Foil pumping and chess - how to stay active on a 'no wind' day

Chaotic mountain weather meant no racing for day one of the KiteFoil World Series Traunsee in Austria. Warm weather and scarcely a breath of wind was suddenly interrupted by sudden gusts and lashings of rain. Kitefoil racing wasn’t an option. Instead the 58 male and female riders had to make their fun in different and creative ways. 

© Robert Hajduk / IKA: the rain starts but the foil pumping continues

In these circles you often hear the phrase, ‘foiling is foiling’. Which means that any time on a board or a foil of any kind is useful feedback and familiarisation for the proper business of foiling kiteboarding. Whether it was to further their foiling education, or for the sheer fun of it, some riders threw themselves into a pump foil competition off the end of the wooden jetty in windless Ebensee.

© Robert Hajduk / IKA: good clean fun on Traunsee

Foil pumping is using leg power to pump a foil board above the water. It's aerobically exhausting, a HIIT workout like no other. Ease up even for a moment and the board sinks beneath your feet and you’re doing the ‘swim of shame’ back to the jetty. For the accomplished foil pumpers, they can launch off the jetty from a standing start and leg-propel their way across the lake for 200 metres or more, returning gracefully to the starting point.

© Robert Hajduk / IKA: sharpening the foiling brain, one move at a time...

Israeli rider Dvir Azulay was in the event tent 30 metres away from the shore, mind deep in a game of chess. When he heard the foil pumping competition was on, Azulay stepped up from the chess game, walked down the jetty, jumped on the board, foiled across the water, back to the jetty. Dry as a bone, Azulay strolled back to the tent to complete his chess game.

© Robert Hajduk / IKA: Dvir Azulay pump foils his way back to shore

It’s not like he was trying foil pumping for the first time though. “I do a lot of it back home with my friends,” Azulay explained. “It’s a lot of fun but super hard on the fitness. I can go for maybe one minute maximum, then all I want to do is sleep and eat!” As to which is harder - chess or foil pumping - he replies: “They’re about the same. Both things are good for the mind, good for these days when you are waiting to go racing and want to keep your mind in the right place.”

© Robert Hajduk / IKA: entertainment upside down

The waiting game is an inevitable part of any wind-powered sport, but if you have to wait anywhere in the world, then Traunsee is not a bad place to do it. The beautiful Austrian lake is a watersports paradise, and pretty good for mountain biking too, which is what a bunch of the fleet went to do when racing was eventually canned for the day. 

© Robert Hajduk / IKA: Unicorn communion

The forecast looks better for Friday, when racing is scheduled to begin at 1100 hours. The live stream of racing goes out on the internet this weekend for the final two days of competition on Saturday and Sunday.