The first motorized surfboard ever appeared in 1935 as written in a newspaper article of those years. The board was powered by a small motor attached to a wooden surfboard. This invention was considered for use in the coast guard service.
Two years later, a motorized surfboard was developed by Emil Hansen from Bryn Mawr. This surfboard looked like a small boat just over two meters long. The 7 hp engine was housed in a waterproof aluminum hull. The respective activity was called Skimboating. The motorized surf weighed 54 kg, was bulky and hard to transport. Riders could control such surfs by shifting their body weight and a steering wheel as well. The top speed was about 30 km/h.
An important feature was the safety switch. This was first implemented with a rope and a simple mechanism to turn off the engine. If a person fell overboard with a rope tied to his or her leg, the engine turned off. Modern designers and manufacturers still use the same safety principle.
The next mention of motosurfs is dated 1948. The inventor Joe Gippin on his motorized surfboard rode across the river. However, motosurfs had not been marketed before 1965. About 200 of them were produced. At the same time, George Barris (who designed the first Bethmobile for the movie) designed an electrically powered motosurf which was called Surf Woody.
Neil Townsend's invention from 1982 can be considered the first mass-production motosurf. A 3-meter long motorized surfboard weighed 22 kg and was equipped with an electric motor featuring a nickel-cadmium battery.
The real breakthroughs and rapid development in motorsurfing began in the noughties when the materials and technologies became more accessible. One of the first modern boards was the Jet Ski Power Board. For the first time, the motosurf was able to reach nearly 60 km/h. But the project was not successful on the market, for it was powerful but bulky and heavy (70 kg), so that riding such a surfboard was not easy.
After the failure of Jet Ski, the main vectors of the motorsurf development were outlined. Reducing weight, increasing the performance of power units and engines, safety systems, and the desire for a perfect shape board.
Since the 10's, the main categories of motorized surging were shaped: electric surfing, boards with combustion engines, and efoils. They could have been also classified by hull type: inflatable vs. rigid. The differences and features of each category can be learned in our article.
In 2010, Jetsurf, Czech Republic, entered the market. This is the first manufacturer to become commercially successful and influence sports. Looking at the first Jetsurf models, you can recognize the image of modern boards. Jetsurf designs have become a benchmark for new successful manufacturers.
In 2012, the first MotoSurf GP championship was held. It was held by Jetsurf to attract interest in the new sports activities. In 2015, 60 riders from all over the world took part in the championship. The competition is now held annually and it attracts more and more attention.