The Waterwolf electric surfboard is developed in Germany. It is the only e-surfboard which is using a propeller instead of a jet propulsion. CEO Markus Schilcher was already thinking 1983 about a motorised surfboard. Other than Inigo from Onean who wanted to surf without wind, Markus wanted to resolve a different problem. He had difficulties to catch the waves when he was going to surf in Biarritz once a year. His idea was that the motor would help him to get the waves.
The first Waterwolf prototype
In 2009 Markus was an engineer but was still struggling with the same problem and started to think about mounting an electric motor to his surfboard. In his garage he was working in different prototypes and finally found out that the board would have enough power that actually no waves would be needed. The idea of the Waterwolf was born. An electric surfboard that everyone could ride on any lake or river. And of course a board which Markus could ride on the lakes of Bavaria himself. His company logo became “Make your own waves”. 2013 Markus dropped his main job in order to develop his dream full-time.
It takes 2 – 3 years to get from a prototype to a mass product so the Waterwolf MPX-3 was sold first time in 2016. MPX stands for “motorised propeller drive unit” A few people have the concern that the big propeller could be dangerous for the rider and others. As mentioned above all other e-surfboards are using a jet engine where the impeller is completely inside and cannot hurt anyone.
I (the author of the article) used to own a Waterwolf MPX-3. It was my first E-Surfer and I felt not in danger by the propeller which is protected by a duct. In theory there is always something which can happen, but I felt safe. I had the security leash in my hand so I always could stop the motor right away. And by the way the other unique feature is actually that the MPX-3 is not using a remote control, but has a know on the top of the board to adjust the speed. So it was easy to hold the leash in my hand.
The missing remote control, was neither an issue. Mainly because the Waterwolf has a maximum speed of 28 km/h. So you would ride full speed anyways. In 2018 Waterwolf introduced a bluetooth watch to control the speed for people who still want a remote. And this remote on your wrist is also a second safety mechanism as the motor will stop once it looses the connection to the board.
The propeller has also a few advantages and this is why Markus is betting on these. At first a propeller is more efficient and needs less battery power. That’s a big advantage. In addition the mounted propeller is not at the end of the surfboard. Instead it is placed almost below the feet of the rider. This makes it easier to turn and therefore riding the Waterwolf e-surfboard is closer to the traditional surfing than any other jetboard. Markus told us he spend a lot of time to figure out the right position of the propeller.
The lack of power, especially for riders above 85 kg, is however a problem and the German electric surfboard would need some upgrades in future in order to serve heavier riders. For 2019 Markus Schilcher is planning to scale his production and make further improvements in terms of power in order to address his issues above. We usually meet him a few times a year and he mentioned that he is even considering an electric hydrofoil option, which could be mounted to the Waterwolf.
If you have further questions about the Waterwolf, please raise them in our electric surfboard forum.