Many years ago, there was a thing called the WaveJet. You probably remember it, because for a few months, it inundated the internet like a plague of Jet Ski riding locusts. Despite the countless ad dollars chucked into the internet’s bottomless maw, WaveJet has largely left the surfing market. It’s still there, but a 6’8 runs you a little under $4,000, so it’s a bit of a niche market. But wait! Before you get too upset, there’s a replacement! Sort of! It’s called Jetson, like meet the.
During WaveJet’s attempt to become an actual successful surf company, I got to try one out. Just for shits and giggles, you know? And guess what? It was fun as hell. Embarrassing as hell in a regular lineup, to be sure, but also very fun. There is a lot to be said for armlessly paddling back out to the peak like you’re being towed by Pinnochio’s Monstro, staring straight-faced into the eyes of the peasant scum littering the lineup on regular surfboards.
So what’s Jetson, you ask? Well, at first glance it looks like a blatant rip off of WaveJet. I’m not a patent lawyer, but yeah, the basic idea is the same. It’s a surfboard with a jet on the back. WaveJet, if I remember correctly, involved a little controller that you wore on your wrist. Jetson appears to have incorporated a little control panel into the deck of the board.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that there is no use for these things, because there are many. Many very good uses. For disabled surfers like Jesse Billauer, jet-assisted surfing (is that what it’s called?) is a real boon. For lifeguards, too. And hell, even for big wave surfing, although the purists would shit their collective pants. Garrett McNamara famously surfed giant Cortes Bank on a WaveJet and accidentally burned Greg Long, who very nearly died. Remember that? Holy shit, the surf industry had a heyday with it! Here’s a bit from GMac’s memoir, Hound of the Sea:
“The surfing press was already buzzing, accusing me of dropping in—the most heinous crime in surfing—and further raking me over the coals for using the WaveJet, an invention I’ll always defend because it gives folks who might otherwise never have the opportunity a chance to experience the exhilaration and pure joy of riding a wave. Some surfers just need a little extra speed, but there are also people like Jesse Billauer, a California surfer who became a quadriplegic at seventeen when he broke his neck during a wipeout, who’ve been able to surf again unassisted using WaveJet technology. It’s also been adopted with enthusiasm by lifeguards, since the WaveJet allows them to reach drowning swimmers faster. Surfing purists, who would have us all surfing on planks of wood and wearing loincloths, despise pretty much all technological advances in the sport, and wanted my head.”
Anyway, Jetson’s got three models on their website, the Wahoo 8′ (If you are thinking about riding waves, this is the funshape board for you!), the Grouper 9‘ (In surfing, the king of glide is the longboard. Soul surfers, you are lucky now!), and the Rescue Board 10’2″ (I won’t make fun of this because it makes sense). They’ve also got a full quiver on Facebook:
But a Jetson, much like a WaveJet, isn’t cheap. The Wahoo can be yours for the low low price of $3,500, the Grouper is a steal at $4,000, and the Rescue Board will cost a lifesaver around $5,000. But if you’re disabled, a lifeguard, or a rich person who hates paddling and just doesn’t give a shit about what people think, the Jetson (or WaveJet) might just be your next magic stick.