The Waydoo Flyer electric hydrofoil from China was first shown at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. At the time, we had the opportunity to see the eHydrofoil live and speak with CEO Dennis Zhu.
The Waydoo Flyer was developed in Shenzhen, China and was supposed to be commercially available in March 2019. However, according to our information, the first larger quantities were not delivered until 2020. Unfortunately, this is not a rarity in the eSurfboard industry. In fact, most electric surfboards come later than first announced.
Founder Denis Zhu is a wakeboarder and had founded a company in 2018 that develops aircraft and drones for agriculture in addition to the Waydoo Flyer electric hydrofoil surfboard. Although Waydoo doesn’t have a water sports background, they are relying on their experience in electronics and wing design from Fixed Wing Aircraft. Incidentally, the drone company DJI is an investor.
Waydoo’s first electric foils used a 6,000 W motor that was supposed to be good for 35 km/h. The lithium batteries with Samsung 18650 cells offered a runtime of 40-60 minutes. The charging time was 2 hours. The battery pack looked similar to the battery from the eFoil, but had no data connection. The two ports were for charging and connecting to the board.
The Waydoo Flyer is designed to be an easy-to-learn electric hydrofoil.Dennis Zhu, founder of Waydoo
The remote control had LED indicators to show battery charge and speed. The speed level could be controlled by 2 buttons (plus and minus) in addition to the throttle. This is similar to the virtual gears of the Fliteboard or the Lift eFoil. In general, the whole setup looked very similar to Fliteboard and Lift Foils. We were even shown prototype remote controls and asked which one we would prefer. One looked similar to Fliteboard and the other to Lift Foils. A rascal who thinks something evil 😉
Quality-wise, however, the boards looked cheaper. And indeed, there are many pictures of disappointed customers in the Facebook groups and forums. More on that below.
At CES 2019, 3 carbon fiber prototypes were shown. Two in black and one in white. We liked the black carbon fiber design much better, however dark boards heat up more easily in the sun. Therefore, we advise our customers to use light colored boards. The Flyer was shown with a GoPro mount on the nose of the board, which we thought was an interesting gimmick. Also unique was the fact that the mast could be removed with a quick release without tools.
The weight of the board was 17 kg without the battery (30 kg total) and could let riders fly up to 120 kg, according to Dennis. The length of the board was 186 cm, the width 72 cm and the thickness 18 cm. The price was originally listed as $4,999 in a press release, but according to Dennis and marketing manager Ted, this was a mistake. The price quoted to us was $7,999 USD. That’s a big difference.
A year later, we met the Waydoo team again at CES. Dennis was not there this time.
Most manufacturers of electric hydrofoils and electric surfboards exhibit at water sports shows like boot in Düsseldorf, Germany, as you can see in several articles on e-surfer. Waydoo was back in Vegas in 2020 and since many people are not yet familiar with eFoils, they got a lot of press attention. In 2021, CES was cancelled due to Corona.
CEO Dennis was not present in 2020 and his former marketing person had left the company, so we met a new team. The website was also changed from waydoo.io to waydootech.com.
While the Waydoo Flyer, which the team calls a flying surfboard, looked pretty much like a prototype in 2019, the boards looked more mature in 2020, and Waydoo claimed that they had started supplying customers in small quantities. They showed two models in 2020. The Waydoo Flyer and the Waydoo Flyer One.
Waydoo Flyer One on Kickstarter
Then in the summer of 2020, the Chinese company offered the Waydoo Flyer One via Kickstarter. Starting at 3,795 USD, the eFoil was available for the first backers. 502 customers signed up there, generating USD 2,357,029 for the manufacturer.
The Flyer One also has a 6 kW motor and is said to have a range of 55-85 minutes with a charging time of two hours. The remote control again looks very similar to that of Lift Foils and now also has a display. There are 24 speed levels to set and there is a GPS built in. Furthermore, two mast lengths are offered, as well as two wings. There is even an optional tube offered, as known from Jetsurf, which should make it easier for beginners to learn eFoiling.
Today you can read in the forums and Facebook groups that this was probably a fatal mistake. The company had sold an immature product in large quantities too quickly and is currently under enormous pressure. Most manufacturers start in small quantities to gather feedback from users first before selling large quantities. It is questionable whether they will recover from this at all. Buyers report many broken wings, bent masts, burning motors, breaking boards as well as leaking remote controls. The list is unfortunately quite long and you can see lots of photos in the forum.
Of course we would like to see cheaper eFoils as well, but the latest attempts by Takuma and Waydoo have once again shown that this new sport has its price. Cheap products turn out to be more expensive afterwards, at least for the moment. Because a cheap defective board is at the end of the day worth less than a premium board in higher price ranges, which is reliable.
Let’s hope that Waydoo still gets its act together and can fix the current defects soon.