Rider Portrait: Anja


Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?
I’m Anja and I’ve always been a water rat. I’ve been SUPping for almost 10 years. I took part in races for years. Since 2019, I’ve been bitten by the foil virus. I love all kinds of foiling.
But my favourite is surfing the wave of the ferry here on lake zürich. I’m lucky that I share my hobby with my family. So, we spend countless hours together in Thalwil at the lake.

How did you first get introduced to pumpfoiling?
My first first foil experience was in 2017. I was spontaneously asked if I would like to try foiling behind a boat after a SUP event. Of course I wanted to give it a try. The run was only some minutes short, but the feeling kept…

Journey into Pumpfoiling

What attracted you to pumpfoiling in the first place?
After the first try in 2017 I never forgot the feeling. As me and my family are in the Swiss Naish team we had the possibility to do some preorders for all kind of gear. So we ordered foils as soon as they were in the catalogue.

Can you describe your first experience with pumpfoiling?
Being on the foil the first time felt like flying 3 meter over the water level. We were among the first ones at lake zürich, trying to pumpfoil. So we just gave it a try, without knowing details. It was in the middle of winter. Water temperate was at 4 degrees. We were wearing our drysuits from paddling. People who passed by during a walk along the lake, couldn’t believe that it will ever be possible what we just started to try. To be honest, I don’t remember how I could keep going in the middle of winter. Because as a beginner you definitely spend more time in the water than on the board. The great company for sure helped. Additionally it was the first “Corona Winter” where activities were limited. So after the first times it got an addiction.

How long did it take you to become proficient?
The first pumps I did after some training units. The first complete round back to the dock I did after approximately 400 jumps on the board.


What was the biggest challenge you faced when learning to pumpfoil?
The cold temperatures of the air and the lake. It was in January. We brought hot water to the lake, which we poured into our gloves and shoes to extend the sessions for some minutes.
Being among the first ones made it difficult to ask advice to others.

Have you ever had any accidents or close calls?
Luckily I only had some minor accidents like blue spots, nothing severe.

What advice would you give to beginners?
You will achieve your goals if you keep on going. If you have the chance, join a course or an experienced pumpfoiler who can give you inputs in the beginning you will learn it much faster. Afterward do your homework and don’t give up. Don’t be surprised if it gets an addiction.

Passion and Motivation

What keeps you going in the sport?
I just love to move and I love to be on the water. I had phases where I stopped pump foiling for some weeks but I got back into it. For me it’s important to have a balance between challenges. Doing only one thing would be too boring for me. On the other hand pump foiling really helped me to overcome the corona depression. Learning to pump foil needed my complete focus while the sessions. So during the almost daily sessions my mind had a break from the situation going on worldwide.

Do you have any specific goals or milestones you’re aiming for?
Yes 🙂 I aimed to be the first Swiss woman who paddles a SUP Foil Board out in the flat water. This I just managed some weeks ago. Now, my next Goal is to go for a longer SUP Foil Downwind in the ocean (more details I will share, maybe already soon). Another aim is to follow the ferry on lake Zürich for a complete “Kleine Runde” on the foil.

Cross-Training and Other Interests

Are you involved in any other water sports or activities?
I used to participate in SUP races. In the Ocean I’m a passionate SUP surfer. I also love to do downwinders.

Gear and Equipment

Can you talk about your gear? What do you recommend for beginners?
I use Naish foils. Since shortly I have the 2024 Model: Frontwing HA 1440, Stab 280, short fuselage (55cm) and 75cm Mast. I learned with the HA 1800. The number indicates the area.
I’m not a fan of big foils. It is true, that I might be a bit easier in the beginning to have first seconds of glides. But on the other hand you need also more force to push big foils down. In my case the big (or too big) front wing let to problems with my hip. So changing from the 1800 to the 1400 was a relief in my case.

During winging I only change to the standard fuselage (64 cm) and use the same foil as while Pumpfoiling. My favorite Wing is the Naish “Matador” 4m2. Waiting to get the ADX wings. My newest and now also favorite board is the Rocket MIB by Vampire Boards. It’s a 6.6” by 17.5”, 80L. I use it for SUP foiling and also winging, now.

How important is the role of technology in pumpfoiling?
The development is amazing. Foils get better and better. I’m already looking forward to the newest family member which should arrive in jan 24.

Community and Lifestyle

How has pumpfoiling impacted your lifestyle?
I got lazy to carry my SUP to the lake 🙂
But it did not change my lifestyle. I just changed the gear that I take to the lake.

Are you part of a community or group that shares your passion?
I share the passion with my family. It’s an honor to share the passion with my love and my son. It’s also nice to see, that the community overall, and especially in Thalwil is growing.


What’s next for you in the world of pumpfoiling?
For me personally I want to enjoy the time on the water. I’m no more into racing or competition. The aim is to catch as many waves as possible here at home and if I have the chance to be in the ocean to practice foil surfing.

Any shoutouts or people you’d like to thank?

I want to thank all people who support me since years:
Raphael and James who always stay at my side
Naish, O’Neill, Vampireboards, Waterman-sports



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