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Aquila electric surfboards promise high-speed cruising, carving and freestyling

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July 6, 2014

Aquila has launched three new electric surfboards

Aquila has launched three new electric surfboards

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While they may not yet be a common sight on the world's beaches, powered surfboards have been cropping up on a fairly regular basis since Gizmag first covered the PowerSki JetBoard a decade ago. Now, Spanish firm Aquila is planning to launch a new range of zippy electric-powered boards, each designed for different surfing styles.

Aquila is spin-off from Bizintek Innova, a product development and engineering company that specializes in electronics. It initially began as a project to develop an electric propulsion system for use in water-sports.

"We were training on low voltage power electronics, motor control and LiPo battery management systems to get the know-how needed to offer development services for electric vehicle customers," explains Aquia CEO Iñigo Sobradillo Benguría. "We searched for an application to test and thought that trying to get a board planing over the water would be a great challenge. When we tested the first prototypes on the beach, people were impressed and came to ask where could they get one. At that time we realized that there could be an opportunity for a product."

The three different boards are designed for beginners or cruising, carving and freestyle r...

Made possible as a result of improvements in battery technology in recent years, the boards use a completely integrated electric-powered jet propulsion system and produce no noise or emissions.

"It gets some water from the bottom part of the board and pressurizes it through the nozzle on the tail giving the board the thrust needed," explains Benguría. "Thrust is regulated through a wireless remote control and to turn it works like a surfboard. We have a high current Mosfet drive system with a microprocessor that controls the brushless motor and some other electronics for safe operation of the system."

The boards are called the Manta, the Carver and the Blade

According to Benguría, the water pump was, in fact, the most challenging part of the design. The Aquila team was unable to find a suitable and efficient solution on the market, so ended up designing its own. The result, he says, was a lightweight, high efficiency and completely integrated system.

The battery packs that are used to power the boards are replaceable, meaning that they can be swapped out and recharged while a fresh battery is swapped in to continue powering the board.

The company is currently evaluating interest in the three electric board designs and seeking investors. The aim is to enter production in 2015.

The top speed of the fastest board is 70 km/h (44 mph)

Three board types are available. The entry-level Manta is aimed at beginners and those who enjoy relaxed cruising over flat water. Its top speed of 33 km/h (21 mph) is the lowest of the three options, but it also has the longest battery life at 30 minutes. It measures 230 x 98 cm (91 x 39 in) and will retail for €2800 (US$3800).

The Carver is designed for high-speed slaloming across the surface of the water. At 245 x 68 cm (98 x 27 in), it's the longest of the three boards and is aimed at giving the user control for turning. It has a top speed of 71 km/h (44 mph) and will cost €3300 ($4485).

The boards have an average battery life of about 20 minutes

Aimed at freestyle riders, the Blade is the smallest and lightest of the three Aquila boards and is designed to provide optimal maneuverability. It measures 185 x 60 cm (73 x 24 in), weighs 18 kg and has a top speed of 53 km/h (33 mph). It is to be priced at €2900 ($3942).

"Most of our team does or has done some watersports and we are very conscious that each person needs a different board," says Benguría. "We have developed a system that fits easily on different configurations and this way we are able to produce boards for different programs and different riders."

The video below shows the Aquila Carver in action.

Product page: Aqulia

About the Author
Stu Robarts Stu is a tech writer based in Liverpool, UK. He has previously worked on global digital estate management at Amaze and headed up digital strategy for FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). He likes cups of tea, bacon sandwiches and RSS feeds.   All articles by Stu Robarts
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5 Comments

The longest (and slowest) time on the water before you change batteries is 30 minutes? [Not counting riding out and coming back to shore, a few minutes lost there] They still have a long way to go to make a difference to the average coastal dweller's life! Especially costing nearly 4000 bucks! A 2nd hand PWC should out-do that.

The Skud
7th July, 2014 @ 06:58 pm PDT

Thank you Skud for your comment. You are right. Petrol engines would give more autonomy to the board but they pollute, make noise and need a lot of maintenance. On the other hand, you have to be really fit to ride continuously for 30 minutes.

Aquila
8th July, 2014 @ 12:03 am PDT

30 minutes is pretty good if controlling the board is anything close to being as strenuous as surfing. A good accessory would be some kind of solar charger to recharge your spare while you're out cutting through the waves, since outlets are hard to come by at most beaches and leaving your car running is not a good idea. A battery gauge or alarm to let you know when the battery is getting low would also be highly useful. Going straight out for the full time and forgetting your charge could equal a lot of manual paddling to get back. It looks pretty cool, hope it succeeds.

patient23
8th July, 2014 @ 06:24 am PDT

It also doesn't show how you actually get up and riding on the thing? If it's anything like wakeboarding, with great difficulty!

What about when you inevitably fall over too, how do you get back on and put bindings on when you're moving?

Mark Hankins
9th July, 2014 @ 03:53 am PDT

Thank you Patient, Mark.

There is a fuel gauge for the rider to know how much energy is there in the battery. But if you run out of energy (well, the board) and you have to go back paddling, the boards have enough volume to do so easily.

Getting up on the board is similar to the surf technique, but easier because as there is no wave, you can take your time to stand up while you are getting more and more speed.

Footstraps are not always needed. Only for choppy water, wave or freestyle maneuvers.

Aquila
17th July, 2014 @ 11:24 pm PDT
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