Motorised surfboards are not new, but typically we just see some fellas puttering around a glassy lake on them. Bo-ring. But today, finally, their potential is being realised. Check out braver-than-you big wave guru Garrett McNamara using a WaveJet to tame some giant waves.
We wrote about the WaveJet earlier this year, and it's very cool technology. It's basically a pod that can be attached to small watercraft like surfboards, kayaks and rescue boards. It has twin inboard jets that are powered by lithium-ion batteries. That means that unlike most jetskis, which run on gas, they can be used in heavy-water places that are protected sanctuaries (like Mavericks and Ghost Tree).
The system is controlled by a wireless wrist band, and if (when) you fall off, the board's motor will automatically shut down. It supplies 9kg of thrust and can go 20km/h for about 40 minutes on a full charge. Now, that's nowhere near as fast as guys can get whipped in behind a jetski (think 50km/h), so it's unlikely that we'll see these on a giant day at Jaws, but this is a major step in the right direction.
"It was so amazing to kick out and not have to paddle to get out of harm's way and get right back to the peak to catch another wave," says McNamara. Oh, and for those of you not familiar with surfing lore, that's not just some random guy talking. Garrett McNamara is a legend. Remember last month when someone surfed a 27m wave and likely smashed the world record? Yeah, that was Garrett. If you think that 40 is old, I would say that the 44-year-old McNamara effectively crotch-kicks that notion and gives me hope for the future. [WaveJet]