FLITEBOARD COMPLETES MALDIVES eFoil CHANNEL CROSSING

Fliteboard adventurer Rob Wylie takes to the Maldives channel to set a new world record. Check out the full interview with Rob below the film!


October 2022 saw Fliteboard as the first electric eFoil to successfully set a new distance record by crossing the channel from Raa Atoll to Noonu Atoll in the Maldives. Rob Wylie completed the challenge and both he and Fliteboard now hold a new world record for the furthest distance travelled on a Fliteboard on a single battery charge in open water with a total distance of 40km.

Rob was supported by a boat crew manned by locals who shadowed the trip from start to finish. Weather conditions on the day provided an extra challenge with choppy sea conditions but with his riding skills and the support of the locals with their expert knowledge of the location of the shallow reefs, he was able to navigate incredibly accurately as he approached the Noonu Atoll.

This record again demonstrates the advanced nature of the Fliteboard technology.

Rob Wylie has now become a multiple record holder, the long distance crossing in the Maldives (40km) sets a new record beating the previous world record Rob Wylie set back in August 2021, where he completed the first non-stop eFoil crossing of the English Channel (38.5km) on a single battery.

Interview with Rob Wylie

 
Was there any special planning/preparation involved, following your learnings after completing the Channel Crossing earlier this year?

Rob: I covered 38.5km on my English Channel crossing, but I crashed and restarted 5-6 times during the crossing from hitting debris, seaweed and the occasional jellyfish. So I knew I had to minimise falling to extend the total range.

What were the main risks and what safety precautions were put in place?

Rob: I had a support boat crewed by locals follow me from start to finish. Without that safety net the risks would be huge. Once off the Atoll there’s no boat traffic at all. The day of my crossing it was thankfully overcast, so my plan of riding for 2 hours without carrying water was more viable. Even so, the temperature was 28C. The day of my crossing was at the end of a spell of bad weather, so it was pretty choppy. As we got closer to Noonu Atoll it got significantly choppier with some localised current/tide dropping to deal with too. The main issue landing on uninhabited islands is safely clearing the shallow reef that surrounds each island. Thankfully the local Maldivian guys knew exactly where the safe channel to pass the outer reef was on this particular island and they could direct me to it from the support boat.

What setup were you riding?

Rob: I was riding a Fliteboard Ultra, Flow 1300 wing, Race stabiliser, #2 shim. The reason for the race stabiliser was for minimal drag. Flow 1300 for maximum lift and glide. For the first 10km I could ride at speed 2!

What % battery charge was remaining after completion?

Rob: Only 5% remaining as I approached the beach. Thankfully I’d already made it and it was in waist-deep water. From my past experience of long distance rides and analysing data from the Flite app, I knew I really had to really make the most of the first third of the battery, any efficiency gains you make there pay you back later. So not falling, riding as slow as possible without the board touching the water and ideally as high on the mast as possible without any prop breaches.

Anything you can say about the feeling/motivation/inspiration for doing this?

Rob: Anyone who rides a Fliteboard is a pioneer. This challenge was about being a pioneer too, doing something that’s never been done before. As I left the relatively shallow waters of Raa Atoll, I suddenly realised that this was the first time I had ridden a Fliteboard out into open ocean with nothing visible ahead of me, just the sea and the horizon. It was an eerie feeling that amplified the feeling of adventure and being a pioneer. That’s a buzz I get every time I ride a Fliteboard but this was that same buzz turned up to eleven.

// For further information about Fliteboard, please head here.

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