Okay, I had literally never seen or heard of these things before in my life until our friends, Geoff and Nick, got some. They’re both long in to watersports of various types; they were both sailors/ catamaran captains in a past episode of their lives and they’re both chockfull of childlike enthusiasm for the latest and great grown-up toys on the market. They’re Peter Pan people when it comes to outdoor adventuring and wet and wild fun so OF COURSE they’d be in to this. I think they discovered the sport on a trip to Mexico and got hooked so they brought the boards to Belize and that means: you too can try it here in Placencia!
When they first told me about these battery-powered, motor-propelled surfboard things I have to admit, I didn’t really “get it.” But then I saw them in action and HOW COOL! I’ve been wanting to try it (because I’m also a Peter Pan person) and I finally got the chance this morning. The conditions were nice and flat even if a bit chilly (it was barely 78 degrees and I’m a Belizean Gyal now so I was really nervous about being miserably cold so I wore long sleeves and long pants under a wetsuit like an absolute psycho- tad bit overkill). We went out on the sea side up in the Plantation area of the peninsula. The lesson starts with some quick facts about the board and a safety chat then it’s off to the water!
Each board has a remote (there might be a fancy, technical name for it but I’m just going to say remote) that you hold in one hand and depress a trigger to make the motor go. The remote has a governor so you set your speed (don’t worry, Geoff will set the speed ahead of time based on your weight) and then you won’t go inadvertently crazy fast or anything; you just pull the trigger and hold it down to go, release the trigger to stop the motor when you fall off. Start by getting comfortable just riding it around on your belly like a boogie board. When you’re cool with that you go to all fours and then eventually to erect on your knees. You’re doing great! Now it’s time to stand and surf. This is where you have to submit to looking and feeling like a fool because you’re going to fall… a lot. Definitely a learning curve to figure out how and where to place your feet and center your weight to keep the board even. If you have your weight too much forward you’ll sink the nose and stop. If you have your weight too far back you’ll rise up out of the water like a GD genie which is thrilling except very quickly you’ll get too high and the propellor will breach the surface and you’ll stop (and fall from 5 feet up).
I just played around with trying to find my balance, trying to come up on the wing or foil or however you call it, and eventually trying to turn. This video clip is before I tried turning and oddly enough there was a tourist family out for a paddle and I happened to be on a path straight at them… for like the longest time! In my head I was debating on what to do or not do all the while continuing on this near-collision course and what I SHOULD have done was just continue right past them- no problem-instead, I got really nervous and dumped off but I kicked my board directly at this mother and child on a kayak. Luckily it didn’t hit them but duh, I’m so dumb and obviously no good under pressure. What’s most embarrassing is watching this video back and looking at the literal REST OF THE OCEAN empty all around them.
So I think I’m hooked on Efoiling now! A nice thing about these boards is that they’re very safe for you AND the sea creatures (the little jet propellor is completely incased so you can’t accidently chop a finger or cut a manatee) and emission-free (rechargeable battery powered). You can take a lesson and learn for yourself: $200us for a 2-2.5 hour lesson. Schedule through their Facebook or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp +501-610-3303 and use the coupon code: RealLifeRecess to save $25 (plus for every 6 people I refer, I earn a free lesson so you know I’m keen to get credit for the referrals) And check out their website: efoilbelize.com