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How I Built an Electric Flying Surfboard from the Ground Up.

How I Built an Electric Flying Surfboard from the Ground Up.

I was hooked. Nothing compared to the sensation of flying over water carving smooth, bottomless turns. It’s a feeling so unique; it kept me coming back for more. There was only one problem…I had no one to share it with.

To harness the power of a wave and surf like a bird, although extremely rewarding, is difficult. Not because riding a foil is hard, but controlling the source -flying a kite or surfing a wave- takes skill. To harness that type of power and gain excellent control is something that may take years to master.

So I set out to make it easy.

I started with the simple task of strapping an electric motor to our foils. My team and I took some parts we had in the shop, cut holes in them, bought some parts off the shelf and pretty much duct-taped pieces together. It took some tweaking, but eventually we got our first ride of about 50 feet. 



 
From that moment on, I was possessed. Imagine taking someone that has never dreamt of surfing, deep powder snowboarding or flying. A person that doesn’t live the extreme lifestyle and within minutes they feel it all. They’re soaring like a bird, carving butter smooth turns and experiencing the freedom of flying through the freeways of the ocean, rivers or lakes. That was my goal, but what I thought would take a year to build took a whole lot more.

It’s one thing to build a prototype. It’s quite another to design a consumer-friendly product that’s safe, reliable and completely badass. We couldn’t just buy parts and assemble them. We had to design and build everything from the ground up. The components just didn’t exists. And to top it off, there was no product in the market to reference.  

So how did we build it?

The first few years were a chase. We had to convince the best minds in their field to work with us to build a flying surfboard. And yes... Pitching a flying surfboard is no easy task. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. And after countless conversations, costly contracts and lots of pleading, my father and I were able to convince enough brilliant minds to help us build the components necessary to create the world’s first wireless, electric foil board.

And let me tell you it wasn’t quite as simple as strapping a motor to our foils...

The battery alone was half the battle. It’s the energy source that propels the eFoil over water for many miles in rugged conditions. Batteries can be dangerous when not properly designed and integrated into a system. If you cut corners, you’ll pay the cost! So even though we paid a premium price, our lithium batteries were custom built by the best in the USA to keep cars on the road and airplanes in the sky. Much like commercial aircrafts, our design and construction was based on the principle that it should be overbuilt, reliable and safe.

The next challenge was the hand controller. I was surprised to find out a bluetooth, wireless, waterproof, buoyant hand controller didn't already exist. We had to design, build and test it for the application. Integrating, among others, magnetic actuators, sensors and screens. It was quite the challenge, but well worth it because our hand controller was successfully designed to be an extension of the rider. It works reflexively meaning you have complete control over your ride. By simply pressing the lever on the hand controller the motor responds instantaneously to your command adjusting the speed. It also throttles you back in the event of low battery so you can get back to shore safely.

So what now?

After years and many iterations, we evolved from the “Spruce Goose” prototype with cheap hobby store batteries into a sophisticated craft that has some serious horsepower and aerospace electrical safety standards. The best part is I’ve taken countless friends and peers to our local lake and had them foiling within minutes. Some were athletes, some weren’t, but everyone had fun flying over water.

The journey has been long and arduous. I’ve broken down on many occasions in the face of failure. My shop burned to the ground. Girlfriends have run away and we’ve spent way too much money to get here, but now the fun begins.

12 comments

Jun 17, 2017 • Posted by Stephane

Congratulation!
Price is a bot high for the moment but the invention is great. I will love to try it in mediterranean sea. And if you want someone to advertise around big yatchs near Monaco, I am your man. :-)

Jun 13, 2017 • Posted by Rudy Jongens

I’m hooked just watching this. I loved skate boarding on my long board until my knees stuffed up. I’m due for my second knee replacement and once I’m up and running I’m going to get me one of these.
This has to be the best invention since the wheel.
Thanks so much for working so long and hard and coming up with this amazing result.

Jun 04, 2017 • Posted by Nicknack

I have dreamed of something like this since I was young boy, but could never put my finger on it, you did that and smashed all expectations! We spend a lot of time during the summer at the lake and this by far the most amazing invention I have ever seen, i had to watch the video twice to believe what I was seeing, and it looks incredible! It looks so effortless! And with all the different sport/hobbie devices to come out in the past several years (i.e water jet boots, hoover boards, electric skateboards ect…) nothing even comes close to this. It’s a dream come true! Thank you for your efforts, this is the future!

May 21, 2017 • Posted by Stef Juncker

Hi. Absolutely brilliant I say. I paraglide professionally for 17 years and thought we had easy flying taped, but u guys make us suddenly suck! Wow man! Good on you. Keep it up.

Stef juncker
Owner and founder of Africa’s first tandem paragliding company
Parapax.com tandem paragliding Cape Town

May 21, 2017 • Posted by Stef Juncker

Hi. Absolutely brilliant I say. I paraglide professionally for 17 years and thought we had easy flying taped, but u guys make us suddenly suck! Wow man! Good on you. Keep it up.

Stef juncker
Owner and founder of Africa’s first tandem paragliding company
Parapax.com tandem paragliding Cape Town

May 16, 2017 • Posted by I'm in!!!

Man so excited about this???

May 10, 2017 • Posted by Joe Clark

How do I get one and when. Where can I see one in the flesh.

May 08, 2017 • Posted by Nicolas

Lots of applications to other industries !

May 08, 2017 • Posted by Adrian

SHUTUP-and-take-my-money!!!

(Cool story but ya…)

May 08, 2017 • Posted by Adrian

SHUTUP-and-take-my-money!!!

(Cool story but ya…)

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