Fliteboard Founder David Trewern Explains Their Meteoric Rise and New Focus on R&D

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You’ve probably seen videos on social media of surfers flying over the top of oceans at tremendous speed. Foil boarding is one of the most exciting new experiences you can have on the water and it is all thanks to an Aussie start-up.

Prompted by the less than favourable kite surfing conditions in Byron Bay, former kite surfing world record holder, David Trewern, decided to create his very own electric motorised foil board six years ago and as they say, the rest is history.

The Fliteboard founder and CEO sat down for an interview with Iolande Skinner From The Deck at the Sydney International Boat Show.

Australian startup Fliteboard has had a busy few years, selling 7,500 boards | Source: Fliteboard

Trewern said the positive reception from athletes and celebrities has been almost entirely organic. No strangers to high-speed thrills, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are amongst the unofficial members of an influential Fliteboard owners club, as are legendary Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder and Australian media magnate Lachlan Murdoch.

Trewern said the company has only given one Fliteboard away for free to someone who would quite honestly have no trouble paying for one of the thrilling toys; billionaire Sir Richard Branson.

In six short years, the Australian start-up has expanded into the US and European markets. The Australian market makes up just three to four per cent of their sales and their goal is to now invest heavily in their research and development.

Fliteboard products include the original Fliteboard, AIR, Ultra and PRO variants, which are all A$17,995.

Lewis Hamilton enjoys his Fliteboard
Lewis Hamilton enjoys his Fliteboard | Source: Electrify Expo Facebook

The boards are very popular in North America and Europe making up the bulk of the company’s sales. Athletes and celebrities are regularly seen on social media enjoying themselves on the high-tech invention. There is even a foil surf racing league.

Trewern said he finds inspiration at the most appropriate of times; when riding a Fliteboard. Many riders, including David, describe a kind of meditative “zen” state they experience when Fliteboarding. The founder said it is an excellent way to relieve stress and find a sense of clarity, helping to solve problems and think of new ideas.

Fliteboard was born from David’s love for the water, after selling his business and embarking upon a sea change to Byron Bay. He constructed his prototype to enjoy the water when conditions did not allow for kite surfing.

Once they had realised the popularity of their product, Fliteboard quickly established a global network of dealers, exporting to over 90 countries and growing at a rate of 70-80 per cent over the last 12 months.

In his interview with Iolande Skinner From The Deck, Trewern said the popularity of Fliteboard can be attributed partially at least to word of mouth.

We’ve sold 7,500 boards and what we’re finding is that the more boards we sell, the more interest there is in Fliteboarding because everybody gets out on the water, they create social media content. When somebody buys a board, they ring up their four friends and say, do you want to come check it out, so we’re experiencing really strong growth.

David Trewern, Fliteboard Founder and CEO
Fliteboard is investing heavily in research and development | Source: QueenstownNZ.co.nz

The next step forward for the company, as part of the aforementioned research and development, is to reduce weight, making Fliteboards more accessible and easier to transport. David said he wasn’t limited by the usual product development constraints when developing his masterpiece, which allowed him to focus on the product and release something that he could be truly proud of.

Whether the marine industry goes the same way as the automotive industry and embraces electric propulsion is definitely a key question that many key players are asking. Some companies are exploring the possibilities of electric propulsion and offering larger electric vessels, such as E-yachts.

If you have an interest in electric boats and marine products, Iolande Skinner sat down with Peter Hrones from E-yachts at the Sydney International Boat Show and discussed the future of marine electric propulsion.



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