How this 'magical gadget' could change boating forever
"I took Chris Hemsworth and Elsa for a ride. She was so great ‒ she didn't even get her hair wet; she was a natural."
It's just another day for Fliteboard inventor David Trewern.
However it's a far cry from the life he imagined for himself when he escaped the rat race of Melbourne and headed to Byron Bay a few years ago.
"I was burnt out," he said.
"I'd been running businesses for 25 years and I needed a break; I came here to relax."
He relaxed for a bit.
Then he couldn't help himself, and he invented something so cool that it has attracted the attention of thousands of people around the world, including the Hemsworths, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, singer Katy Perry, pro surfer Matt Wilkinson and Shopify founder Tobias Lutke, who described it as the "most magical gadget on the planet".
The Fliteboard is an electric hydrofoil which is virtually silent and is controlled by a handheld Bluetooth remote.
Made of premium materials, it hovers 70cm above the water, powered by an emission-free electric motor with marine grade smart batteries.
It already sounds impressive, but it's getting even better ‒ Series 2 was released this week to rave reviews, and Series 3 is in the development stage.
Mr Trewern is a former kitesurfing world record holder.
He came up with the idea at his family home at Belongil Beach and made the first prototypes with a 3D printer bought from Aldi.
"I knew straight away that I wanted one for myself and I wanted them for my friends," he said.
"It started gathering its own momentum … I don't do things by halves.
"I'm really proud that we've now got a business that offers so much diversity in employment in a regional area.
"We've got about 30 workers here in Byron Bay and we're very respectful of the local environment and the community.
"It's been an intense four years but it's been amazing. It's definitely my passion project."
And he's not stopping there.
Mr Trewern's dream is revolutionise the watercraft industry to make it more eco-friendly, and he believes Fliteboard's electric marine motor has the potential to do that.
"Every time I'm out on my Fliteboard, I see so much marine life," he said.
"That's what this is about.
"It's so quiet. It doesn't pollute the Bay.
"I would love for what we're doing to be the catalyst for changes with outboard motors.
"It'd be great if in years to come, there were no more dirty, noisy diesel outboards out there on our waterways."