Imagine Marty McFly’s hoverboard dropping in on “Point Break.”
Last month, Kai Lenny, a professional big wave surfer from Maui, took a motorized surfboard out on Jaws, the monster Hawaiian surf break -- and lived to tell about it, marking a new era in the sport of surfing.
The surfboard, called the ProRace, is made by Czech-based company JetSurf. It comes with a 100cc two-stroke combustion engine, weighs less than 30 pounds (qualifying it as checked luggage when traveling) and can go as fast as 35 mph.
The ProRace has been used in smaller waves and in rivers and lakes for wakeboarding, but Lenny's ride was the first the ProRace was used on such a big wave. Philipp Wolf, spokesperson for JetSurf, said in a statement that the ProSurf model is intended for competitive and professional use in JetSurf races, but Lenny explained to HuffPost that it wouldn’t be legal in any surfing competitions such as the World Surf League.
“It takes the hardest parts of surfing out, catching the wave, really having to use your board and fins to create momentum on the waves,” Lenny said.
JetSurf says the ProSurf can run for an hour on a full tank of gas, which, according to Lenny, is more than enough time.
“I can barely ride it for an hour. It’s like riding a big wave for that long. You’re going so fast across the water, and your legs hold up your entire body. You don’t realize it until you get on it, your legs really have to keep your body over this thing, because it’s going so fast and you’re all this drag up above. It’s insane.”
Because it's motorized, the ProSurf essentially matches the functionality of a Jet-Ski pulling a surfer into a big wave. This frees up surfers to set up wherever they want, including in monster waves without the help of a tow-in.
But increased flexibility and independence for surfers isn't all. In addition to big wave surfing, Lenny says, "You can race it on flat water with 10 guys and feel like you’re on a motorcycle."
“It has so much potential to go in so many different directions,” Lenny told HuffPost. "The sky's the limit."