Motorised Surfboards

There is a long history of the motorised surfboards which got documented way back to the 1930s. Many talented people tried to find an alternative if there are no waves or wind. Here is a brief overview.

How it started

Many talented people have tried to find an alternative when there are no waves or no wind. Here is a brief overview:

In 1935, the Surf Scooter appeared in an Australian newspaper where lifeguards were testing the surfboard on Bondi Beach in Australia. According to some sources, it had been developed five (!) years earlier, marking the beginning of the history of motorized surfboards in 1930.


In 1938, Emil Hansen from Pennsylvania presented his Scimboat. It was more of a boat than a surfboard, although the size was similar. It had a top speed of 30 mph or 48 km/h, powered by a 7.5 hp propeller drive. The propeller was mounted on the front of the board for safety reasons, but also had a magnetic kill switch. The weight of the aluminum boards was 120 pounds or 54 kg.


In 1948, Joe Gilpin showed off his motorized board. This guy certainly had style when he rode his motorized surfboard in a suit with a walking stick and cigar. However, the motorboard prototype never went into series production.


In 1960, the well-known surfer, surfboard manufacturer and inventor of the Hobie Cat catamaran Hobart presented motorized surfboards. He also invented a motorized skateboard. What a talented guy!

Hobie -motorisierte Surfboards
Hobie - motorised surfboards

First motorised surfboards in series production

In 1965, Bloomingdales department stores launched the first commercially available motorised surfboard - they called it the Jet Surfboard. At around USD 1,700, it was quite expensive by the standards of the time, but 200 were produced and sold. Here's the kicker: USD 1,700 is equivalent to a purchasing power of USD 17,277 today - this is the price for premium eFoils and jetboards:-)

Bloomingdales Jet-surfboard
Bloomingdales Jet-surfboard

In the same year, George Carter developed his Surfjet. His company existed under the name "Wild Thing Watercraft" until 1998, when it went bankrupt.


George Barris also presented his motorised surfboard, which actually had a seat. In 1973, North Hants Engineering launched its Skidaddle surfboard, which was powered by a 157 cc engine.

Skidaddle und andere frühe motorisierte Surfboards
Skidaddle and other early motorised surfboards

In the 1980s, honeycomb surfboard manufacturer Neil Townsend launched his Aquajet onto the market. A propeller-driven surfboard. Various inventors also developed petrol-powered surfboards in the 1980s.

In Berlin, there was even the "Berliner Moto-Surf Club", which used its motorized surfboards on the Wannsee near Berlin. We found two of these boards in Waterrebels' garage.

Skidaddle und andere frühe motorisierte Surfboards
Berliner Moto-Surf Club


In the 90s, Bob Montgomery launched his Powerski jetboard, which had quite a lot of power. It was quite an impressive board - but unfortunately it didn't survive.

Powerski Jetboard
Powerski Jetboard

The information so far has been supported by Wayne at Jetboard Limited (now E-SURFER Spain). Wayne has a whole collection of classic motorized surfboards (very very cool!).

The breakthrough of motorised surfboards

The first company to successfully bring motorized surfboards to the market was Jetsurf from the Czech Republic. They started developing powerful, lightweight combustion engines for racing in 1994 and are still the leader in gasoline-powered surfboards and host of the Jetsurf World Cup.

Today, Jetsurf is still one of the leading manufacturers in the "motorised surfboard" sector. Although the focus is still on petrol-powered jetboards, electric models are now also being added.

Electric surfboards

The first electric surfboards were Onean, Lampuga and Waterwolf. Onean probably sold the most electric surfboards in the early jetboard days. Unfortunately Onean went bankrupt in 2023.

Motorisierte Surfboards - motorised surfboards
Onean CEO Inigo riding the Carver X

The original electric surfboard company Lampuga also went bankrupt back in 2017, but the assets were bought by an investor and Lampuga launched completely new models in 2020.

The Waterwolf was the only motorized surfboard that used a propeller, while all other motorized surfboards used jet engines. It could only get riders under 85 kg gliding, but was very close to the feeling of surfing. Unfortunately, Waterwolf no longer exists.

We recorded this video for the E-SURFER YouTube channel in 2017:

Motorised Surfboards - Waterwolf

Radinn from Sweden was also an early player in the jetboard market. After the Wakejet, they came up with models such as the Carve, Freeride and X-Sport. But Radinn also had to close its doors in 2023.

2019 promised to be an exciting year for motorised surfboards. Lampuga had just started mass production and many more e-surfboards were set to come onto the market this year. And not to forget: the eFoils! The first manufacturer to deliver electric hydrofoils in small volumes was Lift Foils.

In 2019, Fliteboard from Australia also launched the eFoil on the market. Also announced were VeCarve from Canada, Cabratec from the Czech Republic, E-Takuma from Takuma Concepts, Jetfoiler from Kai Concepts, Waviator from Germany, ElDoRiDo from the Czech Republic and who knows what other brands. We also saw cheaper electric hydrofoils such as Waydoo and Hoverstar, which emerged from China. Unfortunately, many of these manufacturers no longer exist.

Motorised Surfboards - Current models

You can find the current motorised surfboard models in our store and on our E-Surfer YouTube channel. Since 2021, eFoils have overtaken jetboards.

In 2022, Aerofoils launched the Audi e-tron Foil on the market. Aerofoils is a spin-off of Audi AG. It was the first eFoil with a jet drive instead of a propeller. In the meantime, other manufacturers have also introduced jet propulsion.

Andreas von E-SURFER auf dem Audi eFoil
Andreas from E-SURFER on the Audi eFoil

The jetfoiler (which was already announced in 2018 with jet propulsion) is due to arrive in 2024. We were already able to ride a prototype in Berlin in 2023.


2024 will probably be the year of the scooter. In other words, motorised surfboards with handlebars. These scooters are intended to appeal to and reach a whole new target group.

At boot 2024, you could see seven manufacturers with eFoil scooters. These included Aerofoils with the HyperFly and Fliteboard with the Flitescooter.

Jetsurf also showcased a jetboard with a handlebar in the form of the Electric Jet Ski. So, there's never a dull moment when it comes to motorised surfboards! We'll stay on the ball!

If you are not sure which board you should buy, visit our test center in Berlin. Make an appointment online by filling out our contact form.
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