Just add water


It seems that when talking about toys for superyachts in today’s ever changing market, the buzz word is electric. Jet powered and petrol driven wakeboards, single person submarines in the shape of sharks and water jet propelled moon boots are all being pushed to the back of the closet by battery power. Silent and non polluting, the electric bike is king quickly followed by wake boards and seabobs. These are the toys that are walking

out of the door according to experts in the supply chain.

“It used to be jetboards but right now it is the electric foils,” says Romina Ruoss at Lampuga in Germany. “Superyachts are choosing the electric foils because they are simple and maintenance free. They are small, light and compact so easy to store. The foils use very little battery so the ride time is fantastic. They are new, exciting and different to anything else on the market,” she adds.
Josh Richardson at Superyacht Tenders and Toys says, “Lift eFoils are selling like hot cakes at the moment. They are an electric hydrofoil surfboard and give you the experience of flying over water.

Definitely one of my personal favourite products and one I have had a lot of hands-on experience riding them. They are a great product for a newbie who is starting to get a grip on the powered surfboard craze. But equally they are truly great for the more experienced user who is happy to throw the board into big swooping curves whilst foiling. We also wanted to sell a non foiling option of the same thing. It’s taken some time to find it but we have finally found Radinn, a product in this industry that we are happy with, the battery lasts and the board performs. When I was riding these boards to test them, I was very impressed with their performance and capability.”

Vitalij Reidel of OLO Boards in Hamburg Germany makes electronic surfboards but is happy that the superyacht market is embracing change and coming up with exciting products. He says, “The great news is that there is a continuous flow of new and interesting toys. Be it little submarines, amphibious vehicles or electric surfboards.” He adds, “I’m a little biased here but I strongly believe that electric surfboards are the new thing on the market. Take our OLO electric surfboard our board is definitely going level while at the same time it is super easy to learn. If you have never surfed before, I promise you within 5 minutes you are going to hit at least 35km/h with a big smile on your face.”

Watersports do tend to dominate the toys purchased for use on board superyachts but Romina Ruoss at Lampuga has seen a rise in the demand for electric bikes. She says, “I’m surprised to see how electric bicycles, scooters and cars have taken off. Electric vehicles for land use are often outselling jetboards and water toys at the moment.” Certainly, Gocycle are selling bikes in very large numbers to superyachts. Conrad Allum, the company’s communication manager says, “The new quick fold CX model folds away in less than 10 seconds and means yacht crew can pack them away or get them ready for guest use quickly and without a lot of fuss.” Top end Gocycles the likes of the G3 are very popular for owner use and the more budget GS model is a favourite for yachts seeking smartly styled electric bikes for on board use. Many crew are opting to buy these for their own personal use taking them from boat to boat when they switch jobs.

Thierry Manni is the Founder and CEO of Stajvelo and is passionate about bikes and the feeling of freedom you get when you ride. He says, “We all remember the moment of intense satisfaction the first time we rode a bike without training wheels or took our first long bike ride. No other mode of transport fills us with as much emotion or makes as much sense. Biking is the most environmentally-friendly mode of transport that exists. With Stajvelo, I wanted to create the bicycle of my dreams.

An urban e-bike featuring never-before-used technologies, rooted in a philosophy of simplicity, ecology, comfort, design, and above all, riding pleasure. Manni says “Our RV01 was created using highly Advanced Injected Composites, giving it a distinctive design unique to this material. It meets the highest standards of recyclability, safety, comfort, and fine finishing. It features automatic electronic gear shifting and a battery integrated into the frame. It has clear lines and a totally new directional frame geometry. It offers ideal comfort and user-friendliness. Each RV01 receives a custom fit according to the rider’s body measurements. Its chainless transmission system uses a carbon belt, meaning cleanliness and low maintenance, and the axial hydraulic braking system offers complete safety and stability.”

But if electricity is gaining a foothold in the non polluting world of superyacht toy enjoyment so too is sailing. Equally green and harnessing free power it is catching on quickly too. Emmanuel Bertrand CEO at Tiwal a company based in Vannes, France, has seen the trend swing in favour of the sailing yacht. He says, “Guests are turning towards more eco-responsible activities. They are looking for activities in contact with nature, but activities which are always big in sensation. Sailing is constantly on the up. Especially with the introduction of inflatable technology on small sailboats. Our Tiwal sailing boats are compact and practical. Being inflatable they are easier to use by being both comfortable and safer for guests.” He adds, “The choice of superyacht toys is now huge. But sailing toys, especially inflatable ones, are being bought more frequently now than in the past. Sailing is once again becoming an important activity for the elite. It conveys values and a unique pleasure. We are seeing it very clearly today with the interest in the new Tiwal 2 inflatable dinghy.”

Josh Richardson offers a range of sailing yachts and the fact that he has three recommendations seems to back up this trend. His first recommendation is the Flying Mantis. “It is,” he says, “A very new dinghy and recently won the dinghy of the year award for 18/19. It’s a fully carbon foiling trimaran which is just as fun to sail as a lowrider (non foiling for the beginners) as it is for the experienced. Tested here on our local lake it comes highly recommended by the Superyacht Tenders & Toys team. Continuing to expand on sailing dinghies he has to offer superyachts Josh says, “A new concept which I was introduced to during Dusseldorf this year. A foiling dinghy that’s got a price point to appeal to a wider audience (cheaper than others!). Unlike the Moths and Waszps its far more stable and achievable for all. Richardson’s final recommendation is the Reverso. He says, “This is a non foiling dinghy that is designed to pack down into an average estate car’s boot… an impressive idea for yachts with a lack of storage who want a rigid dinghy rather than a Tiwal or MiniCat inflatable.”

It is not all about foiling. ‘Normal’ sports like golf on board are making a comeback. Yacht Golf is becoming very popular on the larger yachts. Superyacht Tenders & Toys have sold numerous greens with golf club sets, plus matts using both floating and biodegradable golf balls.

Then there is the computer generated golf experience simulator. This is a very cool option which is now being fitted to a new build yacht design. It utilises projectors, sensors, and real world courses to give the most realistic experience to the player. This is a good product for a group to pay a fun/competitive round of golf without straying from the comfort of the yacht.
They have also had a run of requests for custom carbon games decks like the one created on the bow of Anna. There Superyacht Tenders and Toys created a five-a-side football court with astroturf and carbon goals. Custom designed toys are becoming increasingly dominant in the world of superyachts. There has been a rush in the custom painted, reupholstered carbon fibre sit down Jetski market during the 2018/19 season. Customised toys are becoming so popular that Superyacht Tenders & Toys have employed a full time in-house engineer and technician to solely work on custom products. Richardson says, “Anything is possible from custom painting, upholstering, carbon iPad mounts / accessories, sound systems, depth sounders etc.”

One of the most bonkers bits of kit out there, is not new but now that it is CE certified, the Seabreacher is attracting more attention given that it can now be sold in the EU. When it comes to new to the market the latest Seabob is the F5SR, a unit which includes 10% extra power than the F5 with built-in forward facing and selfie camera. Foiling wakesurfing boards, wakeskates and wakeboards are great options to have for towing behind the Nautique and all go to prove that foiling is the latest craze and the next step with a lot of sports!

If you feel the need to slow down and take a more leisurely approach, the Node is an eco friendly recycled SUP that is thriving in the market place and selling well riding the current trend in green living. For those seeking to fully submerge themselves the Peter Diving unit is not really new but is now becoming more accepted and requested by superyachts more frequently. It is perfect for shallow reef experiences, especially for the non-experienced scuba divers that still want to get an underwater experience.

Representing Bic Sport, Benoit Tréguilly says, “Our stand up paddle board SUP currently tops our best-selling sports category.” He adds, “They are ideal for those active superyacht guests who want to explore their anchorages more closely or do a bit of sport either in the morning or evening. The SUP is an ideal activity because it mixes exploring and exercise. We say that it is like doing sport without realising it, as you are having so much fun paddling and exploring that you often forget that you are also getting a good work out. All of the watersport products produced by BIC are particularly easy to store on board a superyacht.”

“Some time ago the idea of creating a water equivalent of a go-cart ignited our imagination,” says Pawel Siezieniewski of 3Bros in Poland. He says, “We were wondering how to bring a greater number of people on the water. We wanted people, without the need to have a motorboat license, to safely taste the freedom and adrenaline while racing across the waves.

We thought it unfair that terrain racers have their mini-equivalents in the form of go-carts, and there has never been anything like that on the water before. So we decided to turn our visions into reality! Our own tests and the opinions of people who have had the opportunity to try, clearly confirm that we have succeeded. The 3bros ONE go-cart does not require a license, because the basic version is powered by a 9.9 horsepower engine, which safely allows it to legally operate at speeds of upto 35 knots.”

Somewhat more gentile is the underwater sea bike from Sea Bike. Its Russian creators have done what the name suggests and created a propeller driven bike that you pedal underwater. Olga Bazanova from Sea Bike says it can be used for pure fun as well as for exploring the underwater world. When folded and packed, the Sea Bike is not more than 70 cm long and weighs 3.5 kg: this package will be conveniently stored aboard any yacht.

Way back in the late 1980s, Richard Boissevain and Paul Jobin were working for the same financial organisation in London, when Richard noticed on Paul’s desk a trophy of a kite crowning Paul ‘European Stunt Kite Champion’. This sparked the idea for a new enterprise and soon after they formed their company. Nearly 25 years on TKC Sales has grown into one of the leading distributors of action sports and active leisure products in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Products now take in beach, street, snow, bike, mountain and outdoor sports. Chances are the superyacht garage has several bits of TKC kit onboard.

Marjan Rožman is the CEO of Quadrofoil in Slovania and the man behind an innovative team who have conceived the all electric aquatic rideable Quadbike. The Q2A, is their entry level model to what is perhaps the next generation of watercrafts. It allows the driver to experience the amazing feeling of freedom while soaring along just above the water. The 3.7 kW electric motor and a 5.2 kWh battery pack form an ideal combination of power and energy efficiency that will, in most corners of the world, let guests cut through the water without a boating license or registration.

Josh Richardson tells us that inflatable toys are still high on the toy request list. Again they are proving the trend towards a noise frees non-polluting form of water entertainment. “Yacht Blob,” he says “is a simple yet potentially extreme thrill for guests. We supply both standard and custom Blobs, but the maddest request was for a 14m x 9m Blob onto which three crew were jumping at the same reinforced sides to help them hold shape alongside the yacht, rather than the yacht camp style which always collapsed and were meant to use in a lake with no wind or waves.” On a personal note, he adds, “We are working on some more easy to handle inflatables which can self-deploy minimising handling for crew and thus increasing owners enjoyment. Space onboard is always at a premium and electric and inflatable toys seem to be getting smaller and lighter which can only be a good thing.

Yacht Joust is another fun inflatable product where the guests can destress and beat each other over the head with inflatable jousts!

With camera ready drones from suppliers such as DJI and GoPro, technology is playing its part in keeping the superyacht toy market hot. Where the market is clearly slowing down is a guest’s desire to go waterskiing. Ten years ago it was all the rage but today the sport is almost extinct on board superyachts with guests preferring to wakesurf and wakeboard.

The simple thrill of a towable has now been replaced with a vast array of other more exciting toys. Captains are reporting that their guests seem to be adopting a weekend warrior attitude where they look for toys which are a quick thrill but with no skill in a way that will suit everyone especially on charter yachts.

Vitalij Reidel at OLO Boards agrees saying, “Most of the toys on the market now did not exist in the same way 10 years ago. There has been a great development in the variety of toys. Obviously, pretty much every Yacht owns a jet ski nowadays. So maybe this is a segment that may see a little decline.” Jetskis and petrol jetboards are becoming less popular, says Romina Ruoss at Lampuga. She adds, “This is because of maintenance issues, noise and pollution.”

So what will the future bring to the superyacht toy market? “More and more electric toys,” says Josh Richardson. “There seems to be a lot of investment into this area.”
Emmanuel Bertrand, says, “We are moving towards activities that, while remaining accessible, require a certain amount of technical expertise and know-how. The guests seek to challenge each other, to undertake activities close to nature, to play with the elements.”

Romina Ruoss believes, “The future of superyacht toys is simple. Electric, good run time, quick charge time, small, light, compact and believe it or not cheaper. Even the biggest superyachts are buying all of the cheaper boards and toys now. Vitalij Reidel says, “I am of the opinion that we are going to see more and more electrically powered toys on the market. As the battery technology advances there are endless possibilities in creating new and exciting water toys. What counts at the end is that our superyacht toys offer joy, excitement and entertainment to our customers.”

But what is it that has made having toys on board become such an important issue for yacht owners, their guests and those who charter the yacht? Josh Richardson thinks, “A lot of it is that people are more health focussed and enjoy getting out of real life and onto the water where there is also less distractions from real life. It is one of those moments you can focus on enjoying yourself without every social media and email bleeping in your pocket every 5 seconds. The industry has embraced it as a selling point for owners. I guess the trend of younger owners are also more adventurous and physically fit too.”

Emmanuel Bertrand says, “Guests are looking for special experiences. Their stay on board must give them a break from their daily life. Activities offered on board are designed to do just that and allow them to experience sporting adventures, new experiences and new sensations to share with friends and family. Burgess reported that one of their clients, who had chartered one of their superyachts, had spent his time sailing the Tiwal 3 with his son. When it came to the following year’s charter, this customer had made it a condition that the new yacht had a Tiwal 3 on board.”

Vitalij Reidel says, “Yacht owners, their guests and those who charter yachts are mostly very busy people with a limited amount of time they are able to spend on the yachts. So once they are on board they expect quality time for themselves, their family and guests. Having toys on board is just that: quality time for all guests, from kids to adults. And these are the rare moments when adults become kids again. One of our customers charters a yacht for his family and friends every summer. He recently bought OLO surfboards for his daughters and has now told me that the girls only agreed to a yacht vacation this summer if they can bring along their OLO surfboards.”

Romina Ruoss at Lampuga believes, “The superyacht industry has become so competitive and they are all the same thing at the same locations charging the same prices so people are basing their choices on what toys are onboard so it’s really important to have a wide variety of toys for all ages and for different levels of experience in the water. When people charter superyachts now the first question they ask is what toys are on board.”

Whatever brand is mentioned in answer to that question the chances are in today’s market you will definitely be told there is a selection of electric aquatic rideables, along with the now traditional slides, inflatables, jetbikes and of course the SEABOB.