What is the best electric hydrofoil? Fliteboard or Lift Foils? Well, this is a tough question, but for our Fliteboard review we had the chance to ride the Fliteboard, Fliteboard Air and Fliteboard Pro for 3 days.
Update: After we reviewed the Fliteboard Series 2 we changed from Lift Foils to Fliteboard. We are now official Flite reseller since end of 2021.
Back to the article from 2018:
At the end of this article we will share what we think what the best electric hydrofoil is, but let's focus first on the Fliteboard review. As far as we know only Lift Foils is shipping today and Fliteboard still wants to ship 2018. Some others like Cabratec are selling early versions to beta testers. 2019 we hopefully can see more electric hydrofoils from Jetfoiler, Elevate, ELdoRIdo, Hoverstar, and Flying Rodeo available for sale.
After the the DIY E-Foil from Pacificmeister and the Electric Foil from Cabratec the Fliteboard was our 3rd electric hydroidoil we could ride on our own. And this time we had 4 boards and 6 batteries for 3 days of testing as part of the Jetboard Festival. Test riders include Wayne, Mike, Grant, Andreas, Nuria, Tania and Daniel.
Unfortunately (at the time we wrote this article) we had no opportunity to test Lift Foils eFoil yet as Puerto Rico is not around the corner and the Lift Foils team had not made it yet to Europe. They have some nice videos and the product looks very nice and we heard from different sources that it is an excellent electric hydrofoil. So see at the end of this article who indeed has the best electric hydrofoil.
Fliteboard offers 3 different boards, 2 different wings and 2 different batteries.
Fliteboard review - boards
The inflatable Fliteboard Air body (18 PSI) has a lot of volume (175 litres) and you can even stand on it at zero speed. This is very comfortable and safe for beginners and will be the best solution for rental locations and schools. There should be a few e-foil centres next year in Europe, US and Australia.
While the volume certainly feels very handsome for beginners, this does not mean it is easier to fly. It is easier to ride on the surface and will help you to get the first feeling on how a hydrofoil acts (it always wants to go up with the nose as described in our 2 electric hydrofoil articles How to ride an electric hydrofoil and Electric Hydrofoil lesson powered by CabraTec).
However once you start to fly it is actually easier to switch to the Standard Fliteboard. While it has with 100 litres less volume (you cannot stand up with zero speed) the surface of the board has much less resistance if you hit the water while you go up and down and therefore the speed is more consistent when you change from planning to flying and vice versa.
The Fliteboard offers still enough volume to offer early planning. I had 92 kg and no problems to get it up flying at the speed setting of 8 of 20 (more about virtual gears below). The Fliteboard Pro has only 70 litres and is for advanced riders who want to ride more aggressive with a very responsive board. Both the Fliteboard and the Pro are built of PVC carbon sandwich. The good thing about the bodies is that you can exchange them. They are all using the same batteries, remote and propulsion units.
We saw a white Air, a black and a white Fliteboard and a Pro in the wooden design. They all look beautiful, had a good quality and come with a nice board bag as well as cases for the Flite Box, Wings etc.
Fliteboard review - remote control
When we were riding the earlier 2 hydrofoils the biggest challenge was to stand up without changing the speed with the sensitive throttle. Fliteboard introduces virtual gears which is a good move. With 2 plus and minus buttons you change the maximum speed at full throttle in 20 steps.
Depending on the battery charge I used gear 3 or 4 as an optimal speed to stand up and 7 to 9 to get up flying. I never went higher than 9 and even Founder and CEO David Trewern mentioned he never went up to 20, so there is plenty of room.
If you would go up to gear 20 you would reach speeds up to 40 km/h or more which is for an hydrofoil too fast in my opinion.
A Foil is about cruising and it is one thing to crash with 40 or 50 km/h with a surfboard on the surface, but a completely different thing if you are flying about one meter above the surface and do a crash at this speed. Back to the remote. The remote is not only nice looking with the high contrast display which offers you information about battery time, speed, range and efficiency (energy per kilometre), but also offers wireless charging and GPS.
The trottle is comfortable with its 1,000 points. It is waterproof and connected with a small leash to your wrist. When you want to start you hold the remote right next the sensor on the board. After a peep you have 5 seconds to pull the throttle. As I mentioned above, I set the gear to 3 or 4, hold the remote to the sensor, gave full trottle and the board accelerated to the perfect speed too lay on the board and go on your knees. After that I went to gear 7 to 8 in order to stand up and surf on the surface.
By going to 9 I had speed enough to start flying and than went back to 8 to enjoy a nice cruise above the water. This is easy to learn. Most people with some surfboard experience will stand up in seconds and fly within minutes.
Flite Box, Flite Cell and Wings
Another thing which is unique about the Fliteboard is that the propulsion, the onboard computer and mast are one unit out of anodised aluminium, which is connected to the board. You basically have the board, the battery and the Flite Box (where you attach either the Cruiser or Flyer Wings).
The Cruiser wings are good for easy and stable foiling while the Flyer wings are for fast speed and lighter riders. The IP67 waterproof batteries aka as Flite Cells are coming in 2 versions. The sport version with 30 AH and 8.75 kg and the Explore version with 42 AH and 11.5 kg. The latter one gives you more range.
Fliteboard review - Best electric hydrofoil?
I think it is safe to say that the entire team was stoked by the Fliteboard. Most of us paid the deposit and all were really looking forward to receive their own Fliteboard in the coming weeks. The price for the Fliteboard was around 9,000 EUR plus tax and shipping at the time.
We paid the amount in September 2018, but Fliteboard faced delays to ship. When we did not have the board in November 2018, we ordered a Lift eFoil as we did not want to wait longer. The Lift Foils board actually arrived just 2 weeks later and we started to practise on the eFoil. In January 2019 we got an ash wood Fliteboard (the one which was displayed at boot 2019). Unfortunately it came without battery and without remote as both components needed updates. When we in March 2019 still not received the battery and remote control we asked Fliteboard to take back the board as we were riding the eFoil from Lift since a 4 months and were very happy with it. Fliteboard accepted.
In summer 2019 we finally had the chance to ride the Fliteboard again for 2 weeks in Tarifa, Spain. Honestly, I was a little bit afraid that I would like the Fliteboard more than the Lift Foils board (at the time we already owned 2 eFoils and started to sell them through our shop). We had a lot of fun with the Fliteboard in Spain, but we still prefer the Lift Foils boards.
Again Flite has a great board. We found the wood design very appealing and also the functions of the remote control, but we like the Lift Foils eFoil more in daily use.
On the one hand there is the battery. Both batteries weigh approx. about the same, but while the Flite Cell is held by a nylon strap that causes pain in the hand after approx. 50 meters, the Lift battery has a very comfortable handle integrated into the battery. In addition, there are very sharp wings and a sharp aluminum mast at Flite, which caused us to be cut on the first day. We also found the connection cables to the battery to be more fragile at Flite and not as robust as with the Lift Foils. Overall, both are very good electro hydrofoil boards, but we like the eFoil more in daily use.
Feel free to discuss further in our forum.