Wavejets are surfboards with an electronic propulsion system. Users wear a wrist controller with a button that turns the board on and off. The company markets the high-tech planks to individuals who want to spend more time surfing and less time paddling, catch mushy waves, or drop into giants without a tow-in. Those uses are all interesting, but the most inspiring testament to the power of the invention was released yesterday.
In the YouTube video above, quadriplegic Jesse Billauer catches a wave at Chuns reef off of Oahu's North Shore. In 1996, Billauer was a promising young surfer with dreams of competing in the ASP World Tour when he was driven head first into a sandbar on California's Zuma Beach. He suffered a spinal cord injury at his C6 vertebrate and lost the ability to walk and had limited use of his arms and hands. He vowed to surf again and, with the help of his friends, did. He made an appearance in the movie Step Into Liquid. In 2002, he founded a non-profit, Life Rolls On, to help other injured athletes return to the water. They now take people out to perform a variety of action sports, from skiing to skateboarding.
Jesse Billauer on a Wavejet. Photo: YouTube
In the video, Billauer uses his teeth to hit the button on Wavejet's wrist controller. As a result, for the first time in 15 years, he is able to surf without the help of multiple friends. "It's just mind boggling, he says. "I feel like I might not even need anybody."
H/T: Pete Thomas Outdoors