No eccentric billionaire’s toy garage can be classed as ‘complete’ without a jet board. Taking over mariners and flooding the Instagram feeds of the wealthy these motorised surfboards are rising in popularity. Choose from electric or petrol-powered crafts and slide across your chosen liquid realm at speeds matching 60 kilometres (37 miles) per hour.
No idea where to start on the topic of jet boards, don’t worry we’ve done your homework for you. Here’s a heap of useful info and a curated collection of a few of the jet board markets best brands and models.
Mother nature, try as you might, you’re never gonna control her. As a result, your surfing experience can become compromised. Flat spells, sloppy onshore, tides… they can all impact your wave hopes negatively. However, what these conditions can do is serve as inspiration allowing you to cater toward your experience, enter the jet board.
Why do we need Jet Boards?
Jet boards eliminate the need for perfect conditions requiring only one thing beyond petrol or battery-powered juice – water! Freshwater or saltwater, whatever mate, you could even bung it in the swimming pool provided it’s got enough room to roam. That right there, the ability to surf whenever you please regardless of waves, is the core of the jet board. Beyond being a crutch to your surfing addiction jet boards double as a pretty stylish way to commute. The old A to B has never looked this good. So if you happen to be sitting on a little extra scratch then investing in a jet board could be a great idea!
Like the crowd at the local, jet boards come in all shapes, sizes and functions. From foils to SUPs the options are endless. Functionality also varies with some boards designed to assist with paddling others aim to make your wave riding experience smoother whilst some it seems are there for the thrill of it.
The history of motorised surfboards
Whilst many consider them the bastard offspring of a surfboard and jet-ski love affair these boards have been zipping around for longer than you may believe. Prior to the motorised derivatives you see today the jet board has seen many forms in its storied past. The earliest form of the motorised surfboard came about in 1935 and was designed to help lifeguards power through the surf in Australia, back then it was known as the ‘surf scooter’.
Like sand through the hourglass, the design and function of the jet board has changed over time offering a more practical and streamlined approach to the experience. In the 1960s the jet board was resurrected with major tech advances coming along with it. Different models started to pop up on the market including a board attached to an outboard motor. In the years that followed the resurgence, production and design of the motorised surfboard, inspired by years of innovation, evolved into the powerful watercraft’s we see today.
Now, before taking the plunge and putting money down on a motorised investment a number of considerations need to be taken into account. These boards have working parts and complexities that do not exist in regular surfboards so picking out the right one from the bunch can be difficult. So, let’s consider some of these aspects.
Types of Jet Boards
As previously mentioned, when it comes to choosing what type of board to pick you’re spoilt for choice. There are motorised versions of foils, SUPs and even your standard shortboard all coming with their own individual feel and character. The most import aspect being – practicality – what is going to work best for you.
For your sitcom sized family, a motorised SUP may be the best bet, perfect for those cruisey weekend vibes. Add on a foil and you’ll be jetting off faster whilst sharpening your turns. For the more experienced and ‘core’ surfer, you’re better off going for something more in line with your summer stick. Just like picking a board off the rack, knowing what you want to get out of your surfing experience will prove valuable. You’re also going to want to consider your budget.
Other factors to consider include your experience level, height and weight as well as where you plan on doing most of your surfing. For example, if you’re planning on whipping into waves you might want to consider a board that has some degree of curve to it whereas if you’re planning to use it on a calm body of water then opt for a board that’s flatter.
Where weight and your standard surfboard is concerned – volume becomes important. Where weight and your motorised surfboard is concerned – power becomes important. In a nutshell, the heavier you are, the more power your jet board motor will need. Boards that need more power will also need increased battery cells and an enhanced heat management system. This generally makes them more expensive. Power is vital to your performance in the surf so don’t overlook it. You’re even going to want to consider how that power is generated i.e jet engines vs props.
Lastly before taking a closer look at a few of our favourite boards on the market a quick look at solid vs inflatable jet boards. Both body types come with their own set of pros and cons. As expected solid-bodied boards are faster, holding up better in bigger waves as flex is minimal. Swap over to inflatable boards and you’ll find they lend themselves toward being more practical in terms of transportation being lighter and much easier to stow, however, performance is compromised.
The best jet boards available in 2021
The board designed to flat out send it on the straights. It’s able to eat up corners/turns, and accelerates like a bat out of hell. The body of the board is comprised of lightweight carbon fibre and can reach speeds of almost 60 kmph. The best bit, it’ll get there in just 4 seconds – that’s some serious torque.
The board is controlled by a mobile phone app that provides the surfer with different modes depending on your mood or experience. Got the little ones jumping on next, slap it into KIDS mode. Feeling a little greener, no problem the ECO mode has you covered. Finally, if you’re looking to ramp things up and really push the board you can select SPORT or EXTREME mode. Controlled by a wireless throttle, this award-winning jet board makes things easy for you. Weighing in at 35kg the RAVIK can run up to 40 minutes before it needs to be powered up. The only real drawback is the price tag.
The board built to last. From novice to wreck-less this board is perfect. While some boards have a bit of a learning curve the Radinn Explore is ideal for the beginner. Like your grandmothers cooking this board’s reliable. Built to take a licking and backed with a durable undercoating, built-in bumper and a full-impact deck pad you’ll be hard-pressed to hurt its feelings.
While not as powerful as the RAVIK the Explore still packs a punch with a top speed of 40 kmph. With an ultra-quiet electric motor, controlled by a wireless remote, you’re not going to be ruffling any feathers as you glide across the water. When your battery’s at low tide an LED light will indicate its time to change them out giving you a quick turn around time between sessions. While it can’t compete with the RAVIKs 4 modes you are able to choose between ‘standard’ and ‘pro’ performance for speed with optional extras for extended range.
If you’re not constrained by a budget and looking for convenience then the Lampuga Electric Surfboard could be the perfect match. Its inflatable design makes use of double-layer PVC making it extra durable and tough all the while being easily foldable for safe stowage on a boat or in the garage. The inflatable build is a good choice for beginners, limiting heavier contact with the board if/when you fall.
Perhaps most impressive is the performance, which despite it being inflatable, is not compromised. The Lampuga, powered by a rechargeable battery, is able to reach 50 kmph and is controlled using a handle attached to the nose. Although it may seem a little strange, the rope handle attachment is a great addition for balance.
German engineering at its finest – the OLO One. Made for more rides, more speed and more fun. Built from carbon fibre, this electric-powered brushless motor water whip is pretty easy on the eyes. The swap in swap out battery system takes a mere 30 seconds so you can spend more time out on the water and less time fart-arsing around with batteries and chargers. It’s powerful too with a top speed of 52 kmph.
Now for what most surfers would get the biggest kick out of, the swallowtail! The exception to the norm, where jet boards are concerned, allows for greater hold and traction, while the addition of twin fins makes carving silky smooth and oh so pleasurable. The throttle is controlled via Bluetooth and like the Radinn Explore has a user-friendly LED battery level indicator and a convenient watertight compartment to store valuables when on the move. Unfortunately, your pockets are going to have to be pretty deep to sport this surf hybrid.
The original creators of the eFoil, Lift, present by far one of the best jet boards on the market and like the OLO One its pretty sexy. The hydrofoil system makes for one helluva smooth ride. Innovative tech and quality build, has lead to the company becoming leaders in their field.
The board is powered by a silent lithium-ion motor enabling you to get in hour-long sessions comfortably. The top speed is respectable at 40 kmph. You may not be the fastest cat out but that’s a fair compromise for longer rides.
The foil is what packs the punch making all the difference, lifting the rider clean out of the water. If you’ve never experienced this weightless sensation you’re missing out. Once you’ve got the hang of the boards independent motor you’re set to cruise in luxury as you channel the energy of the water allowing for deeper harder turns. The learning curve will be something to overcome. Being made from carbon fibre the foil design is both durable and lightweight.