We grew up wanting to fly, personal flight with as little equipment as possible. Along the way we designed sports gear, built equipment for professional athletes and Olympic gold medal winners, we took the sport of snowboarding from a small group of enthusiasts and helped make it into a global phenomenon. When we first saw the water jetpack in early 2009, it looked like the future had finally arrived, and we wanted one. This was the next big thing, the next sport had just been born. But the price! 100,000 for a sport device, the cost of a luxury car with the technology of a jetski. Our dream had been turned into a luxury toy and out of reach. Only millionaires and superyacht owners would play with one. Instead of a great sport opening up, the coolest device was relegated to the rich. It was too expensive, and not actually available, the inventors had not figured out how to make it yet. Like many other people, as we later found out, we decided to build our own, we watched the videos and saw many areas for improvement and rethinking the concept. We researched every aspect, looked at the engineering and saw that the cost of building the system had been greatly overpriced. We decided from the start to advance the design, make a better jetpack, repeat what we had done for other sports and “move the ball forward”. Development began in 2009 using a jetski as the powerplant. We began designing and engineering a better jetpack. We built prototypes at night while keeping our design and manufacturing day jobs. From our vantage point, we followed the slow progress of the Jetlev product into the marketplace.
In late 2011 when the product finally arrived on the market, we got the chance to invest in three of the expensive Jetlev Flyers from a tiny German company called MS Watersports, who was, at that time, an apparent licensee of the Jetlev technology from the US. A group of friends and investors determined it would be good for a rental operation. We bought three units, met the manufacturer and we flew the jetpacks at our water sports center in Thailand. We had fun, but all we could see were the areas for improvement. Ask anyone who has flown what they think of the seat! The most painful seat in the history of manned flight! However, we had a taste of the flight and knew how much cooler it could be if only the equipment was better, sleeker, and more people could afford it. We showed some of our ideas to the Jetlev Flyer engineers and they were impressed. Now we knew our design theories had merit, and we wanted to build a jetpack to fly right.
We went to the big “Boot 2012” trade show in Germany, we continued to research everything it would take to build a more economical, better performing jetpack system. Along the way we felt the odd concentration on chasing the luxury dollar in millionaires and oligarchs. We decided to let the other companies battle for the millionaire’s toy money. We didn’t want to be a toy company, we wanted to build a sport.
In the summer of 2012, we traveled to Europe to run a water jetpack rental and training operation in Mallorca, Spain. We got first hand experience with not only the training system, also in the delicate fragile mechanical nature of the MS Watersports power units. The brand new Jetlev motor blew up in the first few hours of use, then, the second transplanted SeaDoo motor, also blew up, due to a bad design of the water outlet right over the air intake. We turned the unit back to MS Watersports and said, “thanks but, no thanks”. They sold the sketchy unit to someone else and kept our money. We talked to the Flyboard dealer in Mallorca, Lindsay McQueen and watched it fly, we watched the installation on a stock jet ski. This contrast of difficulty and ease opened our eyes to the simplicity of using the jet ski as a powerplant. For training the closeness of the instructor to the student pilot was a game changer.
Up in Itzehoe Germany we stayed for a few weeks at the Jetlev Flyer workshop where they scooped out the guts of imported SeaDoo PWC’s, aka “donors”, inserting the engines into new carbon skinned, glass fiber shells by hand and subcontracted everything else for the jetpack. We discussed a joint venture with the German manufacturer to make them second generation jetpack and simpler powerplant systems. They were satisfied with the status quo and unwilling to invest in further development, fat and happy with their place in the market. They charge super high prices for rather basic components. A different, short term approach. We saw the sea change in the marketplace and became more committed to pursue the original goals.
We returned to our base Shanghai with even more experience and knowledge of what we had to do. Most of all we had a fire inside us that made the goal of a better, more affordable jetpack something that we had to do. We developed, and prototyped in our natural environment the energetic city of Shanghai. We built and tested, prototyped and ordered tooling for cast parts, injection molding tools, forging tools, everything needed for an economical mass production. We went back to the drawing board and made our hydro jetpack better. We tested again and again.
In May 2013, we built a limited test run of our first jetpack, the Jet-H2X Sport. Testing in Thailand and with our partners across the globe. It flew great, impressing everyone that tried it with how much more comfortable the seat and straps were and the ease and power of the flight.
In early 2013 we contacted Jetlev in Florida and offered to supply then with better, cheaper jetpacks. We offered a cooperation and they offered a complete takeover in return. For no money down, just the hand over everything design and production related to them, and they would pay us some time in the future. It all came crashing down when they took apart our test unit and started to reverse engineer it. We then went forward on our own and become a rebel force, glad that we did not sell out. We made great contacts in Florida and those will survive and some have joined the rebel forces and fly the superior product.
We are in production of the X-Jetpack NX, the world’s best engineered, most safety conscious designed, marine durable jetpack. Anyone that can afford a jet ski can afford to add on a hydro flight attachment. Hydro flight is within the reach of all. We want to start a revolution in hydro sports gear.
Responding to the requests of our dealers to “build a better Flyboard”, in 2014 we designed and built a jetboard that we call the Jetblade. The option to allow independent foot and nozzle caught the industry by surprise and offered riders and beginners alike a whole new way to ride. We have been shipping our revolutionary Jetblade since August 2014 around the world.
We have countless new ideas in the pipeline and look forward to being inspired by our users to maintain our goal of making the world’s ultimate hydro jetpacks, jetboards and hydro devices yet to come. We are building relationships and contacts all over the world. We live, design and work in Shanghai, we make stuff. We make it better, we make it to be used by all.