Electric Valo Hyperfoil to transform water sports, the brainchild of an Aussie startup founder

    Have you ever considered getting a jetski, well there’s a new watercraft that may steal your heart and your dollars. The all-electric Valo Hyperfoil has wings under the water that lift the hull out of the water, allowing it to be very fast while also using very little energy. It also unlocks unsurpassed agility and control that is not possible on a jetski.

    Tech start-up Valo has revealed more details of its new personal watercraft, the Valo Hyperfoil.

    Currently, an alpha prototype, the product is real and there are multiple videos on their Instagram channel of it in flight, offering a much smoother ride through waterways, while retaining the fun offered by Jetskis.

    Valo says the unique new product has already seen immense demand from consumers, with the limited production run of Founder’s Edition vehicles to be built in 2024 already being oversubscribed by 300%.

    The general production run is scheduled for 2025 with pre-orders currently open. 

    The Valo Hyperfoil is a two-person, high-performance, all-electric thrill ride that marks the evolution of the jet ski. Having moved from concept to first prototype in a matter of months, the rapid pace of development matches the scintillating performance and handling that it offers riders. The craft features a twin-foil setup with a 45kW drive motor and proprietary Skyride flight stabilization system. 


    It’s a dream that Ed Kearney – the company’s founder and CEO – has held since childhood when his father showed him a video of an early foiler.

    I was about 12 or 13 years old, and my dad – who was an inventor kind of guy – showed me this video of some MIT students who had built a pedal-powered hydrofoil boat that broke the world record for a human-powered boat because it was so efficient.

    I remember asking myself, why aren’t all boats like this? Here is a technology that can completely revolutionize how we transport things on the water by making them ten times more efficient and incredibly comfortable at the same time.

    Ed Kearney – the company’s founder and CEO

    Born and raised in Australia and studying engineering before moving to California seven years ago, Kearney noticed that there was not much in the way of commercial hydrofoil development.

    “So I said why don’t we just do this? I wanted to create something no one else was making, because it was captivating and the world needed it.” 


    The Valo Hyperfoil offers some impressive specs, offering great speed, and battery life and of course, being an EV, is quieter than most waterborne vehicles.

    Seats2 seats
    Cruise speed (Vcruise)25 mph
    Max speed (Vmax)42 mph
    Range at cruise speed68 mi, 107 km
    Endurance at cruise speed2.3 hours
    Take off speed (VTo)15 mph
    Control SystemSkyride™ active stabilisation
    Empty vehicle weight730 lbs, 330 kg
    Max takeoff weight1100 lbs, 500 kg
    Useable payload375 lbs, 170 kg
    Charging time80% in 3 hours
    Length10.5 ft, 3.2 m
    Beam3.9 ft, 1.2 m
    Draft (foils retracted)1.3 ft, 0.4 m
    Draft (foils deployed)4.3 ft, 1.3 m

    Taking flight 

    Drawing on the expertise of pioneering foiling naval architect Paul Bieker who serves as a consulting designer on Valo’s designs, the company have been developing rapidly, iterating on the Valo Hyperfoil design.

    The team added CTO Reo Baird in early 2023, a tech entrepreneur and boat fanatic who had previously been developing foiling boats with the company Navier. So rapid was the development, that the product moved from concept to prototype in just six months, showing not only the pace and flexibility of an agile start-up but also proving that the concept was built on rock-solid design and engineering principles. 

    Since then, the team has tweaked the design to further enhance the experience for riders, moving to a twin-foil canard system for the foils aligned fore and aft on the centreline, and with the aft strut also housing the shaft-driven propulsion unit.

    The new design has resulted in 33% less strut drag than the alpha prototype while conferring improved stability and agility, and an increased maximum bank angle. Anhedral (swept-down) wings now deliver 30% more roll authority and contribute to the improved max bank angle. 

    Technological two-step 

    At the core of the Valo Hyperfoil’s performance is the clever foil package and shaft-driven propulsion system, which can propel the craft at a max speed of 35 knots while offering over 2 hours of endurance, good for more than 60 miles on a single charge.

    When combined with the proprietary Skyride active stabilization software, the Valo Hyperfoil represents a double step forward in marine mobility. 

    Skyride is developed fully in-house and has the role of keeping the vehicle stable as it slices through the water and waves. Hydrofoil vehicles are inherently unstable and hard to control since their center of gravity is very high above the point of support, just like walking on long stilts or riding a unicycle – balancing something very top-heavy is hard. Added to that, the vehicle has to operate very close to the surface of the water without going too high or too low. 

    Skyride solves this by combining data from various sensors around the Valo Hyperfoil and using aerospace-derived algorithms to deliver hundreds of micro-adjustments per second to the various mechanical actuators that control the craft to keep it stable and agile. 

    The Valo Hyperfoil is fully computer stabilized, and when you turn it enters into what’s called a coordinated banked turn.

    Think of it exactly like when a plane banks and turns, you don’t feel you are being pushed out of the turn and your coffee doesn’t spill because the forces run straight up and down through your vertical axis.
    This is how the Valo Hyperfoil turns using the Skyride software, and it’s truly exhilarating – and it allows for tight, highly precise turns. Making it feel good is not that straightforward – it’s something we’ve worked on a lot and it’s something we’ve solved!

    CTO Reo Baird explains.

    The software also allows for various modes – normal and sport, for example – while including full safety features.

    The sport mode is designed to deliver much more exhilaration with sharper and harder handling, but there are also lots of safety elements at the limit to make sure you can’t roll the Valo Hyperfoil over or crash. The software does have a more controlled hand in how the Valo Hyperfoil behaves.

    We also want to make sure the driver feels like he is controlling the vehicle. It’s not like using cruise control on a car – it’s heavily weighted to the inputs on steering and throttle from the rider but while maintaining full stability to keep it safe. It’s a very delicate balance and it’s one I think we’ve struck perfectly.

    CTO Reo Baird explains.

    Practical magic 

    The Valo Hyperfoil is designed to make for a thrilling experience and be as enjoyable as possible, but also to focus on reliability, robustness and practicality. What this means in practice is that construction will draw on high-quality parts, from carbon fiber, titanium and stainless steel for the body construction to selecting known suppliers for the components – the battery system and electric motor, for example, are being sourced from experienced manufacturers in the US and UK respectively. 

    Further, the team has considered how the Valo Hyperfoil is likely to be used when designing key elements. The Valo Hyperfoil can be transported on a standard trailer and beached just like a conventional jet ski thanks to a lifting front canard – the foil slots into a recess in the hull – and a rear strut that tilts similar to an outboard, allowing for shallow water propulsion.

    “It may not seem as simple as having a vertical lifting rear element, but the truth is those vertical lifting struts with drive elements can be a nightmare for jamming down or up. Our solution is both highly reliable and highly practical, which means riders can focus fully on the fun without fear of something going wrong.” 

    Ed Kearney – the company’s founder and CEO

    What’s more, the nod to sustainable boating with zero emissions, noise and wake means Valo Hyoerfoil riders will be able to explore places that other personal watercraft can’t access – and be able to do so without disturbing other people in the same area.

    The Future 

    As Valo Hyperfoil moves toward production, with delivery of the first Founder’s Edition models scheduled for 2024, the company is celebrating the pre-launch success of their creation – they have taken more than US$3.3 million in advance orders already. They are also well into the development of a new product range for boat builders so they can easily enter the electric foiling era. 

    It very much feels like the dawn of a new age for the marine industry, it’s clearly the right time and place for the marine industry to make this move forward toward a new type of marine mobility.

    It’s clean, with zero emissions, zero noise and zero wake; it’s fun, because you can enjoy exhilarating hyperformance in a wide range of sea conditions; it’s safe and comfortable because the Skyride software takes care of everything; and it’s practical, because you can do everything and go anywhere a conventional jet ski can go, and more besides.

    It’s the future, and it’s right here, right now. We’re very excited to be moving into the production phase, and from the number of orders we’ve already received I think there are a lot of excited people out there too.

    Valo CTO Reo Baird.

    As Kearney himself will tell you, “The Future is Foiling.” 

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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