Asap: An electric alternative to the Jet Ski
Frankly, what I know about water sports can be written on the dorsal fin of my imaginary surf board (what do you mean they don't have dorsal fins?), but I'm not going to let that stop me telling you a bit about Asap, an electric watercraft which combines elements of Jet Skis, body boards and catamarans.
I say "water sports," but British designer Ross Kemp has actually designed Asap (named after the acronym for "as soon as possible") as a rescue craft for lifeguards. It's designed to be a "pollution free" alternative to the Jet Ski while still being significantly faster than swimming. It's not a million miles from the Exoconcept we saw in 2011.
Though widely-reported as being solar-powered, it isn't inherently so. But because it's an electric vehicle, solar power is a possibility, and may make sense if storing the Asap near the water's edge which, obviously, is where you want it to be. (Charge it with fossil-fuel-derived electricity and obviously the non-polluting claims fly out of the chimney, though at least it is still clean at the point of use.)
The product has been in development for a number of years, over which time Kemp has developed two prototypes. The first apparently caught the attention of Innocent Drinks co-founder Richard Reed, who passed word to Richard Branson. Branson offered to fly the current improved prototype to Bondi Beach for testing by the native lifeguards.
A CNN report on the Asap lists numerous advantages over the Jet Ski for rescue purposes. To begin with, Asap can be launched quickly and easily by a single lifeguard, and it is designed to be as easy as possible to place an injured person upon. It's also claimed that the v-shape of its hull reduces slapping on the water.
"A lot of rescue aids are simply re-purposed leisure equipment," Kemp told CNN. "For example a paddle board is just a surf board, and a Jet Ski is just adapted for rescue purposes, so rescuers adapt the way they rescue people to the equipment rather than the equipment for them."
According to CNN Asap is still in development, so the final specification isn't finalized. However, the current prototype travels at 15 mph (24 km/h). Better yet, Kemp is apparently planning to release Asap on the leisure market. Watch this space.