Oh reaaaaaaally?? You don’t say? A jet powered surfboard that paddles instead of you? Ahaaa? That costs 4500$? Yeeey!! OK, enough with the sarcastic outbursts. There are only a few reasons why this is a good idea and loads of reasons why everyone coming to the beach with a jet powered surfboard that costs $4500 will and should be kicked in the ass.
First the news. In case you have no idea what’s going on – apparently now you can buy a paddle-free surfboard that is battery-powered and can give you up to 20 pounds of thrust. This way it can reach up to 12mph for 40 minutes at a time. 12mph is 3x times faster than I, an average surfer, can paddle. This means that you are simply able to drive to the lineup. The jet motors on the wavejet add an extra 15 pounds to your surfboard. Which means worse maneuverability. Jet powered surfboard is called WaveJet and it costs $4500 and it looks like this:
Why A Jet Powered Surfboard Might Be A Good Idea?
If you are going to surf BIG waves. You could possibly escape some dangerous situations with the extra speed, you need a heavier surfboard anyway and it’s like there is a little jet ski integrated in your surfboad when a jet ski is usually hopefully present either way when surfing big waves. Big waves would also be easier to catch. Which in not necessarily a good thing.
If you rescue people from the water. Extra speed, less time to reach them.
If you are in some way disabled and you can’t catch waves the normal way.
Why A Jet Powered Surfboard Is NOT A Good Idea?
Come on! Paddling is a big and important part of surfing. It weeds out the people that don’t belong into the lineup. If you are not able to paddle out, if you are not able to get through the whitewater then the waves are probably too big for you and you will only get yourself into danger. Ocean keeps people from getting in over their heads. This is why I wrote I’m not even sure if jet surfboard is a good idea for big wave surfing. If you can not catch the wave then maybe you shouldn’t be there. It’s a sport and you need to be physically able to participate in it.
A jet powered surfboard? As if stand up paddlers aren’t enough. There is no unlimited supply of waves at a certain time at a certain spot. Waves that come should be shared so everyone can get some. Meaning everyone that is able to surf them. It is an unfair advantage to have a jet powered surfboard and people won’t like it. Someone sitting further outside, catching all the waves and putting no effort in it? This is not snowboarding, skateboarding, biking…whatever where you can do your own thing and not bother anyone else. This is surfing where a lineup is a complex social space. This is surfing where catching a wave means that someone else could not catch that same wave. Jet surfboard equals friction.
Then imagine something worse and further ahead in the future – imagine that all surfboards will be jet powered, that all surfers will have their own jet powered surfboard. Imagine everyone speeding up and down the lineup and jockeying for better position. Imagine that people that will be able to afford more powerful surfboards will get more waves. Is this really what you want surfing to become? Image of this kind of future reminds me of traffic in Kuta, Bali. It’s hell and an accident waiting to happen.
And then, when a jet powered surfer catches most of the waves in the lineup, “paddles” back right away and catches some more… then comes the surfing and this is when all these waves go to waste. A heavy surfboard rides like a log and the one surfer that will get the most waves will surf them the worst. Arrrrghh…talk about even more aggravating other surfers in the lineup. All I am missing now is a wipeout and a heavy jet powered surfboard flying towards my head.
And this is why this post is in the WTF category…