THUNDER BAY —You don't need big waves to ride a surfboard.
Paul Giles of Oliver Lake, south of Thunder Bay, has been entertaining his neighbours this year with his new electric jetboard.
The first few times he took it out, he said, people were asking "what the heck is that?"
The battery-powered board skims across the water at up to 54 kilometres an hour for 45 minutes before needing a recharge.
Giles adjusts the speed with a hand-held toggle.
He's done some surfing in the Caribbean but describes himself as a beginner.
By comparison, he said, jet-propelled surfing is much easier.
"For steering, it's just like you're on a surfboard. You lean and you pivot and you shift your weight. That's how you navigate."
Giles described jetboarding as "a whole lot of fun," saying it reminds him of something you might see on The Jetsons, the animated TV sitcom set in the distant future.
"It's a feeling of being free, like snowboarding in powder. It's got that kind of effect, versus riding. I prefer it to jet-skis. It's a lot more peaceful."
In the event of a wipeout, an automatic safety device on the board shuts down the motor right away.
Giles said he appreciates being able to use green technology rather than a gas-powered machine.
"There's no emission issues. It gives me a sense of confidence for what electric is capable of, that's for sure."
He said even though he owns a traditional outboard motor, he'd be happy to go all-electric if the day ever came that there was a consensus to make it mandatory for the sake of the environment.