Videos have been popping up online showing people riding motorized surfboards. I first saw one when I was just starting my engineering degree and thought it was an awesome product. I was sold, until I saw the price tag. Many companies offer these boards at prices ranging from $7,000 to $14,000. I saw huge potential in the idea and product, but felt like the current offerings were both way too expensive and not marketed correctly. The paddle-board industry has taken off, and more and more motorized skateboards are surfacing. These factors led me to believe that now would be a great time for an affordable motorized surfboard that could be used either as a stand-alone product or as an accessory to a boat.
My interest in motorized surfboards coupled with the interest that everyone else seemed to have when I mentioned them led me to submit the idea to build an affordable motorized surfboard as the project in the capstone design class for my mechanical engineering degree. The idea was accepted and the LakeSurfer team was established, consisting of five mechanical engineering students at the University of Utah: Alex Willie, J.D. Baranowski, Justin Tomlinson, Mike Giere and myself.
With the help of resources provided by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, we built and tested a proof of concept that pulled over 80 pounds of thrust force on a static test. With this test, we are hopeful that we will be able to build a board that can get the average rider moving 20 miles per hour.
We launched a GoFundMe page and are hoping to raise funding to build a solid prototype board to house the tested drivetrain. With proper funding and support, the LakeSurfer team will be able to build a functional prototype that will move us closer to our goal of an affordable motorized surfboard with hopes of a market price of $3,000 or less.