“H2O has always been a molecule I’ve been feeling good with”says Indiana Paddle & SurfTeam Rider, Léonard Berner, and when he’s not travelling the world in search of the next best spot for surfing, kitesurfing and snowboarding, he’s pump foiling his local lakes in Switzerland. TotalSUP caught up with this frequent flyer to chat about the foil craze and the #stablesschallenge launched through his Instagram page – Pump Challenge.
Hi Léonard, welcome to TotalSUP! How did you get into foiling?
About three, four years ago, we saw with a friend a video of people who were surf foiling really small waves in the ocean. Immediately, we asked ourselves if it was not the key to be able to surf storm waves on our Switzerland lakes.
So we learned to pump foil and discovered that you can have similar feeling of surfing in the ocean but with a foil on the lake. Since that moment I’ve been totally addicted to this idea that you can surf the lake with a foil in three different ways: by pump surf foiling in downwind conditions, prone surf foiling and wing foiling.
The wing is like a chair lift in the mountain. You’re able to go upwind and then do a downwind by surfing the wind swell. The fall is not a big issue because you just go back on your board and start again.
It’s totally different with pump downwind, you have this adrenaline of knowing that if you fall, you’re screwed. The fall doesn’t have the same consequences, with downwind pump foiling: “You fall, you swim”. It’s more intense.
I pumped most of the times with friends, and we always try new things. Once I challenged one of them of pumping without the stab. From this, I had the idea to create a place where people could share their tricks or skills, that’s why I created the Pump Challenge.
It’s a little bit like a dictionary of all the possibilities that you can have with pump foiling. Everybody can participate and the goal is not to have only really hard tricks but also to suggest tricks that can improve your skills even for a beginner. If you have any suggestion, just get in touch with me.
Could you tell us more about your collaboration with Indiana Paddle & Surf?
Indiana Team has been supporting me for three years now and give me the possibilities of pushing my limits with quality materials.
I’m also invested in the development process by sharing feedback about the products and the prototypes I ride.
What’s your Indiana Paddle & Surf set up?
For pumping, I’m using the 3’7 or 4’0 shaped by Steve LeDoigt and for foiling I’m using the new 1200H-AR. For surfing and winging, I’m using the 1200 or the 1050X-AR with the small stab 336 XAR. For the wing boarding, I have the 55 litre carbon board.
What in your opinion is the reason foiling is exploding worldwide?
I think, first of all it’s because it’s magical. Anybody that has seen this for the first time is totally captivated and ask themselves how is it possible? It’s also something that you can do everywhere in any conditions if you have water.
No winds or no waves – Not a problem, you go for a pump session and practice your skills. Wind or swell – You can enjoy a surf foil session or a wing foil session.
There’s nothing more compelling than to see our sport evolving with fresh riders coming to the scene, totally killing it, sparking true excitement and bringing ‘that cool’ back to SUP. It’s even better when the stoke of “pushing the sport while it’s still in its infancy” comes from a rider with this level of skills […]
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