The interest in eFoils has been growing rapidly and is becoming a favourite amongst active water sports enthusiasts and adventurous yacht charter guests.
The Battle of the eFoils
Which eFoil is the best for my yacht?
Fliteboard and Lift have been in a fierce race to bring eFoils to the market first. Lift has won that race – but at great expense. While Lift has added an electric motor to an existing foiling board, Fliteboard spent time designing and building the perfect eFoil from the ground up using sophisticated parametric models and digital wind-tunnel technology. As a result, the differences between Fliteboard’s America’s Cup lineage and Lift are substantial.
We have included both Lift and Fliteboards in our rental and sales product line as soon as they were made available. Since the early days of commercial eFoiling, a lot has been learned and experienced from both products. Having had both brands in our rental fleet and under our toes, we are in a good position to share a valuable and unbiased opinion on the differences between the two brands.
Overall, however, we strongly favor and recommend Fliteboard for the reasons we outline below.
Rideability, Safety & Control
Fliteboard or Lift?
Lift added their propeller on an existing hydrofoil mast approximately 1/5th of the mast length above the hydrofoil wing. This configuration results in an unfavourable and less predictable momentum build up which can result in the board nose-diving. This is no issue for experienced surfers but is the main complaint from beginners.
Fliteboard Mast & Motor
Lift Mast & Motor
Most battery issues and battery induced fires on-board a yacht are caused by charging an overheated Lithium-ion battery. If there is no temperature sensor present in the Battery Management System (BMS) to control the internal temperature of the battery cells, there is a risk of fire.
This safety circuit is not present in Lift boards, but Fliteboards have it.
Fliteboards contain three separate backup systems that protect their battery circuits. Their BMS is continuously equalizing the internal cell voltage. If there is a discrepancy the BMS will reduce the power of the engine and prevent the overheating of the battery.
Fliteboards also manage leakage with a visual indicator on the side of the Flitecell battery that shows if there has been a water ingress into the battery housing. Lift boards have no such indicator.
Fliteboards have an extremely reliable connection between the electric motor and the waterproof wireless handheld controller. We’ve had zero complaints during the last rental season with the Fliteboard controllers compared to 4 failures out of 6 Lift devices.
For a stable ride, an eFoil needs to maintain a constant speed. Remember that!
Lift has opted for using a linear response trigger. This means, the more you press in the trigger, the faster the board goes. At first glance this makes sense. However, this design proves to be difficult for beginners to grasp. Inexperienced riders have the tendency to loosen the trigger as soon as the board starts foiling in order to correct their stability by reducing the speed. The linear response trigger adjusts the speed too quickly resulting in an immediate reduction of speed and inadvertently resulting in even more instability.
Fliteboard has designed a radically different trigger system and riders just love it. Riders need to keep the trigger pressed at all times securing the connection between the board and the controller. Changing the speed works by adjusting the controls on the upper part of the controller with your thumb. This system is similar to the control set up used by Seabob and eliminates the frustration felt by inexperienced riders. Proprietary algorithms also provide launch assist, cruise control, and auto-shutoff functions.
Riding Conditions, Board Type & Purchasing
Based on our experience, we have outlined the following points to help you get the most out of your eFoil!
1. Riding Conditions
2. Board Type
Fliteboard comes in 3 models.
Rigid (100l) ideal for Advanced users.
Inflatable (175l) ideal for Beginners and Advanced users
Rigid (70l) for Pros only.
There are more than 200 combinations in regards to color, masts, wing types, and batteries.
CONFIGURE YOUR FLITEBOARD
Our number one recommendation for charter yachts is the Fliteboard AIR, an inflatable board that has been designed with charter yachts in mind. It can be easily packed up into a small bundle for storage during passage or when not in use. Assuming that most of your guests would be at the beginner level, the Fliteboard AIR has the benefit of reduced risk of injury to people and the yacht itself.
What’s great about Fliteboard is that all boards, masts, wings, and batteries are interchangeable. You could for instance purchase 1x Fliteboard AIR board, a 60cm mast with Electric Motor, and a Cruiser Wing for increased stability. This configuration is optimized for beginner level riders.
Most charter guests are likely not experienced surfers and would thus greatly benefit from such a board configuration. Additionally, or at a later stage, you could purchase a regular Fliteboard (board only) and a Flyer Wing to cater to intermediate and advanced riders. There is no need to purchase an additional mast with an electrical motor – unless of course you would like to have two operational Fliteboards at the same time.
3. Purchasing a eFoil
The pricing structure for the an entry level setup for both brands are as follows:
5’6 Cruiser with 200 wing (Black) incl. slow charger
Total for 1 SET 12.000 EUR
Fliteboard AIR with Cruiser Wing incl. quick charger
Total for 1 SET 10.700,00 EUR
Alternatively, you can add standard Fliteboard (board only) + Flyer Wing (optional for increased manoeuvrability, and less stability off course) to the above Fliteboard Air configuration.
Total for 2 Boards (Fliteboard AIR + Fliteboard interchangeable)
10.700,00 + 2.500,00 EUR = 12.200,00 EUR
*Prices do not include shipping and VAT
Disclaimer: All technical information, comparison and opinion are based on the current understanding of the state of the development of both brands at the time of writing. We can not be held accountable for not reporting of any further technical improvement of both brands. However we encourage manufacturers to advance their technical improvements and inform us of any products upgrades. Will update this post further due time to keep it up-to-date.