eFoiling vs Jetboarding: comparing two thrilling watersports

By David Trewern

Using a board to harness the power of waves has been a sure-fire way for thrills for a long time. Adding a sail or kite came later and gave us more options when the waves just weren’t breaking right. But now technology gives us even more ways to experience thrills on the water, whether it’s a lake or river, a flat ocean or even waves too big to paddle onto. Both eFoiling and Jetboarding add propulsion to the board for self-powered riding, but they do it in completely different ways. Whether you’re considering powering up your ride, or just curious about the differences, we’ll compare the two.

Riding experience

eFoiling uses an electric powered hydrofoil board that glides above the water's surface. Because the board itself doesn’t sit on the surface of the water, it’s a smooth and tranquil ride. No chop or slapping across ripples, just soaring speed and smooth turns. eFoiling still requires a focus on balance and control, but the near silent ride gives you a deeper connection with the beauty of the surrounding environment. eFoil riders can choose to explore the coast or along lakes and rivers, but they can also use the boards to surf waves, powering on then cutting the electric motor and letting the swell take over. In any setting it’s a serene and almost futuristic experience.

Jetboarding, on the other hand, involves riding a motorised surfboard equipped with a powerful fossil fuel running engine. It’s a dynamic and fast-paced ride, allowing riders to carve through the water with speed and agility whether the waves are breaking perfectly or not. Jetboarding is closer in setup and feeling to conventional surfing and emphasises manoeuvrability, sharp turns, and an intense adrenaline rush. A Jetboard means you’re able to catch waves that are too hard to paddle onto, but keep in mind the extra weight isn’t ideal for big wave riding and a Jetboard lost to a huge reef break costs a lot more to replace than your prized big wave surfboard.

Equipment and technology

eFoils are propelled by an electric motor, powered by a rechargeable battery. They feature a hydrofoil which is beneath the water's surface, providing lift and stability. The technology focuses on efficiency, quiet operation, and environmental friendliness. eFoil equipment typically includes the board, hydrofoil, battery, motor, and a handheld remote control.

Jetboards are powered by a gasoline engine, similar to a jetski. They have a built-in propulsion system that propels the board through the water at high speeds. Jetboard technology emphasises power, speed, and agility. Jetboards typically come with a control unit, throttle, and various performance features.

Skill level and learning curve

eFoiling is considered accessible to riders of varying skill levels. Beginners can quickly grasp the basics of balance and control, thanks to stability enhancements and adjustable speed settings. However, mastering advanced techniques may require practice and experience.

Jetboarding requires a higher skill level and more surfing experience due to the speed and manoeuvrability involved. It often takes time to develop the necessary skills to control the board effectively, navigate turns, and handle the powerful engine. Beginners may benefit from professional instruction to learn proper technique and safety practices.

Choosing between eFoiling and Jetboarding ultimately depends on personal preference, desired experience, and skill level. eFoils and Jetboards offer distinct watersport experiences, each with its own appeal and excitement. eFoiling provides a serene yet fast and adrenaline pumping futuristic glide above the water, focusing on balance and control. It’s been described as a mix of snowboarding and flying. Jetboarding delivers a fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled ride with sharp turns and impressive manoeuvrability similar to surfing.

Regardless of your choice, both eFoiling and Jetboarding offer thrilling experiences that will leave you with unforgettable memories on the water. So embrace the watersport that resonates with you (or better yet try both!), and prepare for an exhilarating adventure like no other.