Motorized fin gives surfers a boost
Surfers use up a lot of energy, both paddling out to the lineups where the waves roll in, and then paddling even harder to catch one of those waves. The Boost Surfing Fin is designed to help, by giving users … well, an electric boost.
Developed by California-based Boost Surfing, the Fin non-permanently replaces a third-party board's existing fin. It's made of a combination of ABS plastic and fiberglass, tipping the scales at a claimed 1.7 lb (771 g).
When users want a boost, they activate the Fin's brushless 800-watt motor via a board-mounted or wrist-mounted wireless remote. That motor responds by putting out up to 20 lb (9 kg) of thrust – this takes the board to a top speed of 11 mph (18 km/h) for either eight or 20 seconds, depending on the selected boost length. Plans call for sensors to shut off the motor if the user falls off the board, so it won't continue on without them.
Power is provided by a lithium battery, that reportedly should be good for two hours of total runtime per 60 to 90-minute charge – the Fin can be removed from the board for charging.
Needless to say, many surfers will likely think of an electric-assist fin as a form of cheating. The Fin's designers, however, state that it should allow users to stay out longer and catch otherwise-uncatchable waves, plus it ought to make the sport more accessible to the disabled, beginners and the elderly.
The Boost Surfing Fin is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, where a pledge of US$149 is required to get one. Assuming it reaches production, shipping should take place next May. The planned retail price is $299.
It can be seen in use, in the following video. And if you're interested in going fast on flat water, you might want to check out a purpose-built fully-electric surfboard.