Aquaskipper

By Deane Barker on June 28, 2005

Aquaskipper: This is an interesting little toy. It’s kind of like a bike for the water, but it operates via a hydrofoil.

A hopping motion propels you forward while the hydrofoil gives you lift. You will continue to move at speeds of up to 17 miles per hour above the water, where there is little drag.

You have to watch the video (on the front page) to get it. Watching them try to do tricks on it is a little lame. And it seems to squeak a lot. Seadoo’s not in any danger here, folks.

Via Metafilter.

Gadgetopia

Comments

  1. That is pretty cool! But $600 is a bit much for it.

    At the end of the video, the guy skids to a stop, then sinks up to his neck; I wonder if you can get it going again from a position like that, or if the platform has to be out of the water to get moving.

  2. I own an Aquaskipper, and when I go boating or to the beach with my family it’s pretty fun to bring along. I’ve been trying the tricks on the video. Now (oh, great) I’ll be paranoid that the strangers watching me might secretly think I’m lame. Interestingly, the one I have doesn’t seem to squeak much at all. Maybe only some of them do, or something.

    Now, I don’t have much in-depth knowledge about Seadoo, but I’ve heard about it and I get the impression that it’s a motorized device that you hold on to and it pulls you through the water. Like I said, I’ve only heard about it, so I might be wrong. But if not, it’s obviously very different from the Aquaskipper, and they’re probably not competing products.

    $600? Is that from their web site? I got mine from a magazine for less. Yeah, you can’t start from the water. It didn’t take me long to realize this, so I don’t go too far from the boat or a dock or the shore. I forgot where I read this, maybe it was from the web site or the manual or something, but their joking advice for that was “don’t fall in!”

  3. My AquaSkipper seems to have too stiff of a spring. I can’t get it going unless it is set on the lightest weight setting possible and I weigh 185 pounds. The stiffness means that the effort wears me out in about 60 seconds of serious pumping. So far, I have made it back to the beach each trip. The thought of swimming it back a few hundred feet keeps me moving. Has anyone else found that the flex is too stiff?

  4. We just bought an aquaskipper and despite two days of attempted launches by six different people, we could not get it to go. It simply sinks a few yards off the dock. Also, we had two separate plastic parts crack/ shatter. Is it possible that we got a dud? I am waiting for a reply from the company.

  5. A lot of the problems people havev with the AquaSkipper is that they have purchased a counterfeit. The only AquaSkipper that is “valid” is the one from the company in Portland,OR, Inventist. THey sell thru the Hammacher catalog and Jump USA. I paid about $500.

    The quality and workmanship is great, and yes it takes some effort but I enjoy it!

    Claude, former marketing director of Harvey’s Skin Diving, Inc.

  6. Sorry for the long note, but I think it will really help. I just got one on e-bay last week for $300, in good shape. The design is good, the construction is cheap. The plastic bits are very fragile and prone to cracking, I’ll machine my own replacements from aluminum. It took four hours of trying to figure it out, but finally got it. Have someone videotape you from the side while launching if possible. Here is the deal, the balance isn’t difficult, the rythym takes practice. First, do like they say, hold it with the rear foil at or slightly under water. Then, keeping your back straight, lean off the dock like you are going to do a stiff belly flop. As you begin to fall forward, the front foil will be lowered to the water by your body angle. Just before, after, or as the front foil hits the water, push off hard. Most people try to push it out, then jump on it, like pushing a boat from a dock. That doesn’t work. Instead, pretend it is a shopping cart, and you want to give it a hard push to coast across the mall. With a decent forward push off, the sink rate is virtually non-existant. When you push off and while you ride, put about 2-5 lbs of weight on the handlebars. If it does a wheelie, you are leaning too far back and not putting enough weight on the handlebar. With a good push and no jumping, you should coast about 10-15 feet, then sink straight down gently. If so, you are doing it correctly. If not, try again and adjust your weight on the handlebars accordingly. Now try this, push off like before, get both feet on the pads, and pump HARD. The rythym is the trick. When you push down hard the rear foil sinks, but pushes you forward. You then have to pause a fraction of a second before jumping again, this allows the rear foil to rise again. It is like pedalling a bicycle with one leg. Hard push, glide, hard push, glide. If you find yourself getting 50 feet from the dock then just losing power and falling in, then your rythym is wrong. Check your video, each time you pump you create a small wake. If the wakes get closer together the farther you go, then you aren’t really doing it correctly, you are gradually losing speed. Deliberate hard jump, then pause, in a slow rythym. The first time you actually get it right, you will know. You’ll feel the back really rise up, and you’ll be able to maintain speed. Then it will be easy to learn to steer and to balance from side to side by shifting your weight.

  7. By the way, it shouldn’t squeek. If everything is tight, the only pivot is where the two aluminum pieces come together between the ends of the fiberglass spring. The pieces at that hinge should have plastic bushings, so no squeeking. The other possible squeek point is where the rear foil attaches. The screw heads should snap into the keyhole slot in the foil. If they are loose they will squeek, and might break the plastic supports. When I assemble mine, I do it in the grass. I place the rear foil on the grass, line up the first screw, then stand on the foil and gently kick the vertical strut with the side of my foot to snap in the screw. The other will snap in easier because of the “spring tension” of the vertical strut. The plastic ends on the rear foil are to protect swimmers and the ends of the foil from damage, but aren’t necessary for operation. If yours break (like mine did), just remove them and seal the end of the foil with some “amazing goop” from home depot (it is like silicone, but dries to a rubber like shoe rubber). That will protect the foam from becoming water logged with age. If you want you can send me pictures of questionable parts of your aquaskipper, and I’ll let you know if they are ok.

  8. Re: Aquaskipper. Can anyone estimate the required draft of the Aquaskipper in takeoff and operation? The online material doesn’t give one a sense of the practical range before fatigue for reasonably fit operators. Is the primary appeal the joy in being able to “do it” or is there a transportation value? Thanks! Harry

  9. Harry: you could use it for transportation over shorter distances if you have the confidence. But it seems to be primarily for recreation (for example, most people who windsurf don’t do it for transportation, although they could if they wanted to).

    Although the AquaSkipper is made in China (as are many other things), the factory doesn’t sell AquaSkippers. Any Chinese factory that is selling them directly to consumers is probably doing it illegally, since, as it says on the official aquaskipper website, there are currently no authorized dealers in China.

  10. Dan: you could still use it, in theory. It would just require more effort. After you’ve used it for a while, though, you may no longer need to work so hard.

  11. The fact that it sinks when you stop is a drawback. Can inflatable floaties be attached to the device such that when it’s operating, the floaties don’t touch the water, but when you stop, the floaties keep the device partly out of the water so you can re-start it?

  12. Be aware that the parent company, Inventist, recently defrauded an experiened watersports marketer who was with them in early 2006. The man with years of scuba, windsurfing and waterski manufacturing and distribution experience was dismissed just as new export distribution channels were opened, domestic retailers requested face to face meetings and catalog sales just got going.

    He was laid-off the day the SkyMall ads broke and reported he had contacts with Sears, Wal-Mart ready to meet with the company.

    I think this man is owed some serious commissions for his work!

    We hired him :)

  13. So, how long/far can a reasonably fit person drive this thing? Is it like walking, which I could do all day long, or like running, which I could do for a few minutes, but a more fit person could do all day long? Or is it like sprinting, which no one can do for very long?

  14. well i have had one for about 3 years it is hard to do at the begining but you will get better at is when you do get a hang of it is really fun my little brother that is 10 can do it just dont give up it takes alot of practice……. be carefull with yhe parts they break very very easy and are a pain in the but to replace but all together it is awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. My Dad purchased an AquaSkipper last summer. We spent the better part of 2 days figuring it out, but have now become quite proficent at it. It’s sort of like riding a bike in that once you get it, you can do it everytime.

    It is very taxing physically. Neither of us can go more then about 60-90 seconds on a run before we have to steer back into the dock to dismount and rest.

    We have broken most of the parts on the unit multiple times (this mostly happens when we are teaching new people to use it), luckly you can purchase the individual parts by calling the company so it’s not as expensive as the first time purchase. I think the main thing that breaks parts is if you are learning in a shallow water area, people have a tendency to ride it into the bottom of the lake and put lots of stress on the front of the unit. So if you keep it in deep water, or at the very least make sure people jump off as soon as they sink, you can minimize the parts breaking.

    It’s fun, we stop down all the boaters on the lake whenever we have it out.

  16. i got mine for $200 and it doesn’t really squeak and i go backwards and jump out of the water with it and do you guys know where to get parts for it?

Comments are closed. If you have something you really want to say, email editors@gadgetopia.com and we‘ll get it added for you.