The Ripsnorter Jetboard is the latest electric surfboard from Torque Jetboard. We interviewed CEO Dean Jarrett about the new board line up and how COVID-19 has impacted his business so far.
At first some words from Dean about his new board: The Torque Ripsnorter Jetboard is an advanced model with the E-Tec electronics which is a smart system that controls the power output ratio at different sections of the ride, allowing for much longer ride times. It is smaller with a V shaped hull allowing for more precision and hard turns. The key ignition safety mechanism is more convenient than the safety magnet and wireless remote system. Just plug in the key and the boards power is ready to go.
TORQUE RIPSNORTER JETBOARD E-TEC SYNC specs:
- Length – 168cm
- Width – 58cm
- Height – 15cm
- Weight - 17 kg for the Board and 35 kg total with battery
- Power – 4.4KW or 8.8KW
- Speed – 43-47km/h
- Battery – Lithium Ion 2 x 48v
- Battery Usage – 40mins – 1 hour
- Battery charging case and storage case.
- Charging – 2 hours normal – 4/5 hours balance charge
- Key Ignition safety key remote
The Mongrel will be also upgraded to the E-Tec system (Mongrel II) which will be a larger model than the Ripsnorter E-Tec. With the larger volume, the board will be more buoyant, easier to ride and the ride times will be longer than any other board. The Xtream will be put on hold until we test the Mongrel II with the E-Tec electronics.
The current Torque Jetboard models are:
The first Torque Electric Surfboard – Interview with CEO Dean Jarrett was more than 2 years ago, but we also had a chance to interview him in January 2020 at boot in Dusseldorf. See the video interview below:
Interview with Dean Jarret:
Given COVID-19 and the fact that he also released an additional board we reached out to Dean for some updates. These where our questions:
When was the 2020 model delivered and how many do you plan to ship by end of 2020?
The Ripsnorter E-Tec is now selling in Asia. The European shipment is being loaded and sent to our distributor Yoann in France. He will receive the boards mid-June 2020.
In 2020 what do you expect to be the ratio between electric and petrol powered boards?
The Electric boards are starting to pick up popularity as the technology is evolving and the manufacturers are making inroads on how to develop products that are powerful and with the necessary endurance of the battery. These 2 points make the boards firstly much more fun, and also cheaper. If the batteries last longer, there is no need to buy too many extra packs. And the extra packs are now becoming much more affordable, close to 1,000 EUR makes the market sector larger.
Our petrol model has had delays, with one of the main mold and tooling partners stopping his current product lines to produce PPE equipment. The larger orders for the PPE certainly outweighs our smaller parts orders. The virus is winning.
Do you feel an impact due to COVID-19?
I am sure everyone felt the impact of the horrible virus. It has affected our product in ways we do not want to see happen again. Some of our suppliers have become bankrupt, with orders still in the pipeline. Some accessories and parts had to change partners and start from the beginning again. Our main investor has also had to release some shares to another group to continue the new model. It has been a challenge and with the loss of old partners and the introduction of new partners, we will continue to strive forward.
Is the 2020 portfolio set or will you launch new products this year?
The new Ripsnorter E-Tec Sync is currently being launched. Towards the end of the year, we hope to see the launch of the Ripsnorter 2-stroke model.
The Mongrel will be upgraded to the E-Tec system allowing for very long ride times. The Mongrel is larger in volume than the Ripsnorter E-Tec, so the high powered motor will not be needed to reach similar speeds, resulting in less power being used by the system. From calculations, we should go close to 1 hour continuous ride times, with beginners and rentals being able to use a board for longer than 1 hour.
What is the next product on your roadmap?
We are discussing a few options with investors, but have not come to any solid conclusions as yet. Ideas are including bodyboard/jetboard combined, jet fishing kayak, rescue boards.
Our recent research showed that some countries such like Switzerland, Canada and parts of Southern Germany have banned electric surfboards and eFoils. Most countries though seem to allow them, but users need to register them and carry a plate with a unique number from the local authorities. Do you have any additional data from other parts of the world?
In Australia is some states classify the boards as surfboards, as they do not have any steering mechanism. There is no license or rules needed, they just ask common sense is to be used, the same as riding a surfboard. I have heard through my French distributor that the new rules have been decided on the Jet Boards for EU or well maybe some parts of EU, that the boards under 4.6KW or 6HP, do not need a license.
How many resellers do you have worldwide and are they spread about all continents?
I currently have our main acting EU distributor in France, and I would be interested to include 2 new locations for distributors for the EU to assist with order quantities. Yoaan in France is doing a great job, and France is a good market, but it is difficult to cover all of EU in the few months for the summer period. In the US, I have Scott Myers in California and Nevada, around the South Tahoe Lake area, Mark House & Alex Fenwick in Australia. We will move to South Africa soon, so we are expanding and growing.
What do you think about electric hydrofoils?
Yes, I like them, I think they are cool toys for the water. I have half-finished a model that I am just have not got to complete. I feel many customers are now using the foils as they use less power, the battery ride usage is longer and therefore has become a cheaper option than jetboarding. Now the Ripsnorter E-Tec with the longer battery usage is competing with the cheaper foil options available. I am a surfer, and rather be on the water, but both are cool.
By when do you think the price of a premium electric surfboard like yours will be around 5,000 USD?
If I sold them directly out of the factory I can sell them under USD5000 now. Then you would have to add in shipping and duty taxes etc. Having distributors assist with marketing, after-sales service, and offer products in stock is a much wiser option. Our factory-direct prices once added on the air freight charges and the duties are basically the same as the distributor's prices. They obtain this by purchasing in larger quantities and shipping by vessel.
Thanks to Dean for his time to answer our questions. For questions and feedback please visit our forum.