If you checked out the Bixpy Jet last month and thought, "Damn, I want to put money down on that and I want to do it now, even if it means preordering or crowd-funding," we have some good news and some more good news. Bixpy is now accepting preorders through its website, and it has some new competition. The Scubajet looks like an even sleeker alternative that brings the same type of electrified boost to canoeing, paddleboarding, scuba diving and more.
The Bixby Jet is a San Diego solution to personal propulsion and the Scubajet an Austrian one. Land-locked Austria may not be the first place you'd think of for marine innovation, but it does have a history of cutting-edge watercraft and water toy design, with projects like the Kormaran and electric and hybrid boats from Frauscher. And Europe at large seems to have a knack for innovating electric water toys, as we've seen with the Lampuga Air surfboard, SeaBob and Quadrofoil.
The Scubajet shrinks on-water electric power down to a smaller, more versatile form. The 3.1-kW water-cooled motor sucks water in through the 360-degree intake and shoots forward through the sea, delivering quick, reactive propulsion at the push of the remote control. The jet drive system nests inside the tubular battery pack, which removes easily. That 192-Wh battery has enough oomph for up to 1,000 watts of motor output, and Scubajet is also working on a larger external battery to make use of the full 3,000 W.
Like the Bixpy Jet, the Scubajet is a multifunctional water sport motor that brings power to multiple styles of watercraft. Unlike the Bixpy Jet, it's an all-in-one component that slips onto your paddleboard or boat without the need for an external battery pack. The adapter secures to the top of the Scubajet and then slips into the fin box of the paddleboard or clamps to the back of the dinghy. There's also a canoe mount, and an attachment for scuba dive tanks is in the works.
With its integrated battery and bullet-like chassis, the 31.5-in-long (80-cm) Scubajet is a cleaner solution than the Bixpy Jet, but it's not necessarily as versatile. While Bixpy says that its Jet can attach to "virtually any kayak, canoe, dinghy or personal pontoon," not to mention "any stand-up paddleboard," Scubajet is more brand-specific in its approach, saying that its adapters work with models from 20 manufacturers, including Fanatic, Hobie, Sevylor and Naish. It intends to expand that list and invites interested parties to jot their own preferred brands down so it can explore the possibility of getting the Scubajet mounted up.
Once mounted, the Scubajet is controlled via the accompanying three-button wireless remote, which works to turn it on and adjust speed. An auto shut-off cuts power if the rider falls into the water or if the remote control strays too far from the drive. Scubajet has mapped several motor modes, offering everything from slow speed and optimized battery life for scuba diving to fast, high-powered sprinting and SUP "paddle assist," not to be confused with the pedal assist of electric bicycles. Best case scenario on battery is 90 minutes, but that will depend on mode. Top speed is listed at 6 knots (11 km/h).
The Scubajet weighs about 5.3 lb (2.4 kg), which is very comparable to the handheld version of the Bixpy Jet, which comes in at 5 lb (2.3 kg). It's also slim enough to slide in a backpack, according to its designers, allowing carrying to the water's edge with ease.
All in all, the Scubajet looks like a compelling multipurpose jet drive for the water lover, assuming it's compatible with the vessel(s) he or she owns. Kickstarters can secure a jet drive with choice of adapter for pledge levels starting at €790 (approx. US$875). Estimated retail is €1,290 (US$1,430). The SUP/canoe adapter is available independently on Kickstarter for €45 (US$50) and the dinghy adapter for €130 (US$145). Scubajet hopes to raise €150,000 (US$166,500) to finish off the development process and get production started.