Professional surfer Peter Mendia, of West Palm Beach, rides a WaveJet surfboard near the Lake Worth Pier. Mendia says the propulsion system allows him to spend less time paddling and more time riding waves.
Photos by Willie Howard/The Coastal Star
By Willie Howard
With Father’s Day approaching, consider a water-oriented gift for Dad — something that will help him get in shape, relax and soak up the sun.
We found the WaveJet propulsion surfboard system and other water-oriented toys at this year’s Palm Beach International Boat Show.
WaveJet boards offer the convenience of power thrust in a surfboard, body board or stand-up paddleboard.
Controlled by a Seatooth-enabled wristband, the WaveJet power pod provides up to 20 pounds of thrust and will run about 35 minutes continuously before it needs to be recharged. Because the motors are not typically in use all the time surfers or paddlers are in the water, that translates to about 90 minutes of surfing or paddling time.
It takes about three hours to charge the WaveJet power pod. The pod adds about 16 pounds to the weight of the board, but the weight is centered underfoot to ensure the boards are still maneuverable.
The power pod is turned on and off by a wireless wrist controller. It shuts down the WaveJet motors when the person wearing the wristband is more than 10 feet away.
When the surf was up at the Lake Worth Pier in March, professional surfer Peter Mendia of West Palm Beach demonstrated a 6½-foot WaveJet surfboard (a short board) by using the propulsion system to help him catch several waves.
The board’s thrust compensates for the extra weight of the power pod, Mendia said, noting that a blank power pod can be inserted to ride the board without power.
Mendia said having a powered surfboard allows him to reach prime waves that he wouldn’t otherwise reach. With the WaveJet system, Mendia said, he catches more waves and spends less time paddling.
“The more waves you catch, the happier you are,” he said.
When he wants to catch a wave in a hurry, Mendia said, he paddles and uses the board’s power at the same time.
“You’re hauling butt,” he said.
Prices for WaveJet boards range from $4,400 to $5,000 for a surfboard, bodyboard or stand-up paddleboard. The Power Pod can be moved from one type of WaveJet board to another, and all the boards can be used without power.
The WaveJet system is not recommended for surfers or board paddlers younger than 12. Because of the size of its lithium ion battery, the WaveJet power pod cannot be transported on a commercial airplane.
WaveJet boards come in 6.5-foot and 7.1-foot short surfboards, long boards ranging from 9 to 10 feet, longer stand-up paddleboards, short body boards and powered rescue boards for lifeguards.
The California-based company makes a fishing version of its paddleboard — the Hana Big EZ Angler Fishing SUP — that comes with anchor points, a Seamount system for attaching coolers and a lean-to seat.
For more information on WaveJet boards, go to www.wavejet.com.
Other gift ideas for Dad
People sitting in Airchairs are literally hanging out. They’re suspended from ropes that can be hung from tree limbs, a porch overhang or a supporting structure on a boat. Built in New York, Airchairs range in price from $140 for the original version to $900 for a love seat with a supporting arch. Footrests, magazine holders and drink holders are available. Learn more at www.airchair.net. Willie Howard/The Coastal Star
Bluewater’s popular, smooth-riding 23t center console fishing boat, built in Fort Pierce, sells for around $80,000 with one engine and for under $100,000 with twin outboards. The ‘t’ stands for tournament edition, meaning it’s set up more as a fishing boat than the more family-oriented Bluewater 2350. Features include a 50-gallon circular live well, a transom door and insulated fish boxes. Prices vary depending on options. Bluewater’s offshore boats range in size from 21.5 to 35 feet. The company also builds inshore fishing boats. Learn more at www.bluewaterboats.com. Photo provided
The Ranger 27 tug is a trailerable trawler — a relatively slow, comfortable boat designed for long-distance cruising. The diesel-powered R-27 on display was offered for $178,814. Built in Kent, Wash., Ranger Tugs are available in sizes from 21 to 31 feet. Learn more at www.rangertugs.com. Photo provided
Fat Sand cruiser bikes feature oversized tires for riding on beach sand. They’re available in many versions, from the basic single-speed cruiser ($699) to the three-speed ($749) the 16-speed Ultimate Beast Cruiser ($1,899). The titanium-framed 16-speed version sells for $2,995. The company also offers electric-powered and children’s versions. Learn more at www.fatsandbikes.com. Willie Howard/The Coastal Star