Dezeen Magazine

Electric hydrofoil

Marc Newson collaborates with Flite to create "world's lightest" electric hydrofoil

Industrial designer and surfing enthusiast Marc Newson has joined forces with Australian watersports company Flite to create a carbon-fibre monobloc electric hydrofoil.

Australian native and lifelong surfer Newson has designed Flite's latest "eFoil" as a single monobloc structure in two sizes called MN Series, which he debuted at Mayfair's Gagosian Gallery during London Design Festival.

Carbon fibre hydrofoil
Marc Newson has created a carbon fibre hydrofoil for Flite

Since 2016, Byron Bay-based Flite has been creating motorised hydrofoils – water vehicles with a wing-like structure beneath the waves that lifts the vehicle up out of the water when it builds up speed. Flite's battery-powered hydrofoils, which are called Fliteboards, resemble electrically powered surfboards and are ridden in a similar way.

Newson's black-hued hydrofoil features a curved board with a combined fuselage and mast – a first for eFoils, according to Flite.

MN Series hydrofoil by Marc Newson
The hydrofoil features a combined fuselage and mast

Weighing less than 20 kilograms, the design is the "world's lightest" eFoil to date, the watersports company said.

Newson created the structure from Japanese high-modulus pre-peg carbon fibre – a material commonly used in aerospace design.

Deck grip on the board of the hydrofoil
Deck grip covers the surface of the board

"We identified reducing the mass of the eFoil system as an overall goal and achieved this using very high-quality carbon fibre, so as to streamline both manufacturing and the appearance of the board," said Newson.

"Not only is this an incredibly strong and lightweight material, but it also allows the foil and board to be moulded in single pieces in a state-of-the-art autoclave. This reduction in the number of interfacing parts eliminated various mechanical joints, and in turn, weight," he continued.

Mast of the hydrofoil
The hydrofoil comes in two different sizes

Titanium accents were also fitted to the eFoil's front wing and board due to its anticorrosive, lightweight and hardwearing properties.

The two different-sized eFoils were designed to cater to both experienced and novice riders of varying body weights, although both models are narrower than existing hydrofoils, according to Flite.

Integrated flush-mounted silicone handles and single handles for removing the battery were also included on the board, which is patterned with deck grip.

Newson also updated the Flite Controller, a hand-held device that accompanies all of the brand's hydrofoils, with a circular colour screen and improved interface that presents riders with their performance feedback and live wave data.

Updated Flite Controller
A hand-held controller was designed to monitor live wave data and rider performance

"A Fliteboard is a high-performance device that combines a number of incredible technologies including hydrofoils, electronics and Bluetooth into a relatively tiny package," reflected the designer.

"The opportunity to work in this space and to use specialty materials and processes in a meaningful way – that is in response to the demands of the product – was very compelling."

London Design Festival served as a platform for various product launches including a bag by fashion brand Ganni made from bacterial leather and undulating modular furniture by Zaha Hadid Design.

London Design Festival took place from 16 to 24 September 2023. See our London Design Festival 2023 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks that took place throughout the week.