Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Brief History of Motorised Surfboards

It's sunny, not the time to write about snowboarding, here's a look at vintage powered surfboards...

Circa 1935 

That photo looks a bit touched-up but here are a few other pictures of it on Bondi Beach.

via Surf Research 


Hollywood inventor Joe Gilpin riding his motorized surfboard, like a boss.

Circa 1960
Legendary surfboard pioneer Hobart "Hobie" Alter had a go and whacked an outboard motor on one of his surfboards.

Then this happened...
Marineland Florida's porpoise-powered surfboard

The Jetboard. Conceived by Alfred Bloomingdale, heir to the Bloomingdale Department Store fortune, who liked to surf, but didn’t like to paddle. The hulls of the boards were made by an aeronautical company, they cost $1700 new and only 200 were made.


The speed was controlled by the dial on the side and it had a magnetic leash, so if the surfer takes a spill, the leash would detach and kill the engine. 

Also in 1965 (Because motorised surfboards were going off-the-hook that year)

Car customiser George Barris, the guy that designed and built the original Batmobile and KITT amongst other things, got in on the action with this..

He built his powered surfboard to go along with the amusingly named Surf Woody

Half a century later and you still don't see these things all over the place, but it doesn't stop people trying to reinvent the wheel. Here's what you can get these days if you've got $12,500 to spare.

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