Rider Portrait: Bettina Zellweger


Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?
I have been married to Urs since 2010, have been running my own beauty salon for 30 years – always with great passion – and I do a lot of sport in my free time. As a child, I was a top figure skater, but today I enjoy being versatile. Water – whether frozen, as snow or liquid – is definitely my element. Pumpfoiling has become a great passion. Apart from that, I still love my skates, I’m passionate about monoskiing and a few years ago I discovered telemark skiing. I also go to the gym regularly to keep fit. As a quiet balance, I paint porcelain and can really live out my imagination and creativity.

How did you first get introduced to pumpfoiling?
Andy Meyenberg brought it to my attention. I was immediately enthusiastic about 1) learning something new and 2) being able to practise a water sport independently of second or third parties and the wind. After the first trial lesson, which definitely ended without a sense of achievement, I was nevertheless convinced and enthusiastic about this sport and immediately bought my own board, which I now love dearly…

Journey into Pumpfoiling

What attracted you to pumpfoiling in the first place?
I find it fascinating that we can let the board glide over the water without outside help (without wind and boat). The challenge of balance and timing captivated me right from the start.

Can you describe your first experience with pumpfoiling?
oh goooood… I barely saw the lake from above…. Splisch – Spläsch applies best – hahaha

How long did it take you to become proficient?
um… probably longer than most. I had a lot of lows and doubts, because I thought I was in a good position thanks to ballet and figure skating. But I practiced for weeks and months and still knew that I didn’t want to give up. I was on the dock all winter long in the freezing cold and never gave up. Even with a broken nose, I was practising again just two days after the accident. Thanks to the high water level in May, something clicked for me when Andy showed me another start – hooray – and from then on I was off and running!


What was the biggest challenge you faced when learning to pumpfoil?
The start …. and I’m still happy every time I succeed 😉

Have you ever had any accidents or close calls?
A broken nose and a cut very close to my eye. Since then I’ve only pumped with a helmet. I won’t mention the 100,000 bruises individually…

What advice would you give to beginners?
Don’t despair – don’t think too much – stay relaxed and always keep the fun in mind. It’s worth persevering. The sense of achievement when you finally succeed is gigantic and wonderful. This sport really is addictive!!!

Passion and Motivation

What keeps you going in the sport?
There are always new goals – new starts to learn – longer distances to pump. That’s why it never gets boring. What’s more, it’s great fun in a group with like-minded friends – but also on your own from time to time. I can enjoy the beauty of the lake and am amused by the curious swans and ducks, who are hardly intimidated….

Do you have any specific goals or milestones you’re aiming for?
As the board is very uncomplicated to take anywhere, I am happy when I get the safety I need for the start on various terrains, walls, footbridges or stones. My goal is for my board – along with my husband – to become my faithful companion… haha

Cross-Training and Other Interests

Are you involved in any other water sports or activities?
I practice monoskiing very intensively and also trick skiing in the beginning. I also recently discovered wakesurfing and wave surfing with Oana. In my “old age” I will become a surf girl – haha

How do other sports or activities complement your pumpfoiling?
A certain level of fitness and strength in the legs definitely helps. In general, every sport is a school of life and at least reflects my attitude to life – don’t give up straight away and have a goal in mind, that’s what you learn best in sport and we definitely need that in pumpfoiling!

Gear and Equipment

Can you talk about your gear? What do you recommend for beginners?
Oh – I’m not good at that and I like to get advice from the experts. My tip: don’t order online yourself, but get real advice – it’s worth it. And I don’t think you should skimp on materials either. With a good quality foil board, success is sure to come faster.

How important is the role of technology in pumpfoiling?
Here, too, I take advice from the experts…

Community and Lifestyle

How has pumpfoiling impacted your lifestyle?
It expanded my range of hobbies – the independence and fun brings a smile to my face with every session. Whether as a start to the day or as a break between my clients. Pumpfoiling is a challenge that can be mastered playfully and is incredibly fun.

Are you part of a community or group that shares your passion?
I love the pumpfoiling community and the Flatwatersquad riders – it almost feels like a “family”. You also get lots of tips on equipment, places and events. It’s great fun to be part of it!


What’s next for you in the world of pumpfoiling?
To get through the winter 😉 and hopefully inspire more and more people with it! The curiosity of the spectators is always great and I can only recommend giving this sport a try yourself!

Any shoutouts or people you’d like to thank?
oh yes… thanks to so many pumping friends who gave me tips and cheered me up… that clearly includes Andy, Sorin, Mitsch, Tom, Robin, my husband and please to everyone else I forgot to mention: DON’T BE MAD AT ME!!!



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