How does an electric surfboard work? And how easy is it to ride one?

In his ongoing quest to find the perfect boat toy, Hugo tries the latest craze of e-surfing – with a little help from the team at Swedish electric surfboard manufacturers, Awake...

I always thought surfing would be a great sport if it weren’t for all those waves. They ruin everything. Just like Goldilocks’ bed, half the time they are too big or too small and on the rare occasion they are just right, they still do everything in their power to make the newbie surfer’s life a misery.

First you have to battle your way out through the breaking waves clutching your embarrassingly long beginner’s board like a massive foam L-Plate. If you survive the initial battering/humiliation long enough to make it beyond the surfline, you then have to spend another lifetime waiting for the perfect ‘set’ to appear while hoping that a Great White doesn’t mistake your toes for a pack of cheesy Wotsits.

On the off chance that the rarer-than-unicorn-poo perfect wave finally appears, you then have to paddle like fury only to watch it slide past you while your fellow surfers shoot off into the distance ‘hanging ten’, ‘riding the tube’ or whatever other ridiculous term they insist on using.

On the few occasions when you do manage to catch one, you’ll have approximately two seconds of feeling like a god before the wave either spits you into the spin cycle of an industrial washing machine or runs out of steam leaving you to sink slowly beneath the surface like a latter day King Cnut (alternative spellings equally valid).

In short, you spend an entire day being subjected to a barrage of salt water enemas in every available orifice in exchange for approximately 10 seconds of fun. Even with my limited grasp of maths, that does not seem like a good return on investment.

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But what if you could go surfing without the waves? What if you could replace one of nature’s least reliable power sources with one of mankind’s most reliable ones – the electric motor?

This, in a carbon-fibre nutshell, is exactly what Swedish electric surfboard manufacturer Awake has been doing since 2017, gradually improving and expanding its range to the point where its flagship Ravik S model now has a top speed of 35mph and a run time of up to an hour.

Best of all, an electric surfboard can be enjoyed all year round without a wave in sight – the calmer, the better in fact – and they are small enough to fit in the back of a car or, more pertinently, the tender garage of a motorboat.

Having read about my previous attempts to master the art of stand-up jet-skiing (fun but terrifying) and e-foiling (tricky but magical) in an effort to find the perfect big boy’s boat toy, Awake offered me the chance to try one of its more beginner-friendly electric surfboards.

Read Hugo’s full review of the Awake electric surfboard in the August 2023 issue of MBY, out July 6.


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