You already know that there are two main options involving human mobility: electric and gas-powered vehicles. Automobile market leader manufacturers, as BMW, Toyota or Volkswagen, who have always been selling gasoline vehicles, are completely changing their business model, and have started launching new electrical automobiles in order to complement their range of models. On the contrary, there are other new players such as Tesla or Polestar which only manufacture electric vehicles.
Electric mobility is a reality, not only in cars but in all other vehicles. This is what happens in our industry, the jetboard industry. You probably have found pure electric or gasoline powered surfboard manufacturers, or even brands that manufacture both of them. The market is full of choices. The reality is that customers rarely know which is the best choice for them.
In order to answer this question, we have made an electric surfboard comparison between gas surfboards and electric motorized surfboards.
Electric VS gas surfboard comparison
Every jetboard needs a motor to propell the board forward. We differentiate to types of motors depending on the power source. When the power source is gasoline, the engine will be internal combustion. On the other hand, if the power source is a battery, the engine will be electric. Let´s see the main differences between them.
Gas powered jetboard
|Easy maintenance||Exhaustive maintenance|
|2,5h of charging time||Just the time to fill the gas tank|
|No air and noise pollution||Air and noise pollution|
|Around 40 minutes of riding time||1 hour of riding time|
|Weight: 35 kg||Weight: 20 kg|
|No restrictions||Limited use in some areas|
|Difficulties for air transportation||Easy transportation by plane|
|More maximum speed||Lower maximum speed|
Gas powered surfboards need a daily service after every ride in salt or sweet water (such as ocean or lakes) due to the lack of water tightness of the engine, being water cooled. This also happens in jetskis, for instance. As you know, water tightness is the ability to prevent water from penetrating an object. But, why are not gas powered jetboard engines watertight?
Internal combustion engines run using a mixture of gasoline + oil + air. Note that one of the required elements is “air. In case the motor was completely watertight, water could not enter into the motor compartment, and the engine would not work. Thus, gasoline engines cannot be watertight, in order to take air from outside. For jetboards are designed to use on water, in the same way that air enters into the gasoline engine, so does water. This means it is mandatory following correctly the maintenance guidelines after every use for a correct preservation of the engine. Depending on the brand and engine, some of the maintenance guidelines on petrol surfboards could be:
- Wash the engine compartment with fresh water, except the carburettor.
- Drain all the water poured on the previous step and start the engine.
- Spray the crankshaft, starter motor, screws and bearings.
Note that this are some general maintenance guidelines for internal combustion engines when used in water. You shall check your jetboard manufacturer guidelines before proceeding with the maintenance.
Some Electric engines, on the other hand, are completely watertight, since neither the battery nor the motor need air for functioning like in the case of Onean. This extremely simplifies the maintenance of the jetboard. In overall, the maintenance of electric jetboards consists of lubricating the battery and board connectors with grease after every use, in order to avoid corrosion. Batteries have minimum maintenance for its correct use. In our case, we recommend keeping the charge level around 20% for long storage and charging them to full load before entering the water.
Batteries need to be charged. Fuel tanks need to be loaded. Unfortunately, it is faster filling a 3L tank than charging a 130-ampere battery. Charging time varies depending on the capacity of the battery and power of the charger. Despite this, jetboard batteries usually charge from 0 to 100 in approximately 2,5 hours. This is quite a lot of time compared to filling the fuel tank of petrol jetboards, which can have their fuel tank filled in a matter of minutes. Electric surfboard users usually have additional batteries for their boards. In this way, once a battery is discharged, the only thing they have to do is to plug another one and continue riding.
Petrol engines run with fuel and oil. In case of a failure of any parts of the engine, or while filling the fuel tank near the shore, these elements often leak out and poured into the ocean or lake. It is our responsibility to minimize water pollution by giving a proper use and maintenance to our jetboards. As well as water pollution, gas powered surfboards also release polluting substances into the air through to the internal combustion engine, this is inevitable.
On the contrary, electric surfboards do not release any polluting substances into the ocean, neither liquids nor gases. Clean power and emission free. Besides water and air pollution, noise pollution is something you need to handle with gas powered surfboards. These are quite noisy and can disturb people who are on the water. That´s why many riders look for remote spots to enjoy jetboarding with gas jetboards. Electric jetboards, on the other hand, are much less noisy than petrol ones, as they have no combustion, making them very pleasant to ride.
Following with the automobile industry analogy, it goes without saying that electric cars range is lower than petrol ones. Check the Mercedes EQC, with 410 km range. This is quite normal in such a young industry. However, new developments in electric mobility are allowing to increase this range more and more every day. For instance, Tesla model S has a 647 km battery range, quite close to petrol cars.
Same happens with electric surfboards range. Up today, the average ride time of electric surfboards is between 20 and 40 minutes, and petrol ones, around 1 hour. The more cells a battery contains, the more range it has. However, the range decreases the more power a battery supplies, and batteries become heavier the more cells they have. It is essential to find a midpoint between riding time, weight, and power supply.
For instance, Onean Carver X and Carver Twin, with 10kW and 5 kW respectively, have a 40 minutes riding time when using at mixed speeds.
The weight of electric and gas jetboards is almost the same when comparing them between similar size and construction material boards. However, electric jetboards need a battery to power the jet unit. The weight of a standard electric surfboard battery is between 15 and 20 kg, and the total weight of the jetboard plus battery, around 35 kg. Gas powered boards usually weight around 20 kg.
As said before, petrol jetboards make much more noise than electric ones, apart from air and water pollution, they produce leaks and combustion emissions. This is the reason why the use of gas powered jetboards is limited in some areas. Depending on the country, you may find that petrol boards are not allowed in lakes. Many lakes have strict regulations in order to preserve their flora and fauna, or due to being dedicated for human water consumption. Thus, there is no place for pollutant agents in lakes. On the other hand, electric surfboards, powered with clean power, have less restrictions, as they are emission free.
There is no problem at all to transport an electric or gas jetboard by car. However, this changes when referring to air transportation of electric surfboards. If you are considering carrying your electric jetboard on a plane, to check in the jetboard is no problem, but not the battery. Big batteries, such as the ones of electric jetboards, cannot be carried in passenger planes.
In order to transport the jetboard with batteries by plane, we recommend doing it in a cargo plane, always checking with the manufacturer to make sure they have all necessary documents. There are many companies that specialize in shipping this kind of products. So, if you are planning to move to a different country or going on holidays, there is no need to leave your jetboard behind.
Max speed and acceleration
Electric surfboards are more efficient than gas jetboards since the motion is generated directly. Petrol engines generate heat first, which it is turned into movement with small explosions of petrol mixture that move the piston (simplified explanation). Electric engines have less moving parts so the power goes directly to the turbine. This advantage provides to electric surfboards more torque and acceleration than petrol surfboards. The energy of the battery transforms in the movement of the turbine in the same moment you press the trigger of the controller.
It is true that petrol engines achieve higher speeds when driving in a long straight line. But this does not give the feeling of going fast. Torque and acceleration are what makes you say “Hell ya, this is so fast!”. Even more, up to now, the fatest jetboard is not petrol powered, but electric.
4 thoughts on “Electric VS Gas Surfboard. Which one is best?”
Hello Onean team,
I certainly believe in the future of electric surfboards. Otherwise I would not run the e-surfer.com blog since 2017. I think today both variants have pros and cons, but the eSurfboards will win in the long run.
I am already today only using electric boards. I am happy enough to have 7 of them. The main reason for not using petrol powered surfboards is the noise. In my area here I would get in trouble soon if I would use them.
I have a lot of friends who are using petrol boards. I understand why. Mainly because they want to do racing or they live at the Ocean where the noise may not be such a big problem.
Do you think we will see electric surfboard racing in 2021?
It is true that Gas powered jetboard is subject to noise restrictions. I have two boards – JetSurf Race and Onean Carver, unfortunately not Twin and X (as I bought, they have not been produced yet). I weigh 76 kg and this is the limit for Onean Carver, max speed 27 km / h and 18 minutes of use at max. speed and unfortunately for me not enough power for sharp turns.
Probably the newer models would be better.
On my lake, I can always use the electric board without restrictions, and the Gas powered JetSurf Race only 4 days a week from 2 pm to 8 pm, but the speed is 50 km / h and I can use it without refueling for 1 hour.
The speed of 50 km / h when you want to play in sharp turns is far too high and dangerous, but at lower speeds the fun is amazing 🙂
However, the durability of beginner surfboards is not good enough for the beginner surfer.
There are tons of places you can find the best beginner surfboard. Check online surfboard stores, in surf magazines, at sports shops, or at local toy stores. Many kids love surfing and like to play around on their surfboards.