Crew test the hottest new yacht toys in town — some not even on the market yet.
Aboard a superyacht, it’s the deckies who haul out, set up and oversee water toys — then stand by to watch yacht owners and guests zip around on them, having all the fun. But recently, for one magical Cinderella day, the South Florida water-sports superstore Nautical Ventures hosted nine crew and a captain assembled by Triton for an up-close-and-personal, high-octane, action-packed water toy extravaganza.
Tasked with a job they could get on top of, so to speak, the crew sampled an eclectic mix of high-end yacht toys. Their task was to evaluate the fun factor, ease of use, teachability, handling, and storage capability of each product in order to help buyers assemble an enviable, expertly curated, deluxe, super-easy toy chest.
After gathering at the store’s North Palm Beach location, the crew took a water taxi to Peanut Island, where Nautical Ventures had an armada of yacht toys — some not even on the market yet — ready and waiting on the shoreline.
The crew jumped on and mastered the lean, mean, adrenalin-producing products, as well as the laid-back, slower-paced options. And their final assessment? Every toy delivered a fun and unique experience.
“In making our selections, we were mindful of how these yacht toys would appeal to charter guests, the ease in which crew have to teach their guests, and the yacht owners themselves, who take pride in their collection of toys on board,” summed up Frank Ferraro, Nautical Ventures’ marketing director. “Judging by the great reaction of the crew that day, I’d say we made the right choices.”
These are hot products in high demand, Ferraro said, and all will be on display in the AquaZone at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
Photos by: Leonard Bryant
The SEABOB F5-S dive sled has a hydrodynamic shape that makes it agile in the water by just shifting your bodyweight. ($13,450)
James Harris, who previously worked in the automotive industry before jumping over to boating, was looking forward to trying out the SEABOB, because he’s into all things motor. He was not disappointed. “It’s pretty straight forward; its controls are easy, and it would be no problem to teach. It went faster than I thought it would, but you can slow it down and pick it up when you want.”
“The SEABOB is optimal for the beginner, but make sure you are wearing a well-secured bathing suit,” said Luke Blackshaw.
A surfer’s dream, the Fliteboard electric hydrofoil, with an intuitive Bluetooth control, reaches speeds exceeding 30 mph and gives up to a 90-minute ride time per charge. ($13,500)
“Nothing beats the Fliteboard, aside from the learning curve. It’s the funnest, the most advanced and most prestigious, aside from the YuJet, which was the most fun and my favorite for today,” says Steve Henderson.
“The Fliteboard feels exactly like surfing, like flying across the water,” says Luke Blackshaw. “Standing up is more difficult, unless you have a surfing background, but stay on your stomach or knees, and you will definitely still enjoy it.”
The YuJet electric surfboard is fast, fun, and easy for almost anyone to ride, even without prior surfing experience. With a top speed of 24 miles per hour, it can deliver a 16-mile range or about 40 minutes of ride time. ($9,995)
“The YuJet is amazing,” said Chris Frederic. It’s really fast, even at medium speed and cracking along. I’ve never surfed before, and it was pretty comfortable, and I think anyone can do it.”
“The best is the YuJet because it’s so easy; the Fliteboard is a little more specialized and takes a little time to get up on it. You can enjoy the YuJet on your knees from the get-go and have a good experience,” said Mark Schlichting.
“The YuJet wins the prize for me. It’s fast, turned well and is easy to pick up on. The hand-held remote was awesome. I think people of any age can enjoy it,” said Avery Ross.
“The YuJet, that’s going to be my favorite,” said Halley Havlicek. “It was not hard at all as long as you can keep your balance. Operating it was very easy, and you don’t have to stand up on it to have a fun feeling.”
HOBIE DURA ECLIPSE & HOBIE MIRAGE LYNX
The Hobie Dura Eclipse is an ultra-lightweight, durable, stand-up pedalboard. ($2,699, new for 2022, with inventory just coming in.)
The 45-pound Mirage Lynx, Hobie’s newest kayak, offers a comfy seat, pedal propulsion, a sleek hull, wide bow, and a flat-bottom design for stability and maneuverability. ($2,699, new for 2022, inventory expected in November.)
“Both Hobies were fun,” said Steve Henderson. “They were stable and comfortable and super easy to get the hang of. I could do the Eclipse for hours.”
“They are super easy, and something that everyone can enjoy,” says James Harris.
“You could ride the Lynx through the mangroves with a beer. That would be sick. Rad. On a large yacht charter boat, where storage isn’t at a premium, the guests would love it,” said Steve Henderson.
SipaBoards give an SUP experience, but with a built-in ‘Paddle Assist’ electric module, giving a faster, safer ride to beat the tides. It’s self-inflating and easy to store. (Tour model board, bag and paddle, $3,090.)
“That little extra push keeps our momentum going, and that’s going to keep your balance way easier,” said Luke Clarkson. “It gives a nice mellow ride.”
“Out of the non-adrenalin toys, I liked the SipaBoard,” said Steve Henderson. “A lot of people enjoy paddleboards, but when the wind kicks up, a paddleboard can be gnarly and a bit of a struggle. The SipaBoard, though, with its little engine, makes life a little easier.”
SUPMARINE CLEAR SUP
The Clear SUP is a transparent stand-up paddleboard, offering a window into the water. (board, bag and paddle, $1,750)
“The Eclipse, guests into exercising would love it, and the SUPMarine [Clear SUP] acts like goggles and you can see everything underwater. I liked that,” said Ireland Tucker.