News & Events

Penn State Professor “Takes the Wind” Out of Surfing!

STATE COLLEGE, PA – Because of the Lift eFoil, the brainchild of Penn State University Professor and Aeronautical Engineer, Jack Langelaan and his team, weather and water conditions no longer control a good day for surfing. The concept of a lightweight surfboard or hydrofoil, powered by electricity that skims across the surface of the water, without needing wind or waves, is so popular that the initial production run is sold out! Check out

Over the years, there have been several models of powered surfboards to hit the market – many of them very well designed. A JetSurf, for example comes with a 15 horsepower, two-stroke engine which offers the rider a fair amount of speed, but also comes with a $12,500 price tag. The innovative Lift eFoil’s hydrofoil design changes the rider’s experience completely.

So, what is a hydrofoil? As you might suspect coming from aeronautical engineers, a hydrofoil is really an underwater wing keel that lifts the board out of the water while supporting the weight of the board and the rider. Because the drag associated with a hydrofoil is significantly lower than that of a planing hull, the board only needs 1-2 hp to travel at 20-25 mph, which is a typical speed for waterskiing or wakeboarding. The board is stable and easy to maneuver by using a combination of a hand-held remote throttle while leaning in the direction of the turn. It can run for about an hour on re-chargeable batteries and literally costs about a dime to operate as compared with the $25 it takes to fill up a jet ski.

A 2013 graduate of Ben Franklin’s 10-Week TechCelerator Boot Camp for Business Startups, Professor Langelaan and his team, designed the board so that the battery and motor controller are integrated, and the propulsion unit is a ducted propeller that not only keeps fingers and toes safe but also improves efficiency. Specific hydrofoil configurations are designed to match the needs of the rider. For example, vacationers with young children and even rental shops typically want a less expensive version that can be ridden with little or no training, while the hard-core water enthusiast will want high precision performance features. The patent for the powered foilboard was awarded in 2016 and licensed to LiftFoils.

Professor Langelaan commented, “Most personal watercrafts, like jet skis, tend to be expensive to buy and run and need to be trailered which adds even more cost. What’s great about the Lift eFoil is now people can surf anywhere – even without waves or wind. In a few minutes, with just a bit of instruction, a new rider can be flying over the water. The lightweight design also lends itself to easy storage, so when the day is over, the Lift eFoil fits in the trunk of a car or roof rack – no towing or trailers required.” Check it out at

About Ben Franklin Technology Partners:

The largest early-stage seed investor in our region, Ben Franklin Technology Partners/CNP, (an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority) provides funding, and business support services to emerging tech-based companies and small, existing manufacturers. To learn more about the Ben Franklin program, visit  

About the TechCelerator@State College: Located in the Technology Center at 200 Innovation Boulevard in State College, the TechCelerator @ State College is a partnership among several of the area’s economic development providers that offers budding entrepreneurs designated space, loan and investment programs, business support and mentoring services, and entrepreneurial training all housed in one location.   For more information, check out this quick video