The key steps to getting started with dockstart
Dock start” or “pumping” involves launching a foil, not with the help of a wave or the wind, but from a platform (rock, pontoon, etc.). You don’t need the wind, just a pontoon or rock! For the more experienced, you can even start from the beach!
At first glance, it seems simple. You pick up speed, jump on the board and off you go. Unfortunately, it requires a bit more practice? But nothing complicated!
In this guide, we’d like to help you choose your dock start equipment. We’ll also give you a few tips on how to get started and have fun quickly.
Which board for dock start?
There are two possibilities. You can either make it yourself. There are several DIY tutorials on YouTube. Various brands also offer specific dockstart boards which are also often used in kite foiling.
Avoid a construction that’s too fragile, as it’s likely to have a few knocks at first… Go for solid sandwich-type construction.
You can reuse your wing foil or surf foil board, but they are often bigger and therefore rather bulky.
In dockstart, you don’t need to float on your board like you do in sup or wing (when you’re a beginner). We therefore advise you to ride boards with as little volume as possible.
In the same way as for volume, length gives you glide when you’re floating. In dock start, you don’t need it! So you need the smallest, lightest board possible. You just need to be able to put your feet on it.
Which foil for dockstart?
Quel surface d'aile avant ?
The larger the surface area of a wing, the more lift you’ll get. To start with a dockstart, we’ll be looking at a minimum surface area of 1500 cm2. The higher your surface area, the less pumping power you’ll need to maintain your flight. Conversely, the larger your surface, the slower you’ll go. Another parameter to take into account is the chord of your front wing. A large chord will also add lift and stability. It’s ideal for a good start. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can switch to High Aspect wings, which will give you more glide.
Our Performer range above sizes 1450 cm2 is ideal for dockstarter.
What length of mast?
A mast size of around 80/85 cm will give you a good performance/accessibility ratio. The longer your mast, the more range you’ll have in your pumping motion. A short mast will give you a faster cadence.
Given the need for pumping performance, we recommend that you start with a carbon construction mast, which will give you the necessary rigidity.
Where best to start foil pumping?
A dock for safe departure
One of the advantages of dockstarting is that you can do it almost anywhere! Directly from the beach (requires a bit of practice though ;)), but ideally you need to find the perfect dock!
All you need is a dock long enough to be able to run and get a bit of speed. Just be careful before you set off to make sure there’s no object in the water that would make a nice catapult. To find the perfect dock, Google Maps in satellite view is your friend.
Ladder or beach start for the most advanced
You may have seen it on some YouTube videos, but you can also use ‘folding’ ladders that you can put directly into the water. It’s great when you don’t have a pontoon. The disadvantage is that it’s a bit harder to get going at speed. So we often recommend the ladder once you’ve mastered pumping.
It’s also possible to start directly from the beach… That’s another step up in level though.
Ready to get started? Take the time during your first 2 or 3 sessions to really understand the pumping movement. The only thing that can stop you afterwards is your cardio. Don’t hesitate to share your pumping time records with us!
Dockstarting is one of the pumping disciplines. To find out more about pumping foils, we’ve prepared a full article.