I’ve been trying to ride this electric hydrofoil board for over an hour now, and have been bleeding for nearly half that time. The open wounds are on my hand, inflicted after the electric jet propulsion motor shot me and the eFoil board up and out of the water, and we splashed back down in a jumble of wet limbs, metal, and carbon fiber.

I don’t know what part of the board hit me this time. It’s hard to keep track of which fall has whacked which body part. I float for a moment, panting, hand bleeding, toes, knees, and elbows bruised. Then all I want to do is pull myself back up on the board again.

The appeal of an eFoil is probably obvious: It’s a small, self-contained watercraft similar to a short surfboard, but with an electric hydrofoil underneath that propels you at up to 30 mph. The motor is mounted on a mast below the water and has fins attached to its sides. When that motor engages, the board pops up out of the water, gliding a foot or so above the surface for a smooth ride that feels like flying. Efoils surged into prominence a few years ago, when Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg became the unfortunate pasty face of the product after he was photographed riding one. Now the industry is growing, and companies are offering more ways to let you soar over the water than ever.

The Flitescooter.

Photograph: Flite

Flite is an Australian company with several eFoil models in its lineup priced between $7,000 and $17,500. Flite wants to make these flying surfboards more accessible to beginners, which is where its $12,995 Flitescooter comes in. This beginner-oriented model was introduced at CES in January 2023. Flite has positioned it as an easy-to-learn device that’s ideal for resorts, yacht goers, and families.

Flite wants you to think of the Flitescooter as a kind of Segway of the sea—an easily mounted surf-skimming device that will appeal to beginners and water-sport mavericks alike. It’s meant to be a fun, chill time, but in my experience, the Flitescooter is not exactly smooth sailing. In fact, the Flitescooter smoothly tumbled me into the water repeatedly as I struggled to get used to riding it.

The Flitescooter’s inflatable platform has a carbon-fiber core, a design which aids both buoyancy and portability. The foils, stem, and board can all be disassembled to make transit simpler. A removable handle that resembles the handlebar of an electric kick scooter ostensibly makes it simpler to control, though I found that the handle didn’t always make things easier. (More on that in a moment.) Inflated and assembled, the Flitescooter weighs 61.7 pounds by itself. Flite offers three battery sizes, which come in 13-, 24-, and 32-pound options. So it’s more transportable than a jet ski, but harder to lug around than a surfboard.

The rectangular batteries are swappable; they snap into the board’s core just beneath your feet. Flite says the battery for the hydrofoil lasts around an hour and a half before needing a recharge. I rode it for nearly that long, and the battery got down below 20 percent, so the company’s estimate feels right.

The removable handlebars have a throttle and a display.

Photograph: Flite

The electric jet motor powers the hydrofoil action.

Photograph: Flite

Flite’s foilboards have a variety of propulsion options, from spinning propellers to jet engines. Flite’s latest foray into its motor tech is the AMP Jet, which is built directly into a newly designed board. That model is sadly not available for testing yet. The Flitescooter, one of several Flite models you can already buy and the one I rode, only comes with Flite’s existing jet motor. The jet engine on the Flitescooter is fully encased, so there’s no danger of losing any digits to a spinning propeller. That said, the fins on the sides of the hydrofoil are sharp and wide, so it takes some mindfulness to avoid kicking them when splashing around—or falling. Which you’ll be doing a lot.

I’ll pause here to offer the teensiest of credentials. I’ve wakeboarded, surfed, snowboarded, and lounged around on paddle boards. I’m by no means a watersports expert, but I’m at least decent at keeping my balance on these kinds of fancy rafts. Despite that, whatever kraken had apparently chosen to possess my Flitescooter clearly wanted to keep me down in the deep.

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