Brad Anderson is getting used to being stared it. It happens every time he takes his surfboard to the beach.
The stares start out as curiosity: is that a surfboard with a motor? Wait… is that a battery?
Then the curiosity turns to amazement as he steps aboard and silently peels away from shore, carving gentle curves at speeds that can top out at 60 km/h. “No matter how often it happens, I still love the reactions I get!” laughs Brad.
He is the founder and owner of Create Your Wave, which makes and sells high-end electric surfboards.
These aren’t “young kids’ toys” – they are tough, high-tech, jet propelled, zero-carbon-footprint watercraft. The boards are made from carbon fibre, which is stronger, lighter, and more intuitive to ride than fibreglass. The propulsion system is made from airplane-grade aluminum. Riders are required to have a boat operator’s license.
Brad was once a keen water skier. He began developing the boards as a way to get out on the water without being at the mercy of boat drivers.
He first came across battery powered boards while working in computer software sales. Touring a factory, he saw that they had been developing a battery-powered skateboard. He bought one, began tinkering, and eventually commissioned a much more highly refined version that he designed.
The skateboards were fun – he still sells them – but as a cottager Brad knew he really wanted to apply the technology to the water.
He designed a highly stable surfboard, inspired in part by the double-concave hulls he used to see when building Sea Fleas as a kid. “That shape gives you incredible stability and quick planning capabilities,” he explains. A jet propulsion system coupled with the lightest, most powerful batteries available completed the fully environmentally friendly package.
The M-11 board is small enough to fit in a hatchback and can be launched anywhere. It can run for over two hours in fresh water and is ready to go again after about two hours of charging.
“There’s no maintenance, no gas, no storage fees, and it’s the most versatile vessel on the water,” he says. “If you’ve done anything on the water – windsurfing, waterskiing, wakeboards – your learning curve is essentially zero.”
Just get up on board, slip your feet into the binding loops, and wait for the staring to begin.