the width of the Geneva lake and the length of Lake Annecy. Crossing the English Channel would also be a great achievement!
What are your thoughts on the growth of pump foiling as a sport discipline?
I love this! I hope we are in the premises of XC foiling along with dock start/pump foiling. The gear is improving really fast and changes the way we see foil. Plus dock start is way easier than it was with dedicated gear. It’s not anymore only a surf and sail feature. I also hope it allows many more people to ride their very local body of water, simplify their gear (one setup is required) and enjoy nature as it will hopefully reduce the environmental impact compared to most foil disciplines.
Congrats once again and thank you for sharing your insights – Keep flying high!
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