Revolutionizing Pumpfoiling?

Unwinding the Story Behind Jérôme Baudoux’s WindUP Winch

Today, we welcome Jérôme, an innovative mind in the world of pumpfoiling. Known for his impressive achievements in winter sports, Jérôme has made a name for himself in the world of gliding sports. As a mechanical engineer with a passion for design and development, he has led numerous innovation projects, primarily in the sports domain. His latest invention, the WindUP Winch, is a testament to his dedication and ingenuity. Jérôme is not only an inventor but also a record-setting pumpfoiler, bringing a unique perspective to the sport. Let’s dive into his journey, the challenges he faced, and his insights into the future of pumpfoiling.

Hello Jérôme. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background before inventing the WindUP Winch?

Hello Patrick, thank you for getting in touch.

My background is mainly in winter sports, specifically XC skiing and biathlon competitions. However, I have always enjoyed gliding sports regardless of the equipment used. The recent rise in popularity of foiling has particularly caught my attention as it allows for versatile riding locations.

As a mechanical engineer, I have completed numerous personal and professional innovation projects, many of which have been related to sports. Designing and developing are my passions.
The winch was born from one of my personal projects.

Congratulations on setting a world record in pumpfoiling! Can you share your experience and about what helped you set the record?

Thank you so much! The training for this record was really important. I barely knew how to foil a year before the record. The winch project played a big part as it is a great tool to learn pumping technique and also required a lot of testing to develop. It made me spend a lot of time on the water.

Secondly, I have been doing biathlon quite seriously for a number of years. I am now benefiting from the remnants of the intense training I used to do for it.

And last but not least, the equipment! Indiana (through Raph and Maurus) had a great foil (1396P) that made all this possible. The gear plays a big part in this. Without a great gliding wing it wouldn’t be possible at all.

Can you explain in detail what the WindUP Winch is and its intended purpose for the pumpfoiling community?

It’s a personal winch that anyone can anchor next to any body of water, even in remote places. It can either be a way to discover foil for beginners. Many schools already use it as a teaching tool.

For intermediate and advanced riders, it’s a new way to have fun and train with friends or alone.

And finally, it’s a new way of riding, as most foilers can use it continuously, just like a surf foiler would endlessly reconnect waves, except it’s a lot easier. It then became a new way of riding as you can jump, carve, take speed and enjoy ultra smooth rides on flat water.

What inspired you to create the WindUP Winch? Was there a particular moment or experience that sparked the idea?

The idea is quite old as I’ve built many concepts of winches over the years. It was at first for wakeboarding and everything was ultra heavy and impractical. But still they allowed me to ride my local lake! 

The very event that launched the project was when I brought a prototype made of recycled parts in Brittany and a video of it caught an unexpected amount of attention and requests. It was a quick personnel project but people already asked me when it would be released !

How does the WindUP Winch differentiate itself from other products available in the market?

It’s well known that winches already exist, but they are all dedicated to wakeboarding. And they are quite heavy and not very portable.

The winch I have designed has many unique features that make it the best for foil use:

  • It is light (at least 2x lighter than any other winch) and portable. It is electric and mostly silent (it respects the shore environment). It is remote controlled (allowing solo rides and great control of pulling force and speed on the go).
  • It unwinds freely without resistance (necessary for continuous driving and unwinding while flying on the foil).
  • Finally, it doesn’t get tangled up (also necessary for continuous riding).
  • And in normal use it requires no maintenance.

What were the main challenges you faced during the development of the WindUP Winch?

The main challenges lay in the characteristics that make continuous operation possible:

  • Resistance-free unwinding
  • Tangle-free system
  • An intuitive and robust remote control.

These three characteristics required countless hours of head scratching, design, programming, prototyping and testing. The solutions had to be robust, powerful and efficient.

It is now dialled in and I have even patented the system.

What are the key features of the WindUP Winch that you believe are most beneficial for pumpfoiling enthusiasts?

Certainly it’s the fact that you can start pumping without dockstarting (sometimes too difficult and scary for beginners). But even once you know how to pump, the continuous ride is the fastest way to learn efficient pumping (I learned with it). It allows you to repeat pumping runs at the exact speed you want.

Can you describe the process of designing and testing the WindUP Winch? How did you ensure it met the needs of riders?

At first, I was the very first and only user of a winch, so I designed it to meet my own needs. But I quickly linked with people that would use it as testers. I would first cite Yves Baudoux, he’s my uncle, water lover and first approver of the winch. I also worked a lot with Philippe Echaroux

I also collected feedback on events I took part. 

The iterative process all along was to find the most interesting improvement to do from chatting with users and testers and my personnel use case. Trying to implement it and test it by myself until it’s usable. Then let testers use it and interact with them to improve it until it’s fully functional, robust and intuitive. And repeat for each feature. 

Having the feedback of testers proved to be ultra useful as the first winches prototypes were only  usable by myself as I knew it very well. It then forced me to make it absolutely foolproof, robust and intuitive.

What feedback have you received from users of the WindUP Winch, and how has it influenced any improvements or updates?

I have received a lot of feedback throughout the development process, but by far the biggest feedback I received from users or potential users was that the remote control would completely change the way the winch could be used. That motivated me to develop one. It took a lot of trial and error, but now it’s here. And they were right! It maximises the potential of the winch.

Are there any future developments or enhancements planned for the WindUP Winch?

Yes, there are! I’m always evolving. I don’t think I’m capable of not developing. I have prototypes of higher speed and torque versions. I am also starting to implement a synchronisation system to connect two opposite winches to make an ultra-portable foilpark, or to connect them side by side to make a wakeboard/ski lift/paraglider winch. I am also working on various foiling related products.

Where can enthusiasts try out the WindUP Winch? Are there specific locations or events where it’s available?

I will be present at foil events this summer with winches to test. The planning is not finished yet, except for the “Foil’ie au Lac”. I’ll let you know the events I’ll be attending on Instagram and Facebook as soon as they’re booked.

For those who can’t wait, contact me and I’ll be happy to let everyone test at the WindUP Winch HQ 😄 😄 in the Jura mountains in France.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in pumpfoiling or considering using the WindUP Winch?

I would suggest finding a way to learn foil first, rather than going straight to pump foil. This will make the learning curve smoother. You can have a boat tow you or use a winch.

If you are coming from wingfoil, your gear will be perfect for the first few pump strokes and you will get the first feeling of powering your own flight. Dedicated gear will then allow you to pump much more efficiently, fly longer flights and will be required for docking.

Finally, connect with people around you who are already pumping. They are passionate, welcoming and willing to give specific and helpful advice.


Thank you, Jérôme, for sharing your insightful and inspiring journey with us. Your dedication to innovation in pumpfoiling is truly remarkable. To our readers, we hope this interview has given you a deeper understanding of the WindUP Winch and the passion behind its creation. Stay tuned to our blog for more stories and updates from the world of pumpfoiling.

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