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Off to A Flying Start: The Journey to Lift’s eFoil

efoil lift surf

The Origin

When Nick Leason was young, he dreamed about being able to fly like his favorite superhero, Superman. Over the years, his passion and fascination with flight grew. In college, Nick saw someone using a foil for kitesurfing and, in his words, “fell in love.” Inspired, he then tried foiling and was instantly hooked. For Leason, nothing compared to the sensation of connecting to nature by flying over water, carving smooth, bottomless turns.

At 24, Nick had an engineering degree in aerodynamics under his belt, and a vision: bringing the sensation and freedom of flying to all kinds of peoplenot only those who live the extreme sports lifestyle, but also those who don’t. He set himself the impressive challenge of building a hydrofoil that worked flawlessly. In 2009, together with his father, Nick opened a foil shop in Puerto Rico. He assembled a team of accomplished shapers, engineers, and artists, equipped the space with state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, and named the new company Lift.

A Higher Goal: The eFoil

Initially, Lift built and sold hand-crafted hydrofoils for surfing, kitesurfing, and stand-up paddleboarding. Creating these buoyant boards requires acute attention to detail. “At first glance, you’d think it’s a simple toy,” Nick explains, “But the foil demands precision and balance to work properly.”

As time went on, Nick wanted to push things even further by building a foil board with a motor and a Bluetooth controller, so the rider could fly in any body of water, no matter the wave conditions or their athletic ability. The team got to work, starting by strapping an electric motor to their foils. “My team and I pretty much duct-taped pieces together. It took some tweaking, but eventually, we got our first ride of about 50 feet,” Nick reflects.

But what Nick and his team thought would be a year-long project to bring the eFoil to life in 2015 ended up taking years of innovation, perseverance, and grit to perfect. First, the Lift team had to create a battery that could propel the eFoil over water for many miles in rugged conditions. Batteries can be dangerous when not properly designed and integrated into a system. Much like those found in commercial aircraft, the design and construction of Lift’s battery had to be reliable and safe. The next challenge was the hand controller. A Bluetooth, wireless, waterproof, buoyant hand controller didn’t exist yet, so the team had to design, build, and test one, and then integrate it with the foil’s machinery. On top of all that were the myriad other components, like a motor and software, that needed to be conceived and meticulously constructed (not to mention, there was no similar existing product on the market to reference).

Setbacks

In August 2016, Nick and the Lift team were fully committed to getting the eFoil to market when an electrical fire burned their 4000 square foot factory in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico to the ground. Luckily no one was injured, but it was a huge loss for Lift and their custom stand-up paddleboard factory, MHL Custom. And yet, looking back, Nick now believes the fire was actually a blessing in disguise. The custom boards Lift had been producing were undoubtedly beautiful, but had consumed a lot of the team’s time. Nick chose to shut down MHL Custom and concentrate 100% of his efforts on rebuilding Lift and perfecting the eFoil, and the team got back to work in a new facility.

Lift was still pushing hard in September 2017 when Category 5 Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, sending the island into chaos. Forced to temporarily relocate to the United States, Nick kept in touch with his team on the island, as they all continued to forge ahead.

Lift Launches

After much perseverance and innovative thinking, Nick’s dreamto bring the experience of flight within reachis now an inspiring reality. In 2018, after nearly a decade and many iterations, Lift took flight and started shipping eFoils to customers around the world. With facilities in California and China in addition to its home base in Puerto Rico, Lift is a proud leader in the ever-growing foiling industry. As of early 2019, it’s nearing 1,000 eFoils shipped, and this number grows and grows.

But things aren’t stopping there for Nick Leason and the Lift team. “We now know a thing or two about electric propulsion and watercraft,” Nick says. “I have some wild ideas to work on that will take years, but we’ll do it. Here we go again…”

Limited Edition Classic Foils for Surf & Wake

As many of our followers know, over the last decade Lift has always specialized in the highest quality foil setups; now for wake, surf, kite, SUP, and more.  Continuing in this tradition, we are excited to announce another of our limited edition classic foil releases – a set of Wake Foils and Surf Foil complete packages with boards, wings and masts.   

We know our eFoil gets the lion’s share of attention, but foiling in general has skyrocketed as a popular sport worldwide, and so has the popularity of our classic foil setups.  We’ve done our best to create a full lineup which will allow newcomers to adapt themselves into the sport and progress to an advanced level. Our foils offer a premium feel and experience at all levels of riding.

Wake Foil 4’8 Package – Board, mast & wing          

This is a limited edition complete foil setup with board, mast, and your choice of the 200 glide wing (recommended) or the 170 fish.

Our 4’8 is a high performance board – the small size allows for more agility and maneuverability. These boards are shaped by Sean Ordonez in a limited edition collaboration with Lift Foils.

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Surf Foils Packages- Board, mast & wing          

– 5’0 orange board,  28” mast and 170 fish wing (recommended for pro’s looking for max agility). Our 5’0 surfboard is perfect if you’re looking for more agility and tighter turns with your foil.  This board also has ample volume for paddling, even with its small size.

– 5’10 white board, 28′ mast and 200 glide wing (recommended if you’re new to foiling and want a board that’s ideal for multiple seasons of getting good at the sport). Our 5’10 board is perfect If you’re getting into surf foiling, with great stability and ample volume for paddling.

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eFoil Deep Dives

We made our how-to video series to provide the most premium experience for our users by walking through every step of the setup, riding, and maintenance processes for easy reference.   These videos are also the best source for seeing the true eFoil experience if you haven’t had the chance to ride, so I highly recommend checking them out below:

User reviews have started rolling in!  Thanks to Douglas P for his testimonial:

“Against all odds, Nick and his crew have done it! A new foiling surfboard that can make you fly above the water under its own power without waves, on any body of water. Nick has been testing this invention for years and the eFoil is the result of a lot of R&D that has paid off, as you will see when you take off on your own eFoil board. Here are some tips…. First things first, like any extreme sport bending the laws of physics, focus not on riding the board, but instead on falling safely. Use your last bit of balance and energy as you fall, to direct your fall off as far as possible to either side of the board. The board stops very quickly after a fall, so it is not a far swim to reach it. Maintain a slow, constant learning curve and do not peg it full throttle until you are a ready. For those in need of an excuse for such a high dollar toy, the eFoil is a portable/realistic replacement for a jet ski. I have seen high skill levels lead to foil tow-in antics. Thank you to all who supported Nick and his team – without your help the eFoil might not have been possible!”


From myself and the team here in Puerto Rico, thanks for your support!

eFoils Are Now Shipping

After months of finalization, we’re proud to announce that our eFoil has begun shipping en-masse.  As of today, more than 50 units have gone out of our Puerto Rico warehouse, and we’re working around the clock to help catch up on the hundreds of pre-orders.

We’ve got a new video out with some recent footage, we’d love if you’d watch and if you like it, give it a share!

We’ve been getting a ton of questions, so I wanted to go through some of the common ones here:

Wait Times If you order today, shipping time is approximately 2-3 months.

Battery Life  Battery life is running an hour or over for production units! Charge time is also hitting under 2 hours. We’re stoked on the final experience.

Additional Batteries  Additional batteries are going to be available this summer – we’ll take orders for those when your board is ready to ship and we contact for balance of payment.

Resellers  We are signing up certified dealers for our network with dealer shipments beginning this October. If you’re in the watersports, outdoors, boating, or luxury goods space and interested in more information on the program, you can get more info here.

Thanks for your support!

Lift Foils – Shipping Update

To all of our customers, thanks for your patience! We’ve been heads down in the final stages of development, and all of the team here have been completely swamped as we get ready to ship eFoils. To say it has been a massive undertaking is an understatement!

The good news? Testing, certifications, and logistics are all coming to an end over the next 45 days. We are officially going to be shipping in May, so boards will be arriving ready for summer.

You can follow along with some of the testing and travel to meet with vendors and suppliers we’ve been through below.

So what’s next?  As we get our inventory ready, we’ll be reaching out to our early customers with your ship date, so look out for the confirmations!

Thanks for bearing with us, it has been quite the ride going from our long-time hydrofoil manufacturing to making a truly world-class eFoil, and the journey is just beginning.