The Merging of Sky and Sea

As evidenced by the viral video of Mark Zuckerberg skimming over the water’s surface on a hydrofoil, electric surfing has transformed the surfing world forever. So just what, exactly, is the pull of this extreme watersport?

There was a time when surfing — like sailing — was wholly dependent on the elements. If the waves weren’t there, they weren’t there —and surfers would stroll back along the beach after an unsatisfactory outing, board in tow, feeling despondent and short-changed at the lack of wind and correspondingly large, surfable waves.

But all that’s changed in recent years, thanks to the electric surfboard. Now, we can add ‘water’ to the long list of things over which humans have triumphed. Surfers are no longer at the whim of the weather — small waves can be navigated with ease, flat stretches of water can become the perfect tapestry for a day of extreme sports, and the joy of surfing can be accessed, enjoyed and maximised at any time; on any day; in any water.

The clue’s in the name (though you may also have heard the craze trending as its popular iteration: namely, the eFoil). Electric surfboards are powered electrically, allowing surfers to fly over the waves via man-made means. It’s a battery-powered adrenaline rush; an extreme sport undertaken hand in hand with Bluetooth (quite literally; many electric motors are powered by Bluetooth hand controllers). Through the use of a hydrofoil — a structure powered by an electric propellor that operates like an aeroplane wing, lifting the surfboard out of the water — surfers can cross virtually any body of water they choose. And they can cross it through the haze of adrenaline and excitement that electric surfing offers.

Electric surfboards have taken the surfing world by storm, especially since a viral video of Mark Zuckerberg flying over the water’s surface on a hydrofoil, American flag in tow, did the rounds and cemented the trend as a trend that is, surely, here to stay. But what exactly is it about electric surfboards that has surfers and non-surfers alike clamouring to hear more about this defining moment in watersport culture?

“eFoiling is an inherently viral sport — if you see someone gliding over water on what’s essentially a magic carpet, people wonder about it and see if they can ride it to experience flight above the water,” explains Nick Leason, co-Founder of Lift Foils, the maker of the original eFoil. “It’s definitely the feeling of flying. I believe people are inherently curious and adventurous, and the idea of flight over water is hard to resist once someone sees and feels it’s possible.”

Leason’s right: humans have a naturally curious, adventurous streak.


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