HydroFlyer e-foil brings motocross madness to the water with handlebars
Electric hydrofoils are gaining in popularity, with a number of companies now offering fun and environmentally-friendly ways to skim across the open water. South African firm Unifoil has just introduced a new take on this with an interesting point of difference, featuring a set of handlebars that offer more control and faster riding, while also softening the learning curve for new users.
Unifoil designed the HydroFlyer in collaboration with Canadian inventor Jerry McArthur, who had been riding e-foils for a few years and began to wonder what could make them less intimidating for beginners. With a background in dirt-biking and also riding snowmobiles, McArthur liked the idea of the rider having four points of contact to improve stability and control, which not only makes it an easier undertaking for first timers, but would enable advanced riders to perform more extreme maneuvers.
The lightweight carbon-fiber body is powered by an onboard lithium-ion battery, which the creators say allows for two hours of riding time on each charge. That will depend on how the HydroFlyer is being ridden, of course, with speed settings ranging from "mild" to "wild" and topping out at a brisk 35 mph (56 km/h). Recharging after each session is said to take around two hours.
Speed is dictated by a wireless controller built into the detachable handlebars, which relays a signal to the silent motor built into the mast. Once the HydroFlyer hits about 4 knots (7.4 km/h, 4.6 mph), the foil rises out of the water and the rider is away, skimming across the surface.
"That's when it feels like flying," says McArthur. "There truly is no feeling in the world quite like it. It's environmentally friendly – no gas, no fumes, no wake, no noise and requires no towing or trailers. The HydroFlyer has solved many of the issues facing the traditional watercraft such as a boat or jet ski.
The HydroFlyer is priced at US$14,000, and will available via the company's website from May 2. See it in action in the video below.