Nearly ten years ago, Nick Leason set out on a mission to bring the experience of flight over water to as many people as possible. His company Lift has since introduced the world to the first self-propelled electric surfboard, or eFoil. “We’re opening up foilboarding to a wide demographic of people,” Nick says of Lift. “Imagine that you’ve never surfed before. Now you’ve purchased an eFoil and you can carve perfect turns as you glide above the surface of any body of water and connect with nature. It’s the best feeling in the world.” Nick and his team meticulously crafted each of the eFoil’s components so that riders of all skill levels can easily rise up on the hydrofoil and glide at speeds of 25 miles an hour and over.
The board and hydrofoil
The optimal foiling board has to tick a number of boxes: it has to be strong but light, stable but small in size, rigid but thin, fully sealed but accessible. The Lift team spent years perfecting a board that fits within all of these parameters, and now they’re leading the market. Lift’s hydrofoils and boards are made out of carbon fiber, the best possible material due to its strength, rigidity, minimal weight, and excellent feel in the water.
The eFoil’s custom Lithium battery pack is equipped with a sophisticated battery management system to meet the highest safety standards. As Nick explains, “All battery packs are not created equal, and ours is top of the food chain.” The battery is powered to carry riders at top speeds for an hour and only takes two hours for a full recharge.
Lift contracted the best motor engineer in the U.S. to build a machine that could efficiently convert electrical power to mechanical power, to keep riders moving smoothly through the water. “I’m still impressed by what our motor can do,” Nick says, “and how well it’s holding up to the elements.” The motor on Lift’s eFoil is designed to be an extension of the rider and, because it’s electric, there’s no delay from command to action. Leveraging the eFoil’s built-in computer, which is programmed to set the perfect accelerations, decelerations, and speed outlets, the rider gets unparalleled stability and control.
The wireless Bluetooth hand controller
Lift’s team had to solve for the fact that radio waves don’t travel through salt water and carbon fiber. “You’d think that there are many waterproof wireless hand controllers in the world capable of throttle control,” Nick says, “but there were none. We invented it, and it was a beast of a project!” By pressing the throttle on the eFoil’s wireless hand controller, riders control their ride’s speed; the motor automatically shuts down when the controller is released or hits the water. The Lift team made sure the controller displays speed settings, alerts, and battery charge percentages too.
The eFoil contains five “computers” with individual software, which all communicate and interact with each other. It all comes together to provide seamless control as the rider activates the power of flight.
By employing much of the same modern technology that’s used in other vehicles on the road, in the air, and on the water, Lift has not only pioneered a new sport but also a brand new, uniquely exhilarating experience. The journey from conception to mass production of the eFoil took a ton of work, but as Nick explains, “after almost a decade of tedious work and investment, things are taking off—literally.”