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Surfing high on DIY (Posted On: Saturday, September 16, 2017)

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A new DIY project in the works - crafted by a Collingwood-born inventor - pairs surfing across the water with soaring through the air. It's Silver Surfer meets Iron Man. It's not a plane, though the physics are similar. It's a remote propulsion system for hydrofoils, stand up paddle boards and surf boards.

Chris Vermeulen, an inventor and entrepreneur, has combined his passion for kiteboarding and surfing with his drive to build new things for this DIY propulsion system project.

"The most exciting thing is we can now fly across any body of water on something like a hover board, and it makes you feel like a super hero with special powers," said Vermeulen. "Its a truly unique feeling and highly addictive."

His plan is to create a model that self-balances thanks to a gyro-assisted steering system. He and the team will be using 3D printed parts and other custom designs to make a small, quiet motor, waterproof remote and compact battery for the system.

The concept isn’t new, there are electric motors out there already in use to propel hydrofoils and surfboards - which are not exactly ideal for those looking to seek excitement and want to do this in economical way using a board you may already have laying around. 

Currently there are two extremes available in the market. First being a high priced unit at the cost of a car which works very well, or low cost, low speed units that slowly push you around on your SUP.

Adding a propulsion system makes them about the closest you can get to a Back to the Future-style hover board flying up to three feet above the water. A system like this greatly reduces the need for perfect surfing conditions. A propulsion system on a hydrofoil means the rider can surf above choppy water, or can still soar when there's no wind.

The unique part of Vermeulen's plan is the DIY factor. He is working on a system that can be easily attached to any SUP, surfboard or hydrofoil board and can be made at a fraction of the typical $12,000 price tag - the going rate for another electric-powered hydrofoil surfboard.

A lot of time and effort has gone into proof of concept and designs for the project. There is currently a Kickstarter campaign to raise some seed money for the team to be able to order parts and build prototypes. Supporters who donate $50 or more will be given access to a video series teaching them how to build their own propulsion system. 

"It's worth the effort because we are making the first high-powered portable and affordable unit at a fraction of the cost of competitors," said Vermeulen. "The application of the system on a surfboard is the tip of the iceberg. We plan to make it useful on kayaks, snorkelers and divers for fast and powerful transportation."

For more information about Vermeulen and his DIY eFoil project, click here.

Check out the Kickstarter campaign here.

By Erika Engel

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