Jetserf combines the beauty of a jet ski, wakeboard and simulator
A wakeboard needs a boat with a driver, or at least a winch: a jet ski without a trailer and special launching is like a fish thrown ashore. For surfing, you need ocean waves and an air ticket to Hawaii, for windsurfing - a strong wind, an infrequent guest in our latitudes. What about us, modest Russians who do not like hours-long flights, big cars and noisy companies? Thanks to the most modern technologies, a holiday finally arrives on our street.
I did not recognize without makeup
Friends of the Moscow Malibu wake club, the very ones who introduced us to exotic wakesurfing a year ago, offered to try Popular Mechanics in Powerski Jetboard. To my shame, I did not even know that there were surfers with a motor. Although back in 1995, Kevin Costner flaunted on a slightly made-up Jetboard in the post-apocalyptic blockbuster Water World.
Jet Montbomery, the inventor of the jetboard, is far from a newcomer to water sports. He is credited with saving the Kawasaki water department from a grave crisis: in 1977, he came up with the idea of selling jet skis to the military. And since 1981, he was already closely engaged in the creation of a self-moving surf.
Placing an engine inside the board is not an easy engineering task. Modern Jetboard outwardly practically does not differ from ordinary surf, both in length (235 cm) and in thickness. However, while conventional boards are made of polyurethane foam with wooden reinforcements, the jetboard is a hollow, displacing fiberglass shell. By design, it is more like a boat than a board, but it’s still difficult to believe that in such a thin case it was possible to place an engine with a starter, a battery, a muffler and a water cannon.
Creating a jetboard, Bob imagined sharp turns with strong overloads, in which the rider can literally lie down on the water, touch the mirror surface with his hand and, leaving the turn, lean on his own gliding palm. For this, the device must not only drive fast, but also quickly accelerate. The inventor almost immediately decided on the desired parameters of the projectile: it is necessary that he develop a speed of up to 65 km / h and a power of at least 15 hp
The modern Jetboard is equipped with a 330 cc two-stroke engine rated at 35 hp. The engine “breathes” air, which enters the inside of the housing through the intake pipe on the nose. If water enters the body, it is pumped out with a special pump, like on a jet ski. Therefore, the probability of filling the engine is minimal. The engine, gearbox, battery and fuel tank are located closer to the center of the board to improve weight distribution.
hit or miss
Powerski Jetboard is a rare beast in our area: there are no official dealers, no services, no test samples. The board for the test drive was kindly provided by its owner Sergey. Together with his assistant, Sergei gently lowers the jetboard into the water and bolts the fins. One cannot cope here: the device weighs 90 kg. There are also advantages of the board: it can easily be transported by car, if you install the trunk on the roof, and you can store it even in a wall cabinet.
Sergey kindly helps me get comfortable with the start. Own buoyancy of a jetboard is enough for exactly half a person: you can’t stand on a fixed board, but you can lie with your legs dangling in the water. To start, you need to lie in the stern, start the engine, give gas and, as soon as the projectile picks up speed, hand pull yourself onto the board and stand up. To start on your knees. In this position, managing a jetboard is easy. The relatively long board is very stable in the longitudinal direction, but it responds easily by turning on the tilts of the body. Standing on smooth water is also not very difficult. The board is very stable at speed, you can literally walk on it.
The learning process is somewhat overshadowed by a moody engine. Two-stroke engines gravitate towards a certain “favorite” speed range, mainly the maximum. In addition, they are very demanding on the quality of fuel (gasoline and oil rider mixes in advance in a proportion of 1:50), storage conditions, regularity of service. Our board knew only two points: “blame all the money” and “stall”. At first it’s scary to get up at maximum speed, you throw gas out of habit. Therefore, the process of "getting up" took me almost two hours.
But when you get up - you can relax and have fun. The projectile allows you to ride without straining. But if you make a steep turn, you will feel pain in those muscles, the existence of which I did not even suspect. And then you fall and shake your hands, pulling yourself onto the board. Powerski Jetboard is suitable for riders with almost any level of sports training. However, he can easily replace the whole gym. Truly versatile shell.
Rocket in the trunk
Having trained to keep our balance on the Powerski Jetboard, we turned our eyes to Jetsurf. The shell was provided by an authorized dealer - Jetsurf is sold in Russia. 180 cm, 15 kg, from 18 to 30 hp, 86 or 100 cubes of working volume and no compromises - this is not a surf, this is a rocket! The creator of Jetsurf, Czech Martin Sula, clearly knew what he wanted, and achieved his goal in every possible way. The Jetsurf body, more like a wakeboard than a surf, is entirely made of carbon fiber. Having removed the engine compartment cover, you hardly believe your feelings - a large rigid plate weighs a little more than 100 g. To facilitate the design, Sula refused everything that at least with the slightest stretch can be called superfluous. The engine ignition system is powered by a battery - the engine is not even equipped with a generator. The battery is charged from the outlet, it lasts for four hours. Four liters of fuel is enough for two hours of riding.
The fastest Jetsurf models do not even have a pump pumping water out of the casing: it is assumed that experienced athletes will not flood the board, and saving the extra 200 g will help them in the fight. Engineer colleagues at MSR Engines helped Martin develop an engine that is not afraid of water hammer: if water gets into the cylinder, no parts will be damaged. How exactly this was achieved is a big secret, like most of Jetsurf's proprietary technologies.
The device was originally conceived as a toy not for everyone - both in terms of cost and from the point of view of the owner’s sports training. Its buoyancy is barely enough for its own 15 kg. Until you start it and squeeze out full throttle, you can’t even put your hand on it - in a while it will drown in water and go to the bottom. Water start looks funny. The rider grabs the handles and inserts the chip key tied to his wrist into the hole on the control handle, completely drowning the trigger of gas. Five seconds later, the engine starts, and the stray board begins to twist the person in place. At this point, you need to tighten either yourself on the board, or the board for yourself. And now you are rushing, bouncing cheerfully on the waves. Starting in shallow water is a little easier - wait for the start, give full throttle and jump to your knees.
While you are riding on your knees, the slightest waves shake the light board like mad. In terms of manageability, it resembles a wakeboard, a snowboard, perhaps a small professional surf, but not a big board for beginners. In theory, as with the Powerski Jetboard, a rider can hold onto the taut halyard of a control knob, gaining an additional fulcrum. However, in practice this is unlikely to help: a short and lightweight board requires the rider to have the right stance with an even load on both legs.
Honestly, during the three-hour test drive, I was not able to spend any significant time on my feet. Weather surprises affected: the cold quickly devoured forces, and the wind caught up with the waves, turning at speed into a washboard. To get to their feet in such conditions, motor skills developed in smooth water are necessary.
Perhaps this is even better - the more interesting it will be to meet with the jetsurf again. Frankly, I fell in love with this shell at first sight. This work of technical art, combining the charms of a jet ski, a wakeboard and a simulator for all muscle groups, fits easily into my car and can be transported for free on an airplane. The latter is especially important: the creators of both boards, both large and small, argue that the real fun with them begins on the ocean waves.The article “35 Dolphin Forces” was published in the journal Popular Mechanics (No. 8, August 2014). Do you like the article?
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