Rider Portrait: Jérôme

Introduction

Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?
Hi! I’m Jérôme and I come from Jura mountains in France. My background is more wintersports than watersports. I did a lot of biathlon competition and still do XC ski regularly.

How did you first get introduced to pumpfoiling?
I’d say my first introduction to pumpfoiling was seeing Balz Müller doing magic tricks above water. I was impressed it was only powered by its own energy!


Journey into Pumpfoiling

What attracted you to pumpfoiling in the first place?
At first it was the idea of being able to move fast and efficiently across any body of water. At first I compared it to kayak or rowing and pumpfoiling allowed anyone to go faster with way more agility and with really simpler tool.

Can you describe your first experience with pumpfoiling?
My first experience with pumpfoil was also my first experience with foil. I started my first flight towed by a winch in the goal to try to pump. So the first flight were so exciting in quick progression made me hooked directly.

How long did it take you to become proficient?
It probably took me around two sessions. But towed by a winch is quite easier than dock start. It would have taken me way longer jumping from a dock with no experience 😅


Challenges

What was the biggest challenge you faced when learning to pumpfoil?
I think my biggest challenge was to find a way and the gear to practice this sport. I like to build my gear my self with harvested material. And no dock where I live. So I had to build my very first foil out of wood and also a winch with a starter motor first to then try foiling.

Have you ever had any accidents or close calls?
No accident. A few scratches an bruises but nothing uncommon.

What advice would you give to beginners?
I think trying pumpfoil/dockstart directly without background is quite hard. I’d suggest to find help like a boat to first understand foil flight.


Passion and Motivation

What keeps you going in the sport?
I feel like long distance an long time pumping runs are more and more accessible. I love to push this aspect of the sport.

It also is now quite like a drug 😅

Do you have any specific goals or milestones you’re aiming for?
Pumpfoiling marathon 😉

Cross-Training and Other Interests

Are you involved in any other water sports or activities?
I did some kitesurf. Already tried surfing. But mainly did winter activities (XC skiing, biathlon, skimo, mountaineering) and paragliding.

How do other sports or activities complement your pumpfoiling?
I think my background in XC ski helped me a lot physically to pump. The movements timing and muscle involved are similar.


Gear and Equipment

Can you talk about your gear? What do you recommend for beginners?
My gear for pumpfoiling is the Indiana 1396P front wing. I think it’s the best wing to begin as it lifts a lot and is easily controllable. For advanced riders that wants long flight it also is the best choice.

How important is the role of technology in pumpfoiling?
Even if we won’t reinvent anything about hydrodynamics; tests, well thought designs, well used and placed different high performing materials make a huge difference in the characteristics of the foils.
We saw a lot of changes and great improvements in the recent years and the overall foiling level has increased. We end up having foils performing much much better than a few years ago.


Community and Lifestyle

How has pumpfoiling impacted your lifestyle?
I used to do many different endurance sports in summer. I now almost exclusively stick to pumpfoil.
It also changed a lot as I also design a winch to allow easy practice of foiling anywhere anytime. And it takes a lot of my free time.

Are you part of a community or group that shares your passion?
Where I live, I am mainly on my own. Pumpfoil is not well known. But I regularly travel to Geneva lake and other place where I meet many enthusiasts people! And it feels great!


Closing

What’s next for you in the world of pumpfoiling?
We are, I think in the premises of XC foiling. More and more people see it as a cardio sport as much as a riding one.

Any shoutouts or people you’d like to thank?
Shoutout to all the inspiring people that made me come to foiling. Balz Müller for the inspiration. Yves Baudoux for the support. Indiana for the community and gear!


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