Are motorized surfboards set to take over surfing ? Recent developments in the technology that drives them have seen the craft ridden in some of the heaviest waves on the planet. Hawaiian waterman Kai Lenny, who also windsurfs as well as rides conventional surfboards and SUPs, recently rode a Aquasurf 150 cc motorized board at Jaws, the famous Maui big-wave spot. His waves at the break are considered the largest ever ridden on a motorized board.
The Aquasurf uses a 150cc gasoline-powered water-jet engine (similar to that of a personal watercraft, like a Sea-Doo) to propel riders along the surface of the water at speeds as fast as 35 mph. Riders stand on the carbon-fiber board, loop their feet through a pair of straps, and grab the handheld throttle, which is tethered to the front of the board.
The engines are made by Canadian company Tekcorp Engines, which specializes in the development of combustion engines and special electronics. Check out prices on www.surfteksurfboards.com
The Nautilus has the advantage of not needing gasoline, as it uses a lithium-battery-powered jet-propulsion system. The Nautilus However is more expensive, retailing at nearly double the price of the Aquasurf, and is quieter and more environmentally friendly. However, with top speeds of 20 mph, it generates significantly less speed than the Aquasurf.
Either way, these two models are pushing the boundaries of what is possible on a motorized surfboard. And with some of the world’s best big-wave riders using the craft in some of the heaviest waves on the planet, it is only a matter of time before they become increasingly common in the lineup. After all, what surfer really likes paddling?