Surfing without the waves? It’s possible with electric surfboards
Electric surfboards for waveless surfing? Now that’s real! With technology, everything is possible. Two European firms bring an exciting new advancement to the field of electric mobility: Electric surfboards. What makes these boards special? How do they differ from standard surfboards? And should surfing enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies buy such a tech?
As their name suggest, electric surfboards have powerful motor engine which is the primary component in the art of waveless surfing. The motor allows surfers to effectively glide over flat water at sea and even on rivers, lakes and canals. Moreover, the electric surfboard is also designed for use in protected areas, since its motor is silent, electric and emission-free. By using such a device, the surfer is now a waveless rider, not just a wave rider. As long as there is enough room to glide over smooth water, the surfer is able to operate such a device in most bodies of water.
From Onean, different boards for different surfers
The Spanish firm responsible for this advancement in electric mobility, Onean has designed two electric surfboard models so far: The Carver and the Manta. The Carver is designed for speed and adventure, while the Manta is designed for relaxation. A third model, Blade, is currently in the works. Onean started working on the surfboards since 2013 and has launched them with the help of Bizintek Innova, an engineering and design firm in Biscay Province, Spain.
The Carver electric surfboard is similar to the shape of a standard surfboard, which is why the model is designed for serious surfers and adrenaline junkies alike. It has an elongated oval body shape and a tapered nose, and measuring at 245 x 68 cm (98 x 27 in), it is the longest of the two boards.
The Carver electric surfboard has a built-in 440w engine and an axial water pump, allowing the surfer to slalom or “carve” over the water at a maximum speed of 71km/h (44mph). It also has two foot straps to keep you safe on board, so if you are looking to perform tricks and stunts and make sharp turns, then this is the board for you. You can control the direction of the Carver as the same way as you would with a traditional surfboard. It also comes with a hand-held remote control, which buttons you press to control power and speed. The battery, when used at full throttle, can last about 20 minutes on a single charge. Retailed at $4485, the Carver is the ideal electric surfboard for the sporty and the adventurous.
If you are into relaxed trips, then the Manta electric surfboard should suit you. Rectangular in shape and heavier than the Carver, the stable and buoyant Manta measures 230 x 98 cm (91 x 39 in), reaches a speed of 8 km/h (5mph), and boasts a longer battery charge life (more than two hours) at a single charge. Retailing for $3800, the electric surfboard also sports a 440w motor, and the pack also includes a hand-held remote control, battery, charger, foot straps, leash, fin set, and paddle. The entry-level Manta is indeed perfect for peaceful long excursions at a slower pace. This also makes as an ideal practice surfboard for beginners.
The third model, Blade, is yet to be unveiled. Designed to provide optimal maneuverability for freestyle surfers and adrenaline junkies, the Blade electric surfboard is said to be the smallest and lightest, measuring 185 x 60 cm (73 x 24 in) and weighing 18kg. It runs at a speed of 53 km/h (33mph). When launched, it will have a retail price of $3942.
German firm not to be outdone
Another European firm also joined the crowd with their own contribution to electric mobility on water: the Lampuga electric surfboards. The firm Sashay GmbH, based in Hamburg, Germany, envisioned itself to be the creator of the fastest electric surfboards. (However, the honor belongs to Onean, creator of the Carver.) If the Onean boards emphasize multi-personality, the Lampuga emphasizes speed.
The Lampuga electric surfboards are made out of lightweight carbon fiber material, which makes it very easy to transport. Its electric engine produces 15hp of power, and its 52v lithium-ion battery provides up to 40 minutes of run-time in a single charge, enough to cover up to 20 km (12 miles) of range with a speed of 54 km/h (34mph).
The surfer controls the Lampuga electric surfboard with a combination of thrust control and steering belt. Thrust control is incorporated into the steering belt that is attached to the bow. The leash around the legs serves as an emergency stop mechanism that automatically shuts off the device should the surfer fall off or lose control of the surfboard. The grab handles on the surfboard’s deck provide steering and grip for electric kneeboarding.
Two Lampuga electric surfboard models have been released so far: the Lampuga Boost and the Lampuga Air. Both models boast of similar engine power (15hp), distance range (up to 20 km), battery charge life (up to 40 minutes) and charging time (two hours). The Boost model measures 249 x 82 cm (98 x 32 in), while the Air measures 210 x 70 cm (83 x 28 in). The electric surfboards are priced at $17,600 and $11,000 respectively.
Electric surfboards: Advancement on electric mobility
Through their electric surfboards, the developers and the engineers have successfully developed electric propulsion systems that can be used in water sports, especially surfing. Developers are even able to customize their systems to build different surfboards for different surfers. The incorporation of microprocessors and other electronics to control the engines and ensure the safe operation of the device on water was indeed a major breakthrough.
The motors and the batteries used on the electric surfboards are perhaps the most important advancements, and the ones that show the most promises for further innovation. Having developed a motor that is noiseless and emission-free is already a big feat, and this can be duplicated for water vehicles. It is already a plus point for electric surfboards to have fast battery charging time, but as of now, developers should look forward to building longer lasting batteries for the boards.
New opportunities for fun and business
The market for electric surfboards have yet to go on full blast, but the products are already gaining attention in the surfing community. The exorbitant price of the technology do come as a shock for many surfers who would like to try waveless surfing but are currently tight on the budget. But it will not take long for any enterprising firm or entrepreneur to duplicate the technology behind electric surfboards and start producing models that are more affordable than the ones currently available on the market.
The market could possibly introduce new sports and open up new opportunities for the extreme sport business. Soon there will be waveless surfing competitions in cities and water parks across the world. Surfing will finally reach the countryside where lakes abound, and at beaches not known for their waves, electric water sports will become the main attraction. There will be world championships too, and electric water sports will one day make its way to the Olympics.
For those who love to ride the waves, electric surfboards make surfing in all places and at all times a dream come true. Back in the days, if you want to surf on smooth water, you need to be towed by a motor boat. It was even impossible to attach a built-in motor to a surfboard as self-propelled surfboards were plain science fiction or an idea engineers were not ready to venture into back then. But thanks to electric mobility and the growing spirit of innovation, surfing has reached new heights or new places, to say the least. You no longer need to wait for the waves to go out surfing.