DIY Dock Starting

Beginner pump foil setup
Beginner Pump Foil Setup

What to do when there’s no wind or waves and you have a foiling itch that needs to be scratched? Build a dock start ladder platform! That’s exactly what we did after being inspired by the Dock Start Facebook group. It’s built using a 4 way folding aluminium ladder, 3 decking planks (held together with some cross bracing underneath) and 2 bungee cords (to hold the decking to the ladder to stop it floating away).

Dock Start Ladder Setup

It works well but it’s not the easiest way to learn to dock start that’s for sure. The downsides are that you start in relatively shallow water (so the foil often hits the bottom) and the run-up is short (meaning you don’t have time to think before jumping on the foil)! 

Despite it being difficult to learn, it certainly is entertaining on a wind and waveless day! I have had 3 sessions on it so far and here’s what i’ve learned:

  • Use a large foil with a low foil up speed. For my latter attempts I used the Gravity 2200 foil having tried the Phantom 1780 (which isn’t ideal for learning as it has a higher foil up speed) and the Gravity 1800 (which is too small for my 90kg).
  • Use a short mast to avoid hitting the bottom. I used a 75cm mast but will go for the 65cm next time
  • Learn on a proper dock – having a longer pontoon style dock to launch would make the initial attempts easier as you have more time to think and get the board pitch right before jumping onto the board
  • Land on your board with your back foot first to ensure the foil rises.
  • Practice pumping on your wingfoil setup or behind a boat first to ensure that you are used to the foil and can pump for more than 3 feet once you land on the board! 

What’s the Ideal Pump Foil Setup?

A small board with low swing weight to make pumping easier. The Axis PNG 1150 with short fuselage and 460 rear wing is often the go to foil setup for pump foilers.

First Session on the DIY Dock Start Ladder
Second Session on the DIY Dock Start Ladder
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