Forget the stand-up paddleboard, the jetski and the kayak.
This new motorised surfboard could be the future of water sports and travel.
It’s called a Fliteboard, and is a half-size surfboard sitting atop a mini hydrofoil.
The rider actually flies over the water and the waves, sitting about half a metre above the water line.
Check it out:
David Trewern is the Australian founder and CEO of Fliteboard. We recently spoke to him about his revolutionary new hydrofoil design. Here’s what he had to say.
The inspiration for the design came from Trewen’s childhood love of the water.
“I’ve been a watersports lover since since I was about 10. I’d go kitesurfing, kitesurfing with a hydrofoil, then got into racing hydrofoils with a kite.
“It got me thinking, knowing how efficient a hydrofoil is, and by creating lift to make you lighter, that I could combine the two into a new design.”
The Fliteboard is made of carbon fibre, stainless steel, and aircraft grade aluminium. A hand-held bluetooth remote controls the speed of the board.
It runs on a compact but powerful electric motor with a precision German engineered gearbox. It’s virtually silent, and emission- and wake-free.
The battery has a handle which you use to pull it out of the board and plug it into a wall charger, which can charge to 100% in 2.5 hours.
Trewern has a background in design — in fact, his first real job was in a digital agency looking after graphic design for several clients.
“Initially I designed and developed the Fliteboard myself. I did a lot of research and trial and error.
“I taught myself CAD (a 3D design program) and electronics and a whole lot of other things.
“To go further I needed more help, so I found a great local industrial design company based in Byron Bay called Katapult and they helped refine the design.
“It has some pretty sophisticated batteries and engineering that I wasn’t able to design myself.
“We’re an internal team of 5 working with broader external experts getting close to 25 now.
“There are two full time retainers at Katapult designs, the battery expert in Sydney, three people in Melbourne working on the technology including the wings and propeller, a marketing designer working on the website, a finance person, a marketing and website design person and others.”
Who can use one?
Despite how difficult it may look to master, Trewern says the Fliteboard is perfect for everyone.
The beginner surfer can hop on for a try and find their feet with a few goes, but the seasoned surfer will enjoy it too.
“It’s easier than learning how to snow-ski or windsurf, but still challenging to learn to balance on the foil.”
There’s been a lot of interest already.
“We’ve had over 6,500 registered inquiries for the Fliteboard from Australia and overseas,” Trewern says.
“There’s huge interest from the luxury yachting set which see this as a great toy to put in a superyacht, and take out during a day trip,” he says.
How far can it go?
The range of the Fliteboard really depends on the weight of the rider. The heavier the rider, the harder the battery has to work to propel them.
On average, an 85kg person can go about 25km on one battery charge, which would be about an hour of riding.
Its top speed is 36km/h.
When will it be available?
The Fliteboard is officially launching on Tuesday, March 27 and will be available in Australia around September to November this year.
After the launch, Trewern will set his sights on bigger targets.
“We have a part of the business called Flite School, where we are patterning with existing windsurf, stand up paddle and kitesurf schools to offer Fliteboard lessons and experiences.
“We’ll also be looking for agents and affiliate networks to expand our reach,” he says.
At the moment, Fliteboard is largely self-funded by Trewern, with a few partners.
“I have a few minority investors, mainly colleagues and friends of mine,” he says.
One of the investers is Trewern’s long-time mentor and one of his first clients from 20 years ago. Another partner has a big background in watersports and owns watersports shops in Melbourne and Queensland. Trewern is working with them on global distribution.
Pricing for the Fliteboard will be released on March 27.
You can configure the board according to a few different customisation options which will affect the price.
There’s a smaller, more easy to transport portable option that’s perfect for travel, and an inflatable board designed for beginner lessons, resorts, and tour operators where the board will be used a lot.
The board, colour, wings and batteries are all customisable.