How the Valo Hyperfoil Electric Hydrofoil Watercraft Is Revolutionizing Marine eMobility
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How the Valo Hyperfoil Electric Hydrofoil Watercraft Is Revolutionizing Marine eMobility

Valo hydrofoil Hyperfoil watercraft at sunset CGI
  • Combining a visionary design with an exhilarating experience, the Valo Hyperfoil offers many benefits, including a super-smooth ride in choppy water.
  • The Valo Hyperfoil is a two-person electric foiling PWC (personal watercraft) offering retracting foils for easy launching.
  • The watercraft is easy to handle and safe because its proprietary software controls active stabilization.

The Valo Hyperfoil brings a new level of excitement to water sports enthusiasts, pairing the thrill of flight with the adventure of sea exploration. The two-person, electric hydrofoil watercraft embodies the future, delivering a high-performance experience that is both electrifying and environmentally friendly. With its twin-foil setup and 45kWelectric drive motor, the Hyperfoil offers an adrenaline rush and an unmatched sense of maneuverability and control.

What truly sets it apart, however, is Valo’s proprietary Skyride flight stabilization system, a ground-breaking innovation that ensures both a smooth ride and safe handling at high speeds. The Hyperfoil’s journey, from concept to prototype, has been impressively swift, mirroring the rapid pace of its on-water performance. The initial production run of the electric hydrofoil watercraft, scheduled for 2024, has already exceeded expectations, with a demand that outweighs supply by an astonishing 300%. Meanwhile, general production is set for 2025, with pre-orders now open to the public. With the Valo Hyperfoil, the future of personal watercraft has arrived.

It’s a dream that Ed Kearney, the company’s CEO and founder, had since childhood when he saw a video of an early foiler shown to him by his father. This early exposure sparked a fascination that would gradually build into a relentless pursuit of innovation. Kearney envisioned a future where personal watercraft could glide effortlessly on the water’s surface and soar above it. The Valo Hyperfoil brings this once fantastical vision into reality, revolutionizing water sports and turning childhood dreams into tangible, thrilling experiences.

“I was about 12 or 13 years old, and my dad – who was an inventor kind of guy – showed me this video of some MIT students who had built a pedal-powered hydrofoil boat that broke the world record for a human-powered boat because it was so efficient,” Kearney says. “I remember asking myself, why aren’t all boats like this? Here is a technology that can completely revolutionize how we transport things on the water by making them ten times more efficient and incredibly comfortable at the same time”.

Born and raised in Australia, Ed Kearney pursued a degree in engineering, a foundation that would later serve as the bedrock of his future innovations. Despite the high-speed thrills of motorized watercraft being a universal appeal, he noticed a marked lack of commercial development in the field of electric hydrofoil watercraft during his school years. Wanting to fill this gap, Kearney relocated to California seven years ago, capitalizing on the state’s booming tech industry and vibrant watersports culture. It was there that he began his audacious journey to transform personal watercraft, culminating in the creation of the Valo Hyperfoil.

“So I said why don’t we just do this? I wanted to create something no one else was making, because it was captivating and the world needed it,” continued Kearney.


How the Innovative Hydrofoil Watercraft Takes Flight

Drawing cues from other industries and harnessing the expertise of pioneers such as naval architect Paul Bieker, who serves as a consulting designer on Valo’s projects, has expedited the development of the Valo Hyperfoil. The team, bolstered by the addition of CTO Reo Baird – a tech entrepreneur and boat fanatic who previously worked on developing foiling boats with Navier – in early 2023, transitioned from concept to prototype in a mere six months. This rapid progress highlights the agility and adaptability of a startup and validates that the concept is grounded in robust design and engineering principles.

Since then, the team has made significant alterations to the design, aiming to further enhance the rider experience. They transitioned to a twin-foil canard system for the foils, which are neatly aligned on the centreline, both fore and aft. The aft strut now also houses the shaft-driven propulsion unit. This new design has reduced strut drag by 33% compared to the alpha prototype of the electric hydrofoil watercraft, and improved stability and agility. The maximum bank angle has been increased as well. The anhedral or swept-down wings now provide 30% more roll authority, contributing to the expanded maximum bank angle.


The Valo Hyperfoil is Fully Computer-Stabilized with Skyride Active Stabilization Software, Offering a Smooth Ride

At the core of the Valo Hyperfoil’s performance is the clever foil package and shaft-driven propulsion system, which can propel the craft at a maximum speed of 35 knots while offering over two hours of endurance, suitable for more than 60 miles on a single charge. This impressive performance is not just about speed and endurance but also about precision and control. The proprietary Skyride active stabilization software, coupled with the twin-foil canard system, provides a ride that is not only exhilarating but also incredibly stable and easy to handle. As such, the Valo Hyperfoil represents a double step forward in marine mobility, setting new standards in efficiency, sustainability, and rider experience.


Skyride’s Stabilization System, Playing a Crucial Role in Maintaining Stability, Is Developed Fully In-House

The Skyride stabilization system, developed fully in-house, plays a crucial role in maintaining the stability of the Valo Hyperfoil electric hydrofoil watercraft as it glides effortlessly over water and waves. The task is comparable to walking on long stilts or riding a unicycle, where the center of gravity is substantially elevated above the support point, making the endeavor inherently unstable and challenging to control. Similarly, given their high center of gravity and proximity to the water surface, hydrofoil vehicles encounter the same difficulties. They must operate within a delicate balance, staying close to the water surface without elevating too high or submerging too low. This intricate equilibrium is precisely what the Skyride system achieves, ensuring the vehicle’s stability and ease of control.

Skyride has ingeniously tackled the challenge of maintaining proximity to the water’s surface without excessive altitude or submersion. The Valo Hyperfoil, equipped with a network of intricate sensors, performs continuous data collection from its surroundings. This data is then processed through sophisticated algorithms derived from aerospace technology, allowing for hundreds of micro-adjustments per second to be executed. These minute alterations are facilitated by an array of mechanical actuators that control the craft, ensuring it remains both stable and nimble. The harmonious integration of sensor data and aerospace algorithms is a testament to Skyride’s innovation, achieving an unparalleled balance of precision and agility.

“The Valo Hyperfoil is fully computer stabilized, and when you turn it enters into what’s called a coordinated banked turn,” CTO Reo Baird explains. “Think of it exactly like when a plane banks and turns, you don’t feel you are being pushed out of the turn and your coffee doesn’t spill because the forces run straight up and down through your vertical axis. This is how the Valo Hyperfoil turns using the Skyride software, and it’s truly exhilarating – and it allows for tight, highly precise turns. Making it feel good is not that straightforward – it’s something we’ve worked on a lot and it’s something we’ve solved!”

The software includes full safety features and allows for a variety of modes, including sport and normal. “The sport mode is designed to deliver much more exhilaration with sharper and harder handling,” says Baird, “but there are also lots of safety elements at the limit to make sure you can’t roll the Valo Hyperfoil over or crash. The software does have a more controlled hand in how the Valo Hyperfoil behaves,” he adds, “but we also want to make sure the driver feels like he is controlling the vehicle. It’s not like using cruise control on a car – it’s heavily weighted to the inputs on steering and throttle from the rider but while maintaining full stability to keep it safe. It’s a very delicate balance and it’s one I think we’ve struck perfectly.”


Construction of the Watercraft Includes High-Quality Parts, Including Titanium, Carbon Fiber and Stainless Steel

A commitment to excellence is reflected in the meticulous construction of the Valo Hyperfoil, utilizing high-quality materials such as carbon fiber, titanium, and stainless steel for the body of the electric hydrofoil watercraft. This choice ensures durability and longevity, even under the most challenging conditions. Furthermore, the company has partnered with established suppliers for critical components. For instance, the craft’s battery system and electric motor are sourced from well-respected and experienced manufacturers in the United States and UK. This strategic selection of partners ensures that the Valo Hyperfoil benefits from the latest advancements in these fields.


Innovative Design Allows for Ease of Use and Practicality

Further, the team has exercised foresight in the design of the Valo Hyperfoil, considering its real-world usage and practicality. Recognizing the importance of mobility and ease of handling, the Valo Hyperfoil has been designed to be trailerable on a standard rig, ensuring that transportation is stress-free and straightforward. Moreover, understanding the convenience that features of conventional personal watercraft like jet skis bring, the Valo Hyperfoil includes similar design elements. A front canard that can be lifted and a rear strut that tilts analogous to an outboard allow shallow water propulsion. The foil slots into a recess in the hull, supporting beaching capabilities. These thoughtful design features reinforce the Valo Hyperfoil’s status as a practical, user-friendly watercraft without compromising its revolutionary concept and unrivaled performance.

“It may not seem as simple as having a vertical lifting rear element,” says Kearney, “but the truth is those vertical lifting struts with drive elements can be a nightmare for jamming down or up. Our solution is both highly reliable and highly practical, which means riders can focus fully on the fun without fear of something going wrong.”


Sustainable Boating With Zero Emissions, Noise, and Wake

Additionally, an essential aspect of the Valo Hyperfoil is its commitment to sustainable boating. The electrically powered watercraft ensures zero emissions, noise, and wake. This eco-friendly approach means that riders can explore locations unreached by traditional personal watercraft without causing disturbance or harm to the environment and individuals nearby. This respect for nature, coupled with the innovative design and high performance of the Valo Hyperfoil, truly represents a leap forward in personal water mobility. This focus on sustainability protects our natural environments and allows for a more immersive and serene experience on the water.


Founder’s Edition Models are Scheduled for Delivery in 2024

The first Founder’s Edition models are scheduled for delivery in 2024. The company is celebrating the pre-launch success of its creation, having already received over US$3.3 million in advance orders. Its success continues; it is well into developing a new product range for boat builders. This new range will enable builders to transition seamlessly into the electric foiling era, further propelling the company’s mission to promote sustainable, high-performance watercraft. The future of personal water mobility is here, and Valo Hyperfoil is leading the way.

“It very much feels like the dawn of a new age for the marine industry,” says CTO Reo Baird. “It’s clearly the right time and place for the marine industry to make this move forward toward a new type of marine mobility.”

“It’s clean, with zero emissions, zero noise and zero wake; it’s fun, because you can enjoy exhilarating hyperformance in a wide range of sea conditions; it’s safe and comfortable because the Skyride software takes care of everything; and it’s practical, because you can do everything and go anywhere a conventional jet ski can go, and more besides,” Baird concludes. “It’s the future, and it’s right here, right now. We’re very excited to be moving into the production phase, and from the number of orders we’ve already received I think there are a lot of excited people out there too.”

As Kearney himself said, “The Future is Foiling.”


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SOURCE | IMAGES: VALO

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AUTHOR: 

BILL PIERCE

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