Started in Byron Bay in 2018, Fliteboard has a fan club of the most influential. Does Chris Hemsworth have one, you ask? Not yet, but he has tried it out! Kite surfing world record holder David Trewern built the first prototypes of Fliteboard using a 3D printer from Aldi (a budget supermarket). Surfing without effort or surf, Fliteboard gives the sensation of flying over water without wind or waves at up to 55 kilometers per hour.
Fliteboard is controlled by a handheld bluetooth remote, and is powered by a marine-grade smart battery that can last for over 90 minutes.
It has been described by Shopify founder Tobias Lutke as “the most magical gadget on the planet.” Other notable people who have purchased a Fliteboard include singer Katy Perry, actor Orlando Bloom, Xero founder Rod Drury, musician Eddie Vedder, and racing car driver Nico Rosberg.
“In terms of sustainability, we acknowledge that the most sustainable thing to do is to simply go for a swim. However, when comparing motorised watercraft, a Fliteboard is significantly more efficient than the fuel-based alternatives. When it comes to powered vessels, we don’t know of anything more efficient than an eFoil,” says Sue Taylor, Fliteboard Direct of Sales and Event Assistant for Australia. “Electric power and hydrofoils are the keys to sustainable powered transport on water. Fliteboard ushers in new technologies that, when scaled, have potential to create a future of quiet and clean ocean enjoyment and transport. Once you have experienced quiet electric hydrofoil flight over water, it becomes immediately clear how out of date the technologies are that we currently use for recreational boating. Waterways should be pristine environments. Flite is developing technology now, for a future without the noise and smells created by burning fossil fuels.”
Fliteboard has expanded from its base in Byron Bay and now has offices in USA and Europe, with thousands of customers around the world and over 60 Fliteschools globally. It is priced from $18,000 (AUS) and comes in a range of colours and styles.
But surfboards aren’t powered by diesel or petrol — only by the renewable energy of the waves. I am looking forward to the time when this product displaces jet skis and other noisy, smelly watercraft which currently ruin the pleasure of a quiet Sunday afternoon on the waterfront.