SUSTAINABILITY

IMAGE: Lampuga GmbH

Lampuga: Riding the electric wave

January 6, 2021

Watersports, on the face of it, seem the kind of healthy outdoor activities that should be as good for the planet as they are for us. But whenever they involve a combustion engine, they inevitably become just as damaging as any other activity involving a petrol or diesel-powered vehicle. In fact, during their jet ski campaign, environmental group Blue Water Network (now merged with Friends of the Earth) said that running a two-stroke motor on a jet ski for one hour causes as much hydrocarbon pollution as a 5,000-mile car journey—and that as much as 25% of its fuel fails to combust, flushing out into the water and damaging marine biodiversity. But now there’s a new, fun but just as potentially environmentally damaging kid on the block: the jetboard.

 

 

IMAGE: Lampuga GmbH

Jetboarding: An Easier Way to Surf the Wave (And the Flat)

 

A jetboard is a motorised surfboard, so no wind or waves are required to participate meaning they can be used on lakes and rivers, as well as out at sea. The speed is usually controlled via a handheld remote control, but direction remains very much in the control of the rider, using the transfer of their body weight to steer the board.

 

This innovative board makes surfing more instant and accessible. There’s no need to paddle—you just start up your board and go—and control is easier, shortening the lengthy learning process and allowing you to quickly get to the fun stuff! So it’s little wonder that this watersport has quickly become popular, and that jetboards are increasingly a must-have yacht accessory.

 

The problem is that it’s also a watersport filled with boards powered by those pesky two-stroke engines that are damaging the environment. The solution, of course, to ensuring people can enjoy this great outdoor activity in a sustainable way is the usual solution to greening any motorised watersport: going electric! In the case of jetboarding, that means turning to electric jetboard experts Lampuga.

 

 

IMAGE: Lampuga GmbH

Lampuga’s Mission

 

The original Lampuga company was founded in 2011 by Sashay GmbH, but after they ran into financial troubles, the Lampuga name and the company's assets were taken over by the Weisenburger Group. Lampuga GmbH was founded in 2017 at a new base in Southern Germany, with CEO Nicolai Weisenburger at the helm, and Alexander Pick came on board in 2019 as Managing Director of Sales and Marketing. This new company had fresh ideas, different technology, and a growing realisation that surfing, while a great sport, isn't appropriate for everyone and is hard to master for many people.

 

The team decided they needed to change that, and now, their mission is simple: “We want to provide the surfing experience to all riders regardless of experience-level, age or physique.”

 

However, they have another mission: sustainability. So they’ve provided that inclusive surfing experience by using innovative technological solutions to produce high performance, electrically driven jetboards that are suitable for all riders—and won’t damage the planet.

 

 

IMAGE: Lampuga GmbH

Lampuga’s Boards

 

Lampuga’s jetboards are designed and produced in Rastatt, near Baden-Baden, made entirely in the company’s own factory to ensure they meet the high-quality standards the company have set.

 

Both of Lampuga’s models are easy to use, cheap to run, super quiet and environmentally friendly. They can also be assembled in just 5 minutes!

 

The Air

 

The Air is an inflatable electric jetboard, making it easy to store and transport, whatever the size of your car (or your personal carrying capacity, if you're feeling really strong!). This means it can be started instantly when it's in water of at least 50cm depth, with no need to paddle it out to deep water. It also means it will float as you put your weight on it, enabling you to stand, sit or lie on it and find your balance before accelerating (at a mere pootle, if that's all you want or can handle. Once you can stand on a jetboard—a skill most people quickly acquire—you are good to go!

 

 

 

IMAGE: Lampuga GmbH

These features may not seem a big deal until you consider how they change the novice's surfing experience. Waves are a big issue for novice conventional surfers. They have to be big enough for conventional surfing to be possible at all, but incoming waves make the already difficult-to-acquire skill of paddling a board out to deep water even tougher to master. Then, novices must learn how to actually get on the board; difficult with waves buffeting them, and with a board inclined to sink the minute they try. And to get any fun from the surfing experience, surfers must learn how to stand up and manoeuvre their board to catch a wave—otherwise it won't move! Even users of conventionally powered jetboards encounter some of these issues. Standard jetboards are usually solid, meaning they too will sink easily as a rider tries to climb on. This means they can't be cruised at low speeds either, but need to be moving at pace, whether a novice rider is ready for that experience or not!

 

IMAGE: Lampuga GmbH

This is why electric jetboards, and Lampuga's inflatable Air in particular, are so much easier to use and quicker to provide enjoyment than either a conventional surfboard or a petrol-powered jetboard. And that’s what makes this model very user-friendly for people of all ages, abilities, and experience and fitness levels, and for a variety of activities, whatever their pace.

 

The speed with which people can learn to handle the Air was very useful to the producers of the German TV series “WaPo Bodensee” (WaPo is short for ‘Wasserschutzpolizei’--Water Police). They wanted their actors to use Air boards in an episode of the series. With guidance from the Lampuga team, the actors were able to learn how to handle the board with enough proficiency to shoot the scene on Lake Constance the same day!

 

 

IMAGE: Lampuga GmbH

Its unique two-part design provides great balance, stability and control. There are five handles and a non-slip grip pad centre, and the handheld remote control makes it easy to regulate your speed. The robust hull is made of double-layer PVC, and the plug-and-play battery system makes recharging or changing of the battery a breeze.

 

With its 10 KW/14-horsepower electric motor, the Air can achieve speeds of up to 50 km/h, and it comes in seven colours—so one is bound to match your yacht!

 

IMAGE: Lampuga GmbH

The Rescue

 

The aptly named Rescue is designed for the simple, effortless operation you need when in a coastal rescue situation. Quick to deploy, this electric jetboard combines speed and stability. Its inflatable, sturdy hull means it can provide a buoyant platform from which to assist people in distress, giving them a stable point to cling to and presenting less risk of injury to them than a solid board might.

 

Due to its jet propulsion and its low draught, the board can be used in shallow waters with a depth of 50 cm. Its non-slip grip pad centre helps the rider stay in place as they aid, and its seven handles make securing and transporting safety equipment easy.

 

Like the Air, the Rescue has a 10 KW/14-horsepower electric motor, a maximum speed of 50 km/h and a simple plug-and-play battery system. But unlike the Air, it’s only available in one colour: a practical bright yellow that allows it to be more easily seen at a distance or in dim conditions.

 

The Rescue was recently used by Infinite Watertoys, who were responsibly for providing safety precautions at the Mercantourman XTREM Triathlon on the 26th and 27th of September. They praised its performance and efficiency.

IMAGE: Lampuga GmbH

Batteries and Features

 

Lampuga’s jetboards both use a 3.6 kWh lithium-ion battery, which provides around 45 minutes of riding time, depending on the driving style, weight and experience of the rider and on weather conditions. Lampuga’s plug-and-play battery system means the battery can be simply and quickly removed and changed, and it takes roughly 120 minutes to fully charge from a 230-volt outlet. An LED display on the battery’s top side displays the charge level.

 

The electric motor powered when the battery is inserted into the board’s battery compartment and the power button on the battery is pressed, and it has a water-cooling system to ensure it runs at optimal pressure. Acceleration is provided by a jet drive that sucks in water; this water is accelerated by an impeller to create a powerful jet that’s forced out at the board’s stern, creating a thrust of over 50kg. Having an internal impeller rather than an exposed propeller, which could cause injury to a falling rider, other people in the vicinity or even marine life, makes these boards extra safe and eco-friendly, while also offering a significant performance edge.

 

 

IMAGE: Lampuga GmbH

The hand-held remote control controls the board via Bluetooth and is attached to a handle, tethered to the board, providing superior stability and control for the rider. More experienced riders can opt to detach the remote control and do without the stability of the handle.

 

The boards have overcharge, short-circuit and overcurrent protection, and for extra safety, there’s also a magnetic kill switch located at the back of every Lampuga board. Connected to the rider’s ankle via a safety cord, it ensures that if the rider falls off and the connection is broken, the motor is turned off immediately.

 

Detachable fins in black with a patented click-in system are supplied with every board, as is a repair kit for the inflatable hull.

 

 

IMAGE: Lampuga GmbH

Award-Winning Design

 

Not surprisingly, Lampuga’s boards have won awards for their innovative design.

 In 2018, the Air jetboard won an award in the Sport-Recreation category at the annual Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design GOOD DESIGN® Awards, which recognises the most innovative and cutting-edge industrial, product, and graphic designs produced around the world. Design professionals and leading industry specialists assessed the Air for its concept, design, technology and sustainability.

 

In 2019, after being judged by 40 international design experts on its innovation, functionality, quality and durability, ergonomics, product periphery and ecological compatibility, the Lampuga Air was awarded the prestigious Red Dot Design Award in no less than three different categories. It won in the Sports Equipment category and Ships/Trains/Planes category, and went on to win the Red Dot Award for the Best of the Best in the Hobby & Leisure category—an award reserved for ground-breaking design.

 

And the company’s success has continued this year, with the Air model winning the iF DESIGN AWARD in the Product category—beating around 7,300 products from 56 countries to win the coveted prize—and the INTERNATIONAL DESIGN AWARD (IDA) in the Outdoor and Exercise Equipment/Sports/Toys/Games categories.

 

These accolades are well-deserved and a great boost for a company looking to take its success global.

 

 

IMAGE: Lampuga GmbH

IMAGE: Lampuga GmbH

Lampuga’s boards are quiet, so they won’t disturb fellow water-lovers, be they bird, beast or human—and because you can use them at very low speeds, you can drift along the waterways without startling any wildlife, either, so you can get really up close to nature. And you can do that safe in the knowledge that your board won’t damage the natural environment, as they produce no emissions or pollutants to poison the air, water, shoreline or riverbank. Couple this with their ability to operate on the stillest of lakes and you have a watersport that’s just as suitable for wildlife lovers, curious explorers and ecotourists as it is for adrenaline junkies heading to the sea to search out the biggest waves.

 

In short, a Lampuga jetboard offers you all the tranquil possibilities of stand-up paddle boarding and the speed and excitement of a surfboard, all rolled into one. Who could resist?

 

 

 

Find out more about Lampuga's German-made emission-free electric surfboards by visiting:

 

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