Fliteboard or Lift?
Updated: Jun 17, 2020
Electric Foiling is an exciting new way to silently glide over the water without leaving a wake or requiring wind or waves to propel you forward. Super fun to ride and, with the right board configuration, easy to master even for beginners.
The interest in eFoils has been growing rapidly and is becoming a favourite amongst active water sports enthusiasts and adventurous yacht charter guests.
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 favour and recommend Fliteboard for the reasons we outline below.
Fliteboard vs Lift
There are three major differences when it comes to Ridability, Safety and Control between Fliteboard and Lift.
Fliteboards have their propellers in-line with the main hydrofoil wing, resulting in balanced and centred thrust to move the rider forward. There is no pitching momentum produced which drastically increases the stability of the rider.
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
In our experience Fliteboards are easier to master for beginners and are therefore a better choice for charter yachts seeking to entertain their guests.
It is a well known fact that batteries and battery powered devices can pose safety issues when they are not designed properly or mismanaged in one way or another. It is therefore no surprise that battery powered devices garner special attention from captains and their crew. Safety onboard a yacht is always the number one priority.
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 equalising 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 hand held 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-shut off functions.
Fliteboard Controller Lift Controller
We recommend calm and flat seas for the initial rides of inexperienced guests. Even small waves could be tricky when starting out. A secluded bay with no chop or swell is perfect. A moderate constant wind (up to 3 Bf) does not effect the ride significantly. However, the bigger the board, the bigger the impact of gust and wind.
Fliteboard comes in 3 models:
Fliteboard AIR (inflatable - 175l) for Beginners and Advanced users
Fliteboard (rigid - 100l) for Advanced users
Fliteboard PRO (rigid - 70l) for Pros only
There are more than 200 combinations in regards to colour, masts, wing types, and batteries.
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 a passage or when not in use. Assuming that most of your guests would be at 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 interchangable. 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 optimised 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.
Purchasing and 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.
Both eFoil brands are available for rental. For details on rentals, visit our E-Foil Rental page.
Official Rental price per day is 400 EUR for Lift or Fliteboards including accessories.