Skip to content

Electric Foilboarding Is Now a Thing

We once saw a man walk on water.

We were sailing back home to Lowrie in San Rafael after a long, splendid day on the Bay. As we close-reached up the channel, we saw a man . . . surfing without a wave, sail or kite. If we hadn’t been keeping up on watersports trends, we may very well have thought that someone was riding a magic carpet, or walking on water. It was, of course, an electric foil board, where a small motor on the foil provides autonomous thrust.

We knew that electric foilboarding was now a thing, but seeing it in real life — and out on the water as we were sailing — reinforced that the future is here. Even from a distance, we could see the thickness of the board, which presumably housed the electric guts that provide the get up and go. (Sorry for the low-quality, grainy pictures.)
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

Immediately, we pondered the existential implications of the proliferation of such craft. First thought: Damn, we want to ride one of those! (Once ashore, we Googled to check the cost . . . They’re tens-of thousands-of dollars, so, yeah, forget about that for a while.)

Second thought: If electric foilboards become relatively affordable — like wind- or kitesurfers — will the Bay be swarming with them one day? We could not help but conjure flocks of silent boards skimming the water.

Just as with drones, new technologies spawn conversations about new responsibilities. If everyone can soon jump onto their own version of a magic carpet, then, to some extent, seamanship and etiquette will obviously have to evolve with the craft on the water. And just as with wind- and kitesurfers, we’re sure that some people were less than excited to see new, fast craft all over the water. (Recently, the Coast Guard issued a statement asking kiters to be more careful in the wake of a boom in rescues.)

Whatever your opinion on this new craft might be, we think one thing is universal: It looks like sooooooo much fun!
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

The libertarian in us wants to say, “Relax, it’ll be fine. People’s responsibility and better judgment will be forced to prevail.” The slightly salty, curmudgeonly worry-warts in us say, “We are so screwed if we’re relying on people’s responsibility and better judgment.”

Anyway, we want to know what you think about this particular trend. Do you shudder to think what the future might bring? Are you excited for what’s next? Can you not wait to try one of these things? Do you have one and you, like, totally want to share it with us? Please, comment below, or write us here, and if applicable, please include your boat name, make and port of call.

For a quick review of electric foilboarding here’s a youtube video we found:

1 Comment

  1. Lu Abel 5 years ago

    First of all, as a powered “vessel,” foilboards are subject to the Rules of the Road as much as a 1000 ft cargo ship (or a 30 ft powerboat). I just wonder if those who will own one will be aware of that; maybe an opportunity for public education. Oh, and California vessel numbering.

    At the same time, I find these absolutely fascinating. I live in a waterfront home in Ballena Bay in Alameda as does one of the developers of these craft, every so often I look out the window and see one of these absolutely fascinating craft skimming by.

Leave a Comment

Historic Schooner Struck
We were shocked to receive the news that the German pilot schooner Elbe No. 5  — which several generations of Bay Area sailors will know best as 'our' lovely Wander Bird — sank on Saturday after a collision with a commercial ship on the Elbe River near Hamburg.
Cabron Is for Sale
2013 Cookson 80 designed by Botin, Cabron is a high powered racing yacht.
When Poop Reigns
We were out of Cabo San Lucas headed for Puerto Vallarta when a frigatebird came swooping in, circling, circling, gliding in a steep left bank until its wingtip nearly touched the ocean, the top of its wings black, glistening in the late afternoon sun.
Latitude Logowear
Congratulations to two winners of Latitude 38 swag. Stephen Buckingham picked up a copy of the June issue at South Beach Yacht Club at San Francisco's Pier 40 on May 31.