Lampuga, a brand of Hamburg-based Sashay GmbH and the maker of one of the world's fastest electric surfboards, now makes it easier to get out onto the water and motor your way to fast-paced thrills. The Lampuga Air is an inflatable jet-drive surfboard designed to pack small and ride fast. A modular design lets you swap the jet drive between four different hull styles – from the standard 6.5-foot (2-m) surfboard to a short, lie-atop body board. While the Air still isn't priced for the masses, it does lower the cost of buy-in when compared to Lampuga's rigid models.
We've seen many an electric surfboard emerge in recent years, including the J-Force eBoard, Aquila boards and Radinn. Each has its own unique design, but they all have one thing in common: they're rigid, something you'd expect out of an electrified board designed to propel you to speeds of 20 to 30 mph (32 to 48 km/h). The motorized inflatable boards we've covered have been limited to slower stand-up paddleboards like the SipaBoard.
Sick of Ads?
More than 700 New Atlas Plus subscribers read our newsletter and website without ads.
Join them for just US$19 a year.More Information
While its flagship boards are also rigid, Lampuga has decided that the electric surfboard can be inflatable and still offer the adrenaline-pumping thrills its customers seek. This way, it combines the advantages of inflatable design, most notably easier transport and storage, with the usual speed and fun expected of an e-board. The Air packs down into a two-piece package that slides easily in a car trunk – no roof racks or trailers needed.
Since an electric jet drive with its motor, battery pack and other components is no small, collapsible piece of hardware, Lampuga builds the Air drive into a separate module, which secures to the hull on the beach and removes during transport. The jet drive has a 15-hp motor, and Lampuga estimates it'll provide 40 minutes of fun before the lithium battery needs a recharge, which takes between one and two hours.
Lampuga lists the Air's top speed at 29 mph (47 km/h). That means the 71-lb (32-kg) inflatable is only 5 mph (8 km/h) slower than the rigid models, which Lampuga has declared the world's fastest electric jet surfboards. It's also 11 lb (5 kg) lighter. The rider drives the Air with a wireless handheld controller.
The Air surfboard is just one of four consumer hulls compatible with the jet drive box. The box can easily remove and slide into the other inflatable hulls. The Air Plus is a larger surfboard-style hull for bigger riders, the Buddy a short, wide boogie board-style hull for children, and the extra large Shuttle a long, wide hull. You can obviously expect different rides and performance specs out of each.
In addition to those consumer action-sport models, Lampuga has designed the inflatable Rescue for lifeguards. The model has the same list of power, speed and runtime specs and relies on the same removable jet box design. Its longer, 9-foot (2.8-m) hull is brightly colored and designed around life-saving.
The Lampuga Air launched last year, just a few months after we checked out Lampuga's rigid line at the 2015 Düsseldorf boat show. The Air retails for €9,900 (approx. US$10,900), which is €3,040 cheaper than the base Boost rigid model. So it doesn't exactly put electric surfboard technology within the grasp of the everyman, but it at least knocks a couple of thousand off the high price. The Rescue model shares that same price, and the other three recreational hulls are priced between €750 for the Buddy to €1,950 for the Shuttle (hulls only, no jet drive). When we spoke to Sashay, it mentioned that the Shuttle is not yet ready.
The video below shows the Air auto-inflating into shape within seconds and tearing up the water.