Electric surfboards are popular for many reasons, but of all the fun features and tech-driven benefits that electric surfboards bring to the table, perhaps the most compelling is that they’re truly made for anybody and any body of water.
For so long, traditional surfing has been limited to location and athletic ability — some people don't live near an ocean, or have the time or physical ability it takes to master the sport. With electric surfboards, anyone can discover the thrill of surfing.
And that’s what we’re here to help you do.
This article will break down all you need to know about how to ride an electric surfboard, from getting the feel of the throttle to learning how to stand and best practices for body positioning. Plus, we threw in a few extra tips and tricks so that you can make the most of your electric surfboard experience and discover new moves every time you hit the water. Get ready for the ride of your life.
Understanding throttle control
Electric surfboards are controlled by a handheld remote designed with a throttle mechanism that adjusts the speed and acceleration of the jetbpack
Most riders will tell you: the hardest part about getting up on an electric surfboard does not have to do with balance or body position, it has to do with throttle control.
Electric surfboards are equipped with a throttle mechanism that regulates the acceleration and speed of the jetpack, usually in the form of a handheld controller. The Radinn’s wireless hand controller, for example, is designed with a thumb throttle that connects to the jetpack for smooth and precise control. More pressure from your thumb increases the speed, less pressure from your thumb decreases it.
The key to riding an electric surfboard lies in getting used to the feel and responsiveness of the throttle. In learning how to control throttle pressure—or in Radinn’s case, the pressure from your thumb—you can maintain a consistent speed and anticipate how changes to the mechanism affect the performance of the jetpack.
Practicing throttle control on land with a jetpack dry test
Before bringing your electric surfboard into the water, you can perform a jetpack dry test on land. This not only ensures that everything is working properly, but it also allows you to experience the sensitivity of the jetpack and practice throttle control.
- Pair the hand controller with the board
- Engage the throttle mechanism — when you do this, you should hear the hum of the jetpack engage
- Play around with different throttle pressures; explore how much pressure you need to experience different jetpack outputs
- Practice maintaining a consistent throttle pressure; in the case of the Radinn electric surfboard, practice holding your thumb steady at a certain speed without accelerating or decelerating
Note that, when performing a jetpack dry test with the Radinn electric surfboard, the jetpack will not go into full capacity as it can’t be cooled off by the water. When the electric surfboard is in water, it will eventually go into full capacity.
How to get to standing: a step-by-step guide for electric surfboards
Learning how to stand up on an electric surfboard is like learning how to ride a bike — it may take a couple of tries at first, but as soon as you do it, you’re set for life. Here are our suggestions on how to get standing on an electric surfboard:
Begin by boogie boarding
Lie on your stomach, with your knees at the back of the electric surfboard and your forearms supporting your upper body at the front. From there, play around with different throttle pressures as you did during the jetpack dry test. This will allow you to get used to the feel and responsiveness of the jetpack in the water.
Build to a consistent speed
Engage the throttle until you reach a medium-consistent speed, and maintain that speed using steady throttle control. Like a bike, the stability is in the speed, so it’s important not to go too slow, otherwise the board won’t support you when you press up to stand.
Practice changing directions by moving your body weight
As you’re maintaining a consistent medium speed, shift your weight from side to side on the electric surfboard by leaning into each hip and forearm. This will allow you to feel how weight distribution affects riding direction.
Continue on to table-top
Once you’re familiar with throttle control and steering via weight distribution, move to a table-top position by scooting your knees under your hips. At this point, you can keep your forearms connected to the front of the board or you can move up to your palms. Continue to maintain a consistent-medium speed.
Press up to standing
Keep the throttle steady as you press up to standing by pushing off one hand and popping the opposite foot up on the back of the board. At the same time, pop the other foot up and place it in the middle of the board.
Remember, you might not get to standing without falling on your first time trying the electric surfboard, but keep practicing. Most able-bodied riders who are unfamiliar with board sports can stand up and ride an electric surfboard by the end of their first session on the water.
Best practices for electric surfboard body positioning
When riding an electric surfboard, it’s important to slightly bend your knees and keep your feet shoulder-width distance apart
Proper body positioning is helpful for balance, control, and maneuverability. Here are some elements of a strong electric surfboard stance:
Position your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Your front foot should be angled somewhat towards the nose of the board, while your back foot is typically parallel to the tail.
When going straight, keep your weight centered and balanced over the board. Avoid leaning too far forward or backward, as this can affect stability and control.
Knees and back
Stay somewhat crouched with a low center of gravity and a bend in your knees. This provides flexibility, shock absorption, and allows for better adjustments when riding over wakes and white waters.
Arms and hands
Keep your arms relaxed and extended at your sides for improved stability and balance. They can also be used for slight adjustments in weight distribution.
Activate your core muscles in your crouched position. A strong and engaged core will help you stay balanced and respond to water movements more effectively.
More electric surfboard tips and tricks
Fins are a helpful tool for beginner riders as they provide stability and control when shifting weight, steering the board, and turning
Beyond understanding throttle control and mastering the perfect e-surf stance, here are some reminders and additional techniques to keep in mind when trying the electric surfboard for the first time.
Gradual acceleration is key
It can be challenging not to gun the throttle when you're pressing up to stand on the electric surfboard. Gradual acceleration and a constant speed are key to ensure the surfboard doesn’t fly out from under you.
You need speed to stand
While you don’t want to suddenly or aggressively accelerate when pressing up to stand, you also don’t want to go too slow. Electric surfboards thanks to the physics of planing—when speed increases, so does the dynamic pressure on the board's hull, which lifts it upward towards the water's surface. If you go too slow while trying to stand, the board may sink down into the water beneath you.
Fins are your friends
Fins provide you with stability and control as you shift weight, steer the board, and turn. Adding fins underneath the hull of your electric surfboard can be helpful when you’re first learning how to ride. Not only will they prevent the electric surfboard from sliding sideways or "skidding out" during turns, but they can also help reduce drag, increase lift, and enhance the board's overall performance.
Every Radinn electric surfboard comes with customizable fin boxes and an included pair of FCS-II fins.
Weight shifting and turning
As you know, the fundamental method for changing direction on an electric jetboard is by shifting your weight. There are few ways to do so while standing, the easiest of which involves ensuring that your feet are shoulder-width distance apart—think about them being on railroad tracks instead of on a tightrope—and then leaning into each foot. To turn left, shift your weight slightly onto your left foot. To turn right, shift your weight slightly onto your right foot.
As you advance, you can play around with different turning techniques, like rocking gently through your toes and heels, or moving your feet slightly to the sides of the board.
Different electric surfing techniques
There are many different ways to level up on an electric surfboard, from hitting tops speeds to performing tricks and jumps
You’ve figured out how to ride an electric surfboard. Now what? One of the many joys of electric surfing is that you never stop learning. You can always find new and exciting challenges, whether it's conquering top speeds or nailing fresh tricks. Here are some ways to level up and discover new finish lines with every single ride.
Hit top speeds
Electric surfboards can go fast. Like, really fast. Many electric surf brands offer multiple settings so you can advance to faster speeds as you get more comfortable on the board.
The Radinn electric surfboard is one of the fastest on the jetboard market, with a top speed of 37 miles per hour (60 kilometers per hour). Our electric surfboards have four speed settings: Easy, Standard, PRO, and UNLEASHEDTM. We suggest starting on Standard mode, and then leveling up to PRO and UNLEASHEDTM as you advance.
Remember, extreme performance doesn’t just mean going faster. It means more acceleration and torque, too. Take each one up a notch and you’ve got an entirely new riding sensation.
Catch air off your own wake
One of the easiest ways to get familiar with aerial surfing is by jumping off your own wake. Maneuver the board around in a circle to where you’ve just surfed and ride over the trail you left behind. Stay low and keep your knees bent to experience liftoff.
Take your aerial surfing to new heights
From perfecting mini punts to practicing the frontside grab, launching off waves has never been easier than on a surfboard with built-in speed. Turbocharge the throttle as you approach choppier swells to score some serious airtime.Footstraps are an awesome way to nail jumps, as they help you stay connected to the board — learn more about them below.
Use foot straps and rails
Some electric surfboards come with added accessories and design features that let you dig deeper, turn faster, and jump higher in the water. Attaching footstraps to your board, for example, kicks up your carving potential by letting you lean more into your feet. It also kicks up your jumping potential as it allows your feet to stay connected to the board as you draw your knees to your chest. The Radinn Strap Kit comes with all Radinn Carve models, and is removable and fully adjustable. You can use one or both straps in various inserts to find the stance that works best for you.
Some electric surfboards are also designed with side rails, or raised handlebars that run parallel to the sides of the board. Side rails are not only practical for transport and handling, they also allow you to make ultra-tight turns. Grab the rail with one of your hands, generously bend your knees, and drop your hips low over the opposite side of the board. Lean back over the water, pulling on the hand holding the side rail as you do. You’ll discover that you can make 180 degree turns and completely reverse directions in a breeze.
Dropping your hips and grabbing the the opposite side rail of the electric jetboard allows you to fully reverse directions
Master rail-to-rail transitions
Looking to make super smooth turns on an electric surfboard? Ease up on the throttle, shift your weight back on the board, and shuffle towards the side you want to turn. Start by just moving your back foot until you’re comfortable walking side to side.
Get playful with new tricks
There are an endless number of tricks you can try on the electric surfboard, from smooth-water moves like slides and spins to high-swell stunts like jumps and grabs. One of our favorites is the cross-step to hang-ten. We recommend trying it first with fins for added stability!
Electric surfing in different bodies of water
Compared to traditional surfing, electric surfing opens up a world of possibilities. After all, you don’t need waves or wind to hit the water. But not all bodies of water are created equal. Here’s what you can expect when e-surfing in different locations and conditions, and what kind of boards work best for each.
Lakes, ponds, and bays
The Radinn Freeride holds the perfect balance between stability and versatility, making it a great pick for the smooth waters you often find on lakes, ponds, and bays
Lakes, ponds, and bays are great places to learn how to ride an electric surfboard as they’ll bless you with some of the glassiest waters that you can find. Depending on the weather conditions, you can also encounter white water or chop at these locations, but it’s rare that you’ll find big swells and breaks.
For lakes, ponds, and bays we recommend riding an electric surfboard that offers equal parts stability and versatility like the Radinn Freeride, so that you can really glide over those smooth, calm waters.
Oceans and seas
The Radinn Carve has a lightweight and agile design, making it a great pick for the high swells you often find in the ocean or at sea
Riding an electric surfboard across the ocean or sea, whether launching from the beach or from a boat, can deliver a wide range of conditions depending on the wind and weather. You can certainly encounter smooth and glassy waters on the ocean, but more likely, your ocean ride will have a choppier and somewhat rougher surface.
Depending on where you live, you may also encounter big swells and breaks when riding an electric surfboard on the ocean. These conditions are great for moderate to advanced riders who really want to challenge themselves. When riding an electric surfboard in breaks, we suggest selecting a model that is lightweight and agile, like the Radinn Carve. The decreased buoyancy allows the jetpack to lie slightly deeper in the water and prevents air from entering into the waterjet in choppier conditions.
Rivers, streams, and canals
The Radinn X-Sport has an ultra-durable hull construction, making it a great pick for rocky rivers that can run a higher risk of scrapes and abrasions
Like the ocean, riding an electric jetboard across rivers, streams, and canals can result in various water and surface conditions. The most important things to keep in mind when taking the board out in these locations are to be mindful of both current and depth. River currents can deplete the battery life faster than usual, and shallow, rocky river bottoms can damage the hull of the board.
That’s why we recommend Radinn X-Sport for rivers, streams, and canals, which is made with our newly-developed XDL Hull Tech construction. The X-Sport’s wear-resistant design can truly handle the roughest of surf sessions, so you can focus less on scuffing the sides and more on enjoying your rides.
Electric surfboard safety precautions
There are many types of electric surfboards out there, and some pose more safety concerns than others. Jetboards, for example, are often considered a safer choice of hardware than foilboards or efoils, since they’re driven by a fully-caged impeller and there are no wings, masts or fuselages to pose a danger during setup and use.
No matter what electric surfboard you’re practicing on, it’s important to adhere to the following safety precautions to maximize fun and minimize risk while on the water.
- Wear appropriate protective gear, including a life jacket and helmet
- Familiarize yourself with the user manual and understand the features of your electric surfboard
- Practice in calm conditions and avoid restricted areas
- Practice in relatively empty areas, away from other boaters and swimmers
- Be mindful of local rules and regulations
- Ensure your electric surfboard is equipped with a kill switch for when you fall off
- Handle the battery safely and follow the manufacturer guidelines
- Consider riding with a buddy or informing someone of your plans
- Consider riding with a whistle to call to attention in the case of an emergency
- Check the weather and water conditions before you go out to avoid hazardous situations
- Stay updated on any new safety guidelines that may come out
Now you know how to successfully master the thrill of electric surfing. By practicing throttle control, easing into standing, and working on your stance, skills, and stunts, you’ll be well prepared to embark on some amazing electric surfboard adventures.
And remember, practice makes progress. You may not get up your first time on the electric surfboard, but keep trying. By the end of your first few sessions on the water, you’ll be riding like a pro.
Is it hard to ride an electric surfboard?
Electric surfboards are relatively easy to learn how to use and most riders are standing within their first few sessions on the water, even if they've had no prior boarding experience.
How do you control an electric surfboard?
Most electric surfboards are controlled using a handheld remote and throttle mechanism, which connects to the jetpack and allows the rider to manage the speed and acceleration of the electric surfboard with smooth and precise control.Sign up for our newsletter