Where are they now?
I recently happened upon this article written by JustLuxe speaking of the best water toys of 2012.
Given that it has been ten years since this article was written, I wanted to drop in on each item to see how they have fared/progressed since it was written. The article detailed nine fascinating/expensive vehicles, and I want to start with the hits first.
HIT: First up is the Jetlev-Flyer:
In JetLev’s own words:
Our incredible personal flying machines combine their powerful engines and unique designs with water nozzle repulsion force to achieve stable, controlled flights. A digital fly-by-wire system is used to activate the throttle.
Initially available in 2012 at the cost of $130,000, it is fair to say pricing on this item has become more affordable. I have seen this thrill-seeking ride everywhere, and it is available to rent or buy. The starting price of $4400 will get you an add-on pack that will work with your existing Waverunner watercraft. Jetlev has a variety of compatible watercraft available for purchase to complete the package starting at $33,000 and up. I think it is fair to say this was and still is quite successful in the years since the article was written.
HIT: The next featured item in the article is the Scubacraft SC6.
In Scubacrafts own words:
The patented technology transforms the buoyancy of our high performance, ventilated composite monocoque hull that combines RIB tube technology to allow precise control when transitioning from surface to underwater and also whilst resurfacing. Powered underwater by electric thrusters and batteries to deliver hydrodynamic control whilst a compact combustion engine drives the jet propulsion system that thrusts the air entrapment hull, delivering an exhilarating, air cushioned ride with outstanding maneuverability.
The premise of this semi-submersible craft is the ability to perform at a high level, and speed on the water surface yet maintain the ability to submerge and survey the underwater surroundings. Its goal is to explore underwater without causing a significant disturbance, hence the slow underwater travel speed of 3mph.
HIT: Next on the list is the Cayago Seabob F5.
In Cayago’s own words:
Leisurely gliding. Sporty driving in the water. Safe diving under water. All this is possible with a SEABOB-Jet. Now you can actually move through the water like a fish. Freely, both on the surface and at depth.
Here is a motorized vessel to convey the average swimmer through large bodies of water at a nice clip. Expect speeds over 12mph on top of the water and slightly slower underneath (11mph). This device was packed with plenty of safety features and a pre-set depth engine cut off to prevent from submerging too far.
HIT: The WaterCar
I recently wrote an article on the “World’s Fastest Amphibious Vehicle,” and you can read about this WaterCar here:
The price tag hovers around $200,000 and is still a little out of reach for most average consumers, but this company is still doing well.
HIT: Another success story is Iguana Yachts.
In Iguana Yacht’s own words:
From day one, we placed our bets on technology. When we launched the adventure in 2008, there were but a few who believed that it was possible to design and manufacture at sea, robust, durable, powerful boats, capable of going in and out the water regardless of the coastline. This is our DNA — it really is what makes us tick and is embodied in our Research Unit, our design office, our craftsmen and all of our teams.
With a starting price of $327,000, you are paying for a boat with no need for a boat launch. Make a note of the attached all-terrain tracks affixed to the bottom of the vessel.
HIT: How about this Flying Hovercraft featured in Hammacher Schlemmer.
In Hammacher Schlemmer’s words:
Operating in fresh- or saltwater and up to 30% inclines over sand, mud, grass, swamp, desert, ice, and snow, its wings and horizontal elevator enable pilots to simply hop over water- or land-based obstacles up to 20'-high insurmountable to a typical hovercraft.
I initially thought this was discontinued, but they are still selling this at the hefty price tag of $190,000 per vehicle. Expect speeds of 70MPH above water with those integrated wings. This craft can traverse waves as high as six feet.
Now for the MISSES.
MISS?: The EGO Semi-Submersible.
I have this marked as questionable as the website is a bit sketchy with this item. (The website hasn’t been updated since 2012). The concept seemed to be a good one and unique to boot. This boating vessel would be the best of both worlds as it could be maneuvered like a boat, with a submerged compartment to experience the sea beneath. You can find a few videos on Youtube, but I wouldn’t trust this vessel in rough waters. The jury is still out on this one if it is still available for sale.
MISS: Next is the FLYNANO.
In FLYNANO’s own words:
The FlyNano is extremely light (under 70kg) thanks to innovative design solutions and an advanced carbon fibre composite construction. Wingspan is nearly 5 meters, nose to tail 3.5 m, and height 1.3 m. Maximum take off weight is 200 Kg. Speed range 70–140 km/h with a service ceiling of 3000 m.
As I understand it, they have yet to sell one model of this. Their website has been taken down as of this writing, which is not a good sign. (I have linked to their Facebook page above)
It was a boat/small seaplane. Unfortunately, they hoped to launch this to the public back in 2012. As they have yet to sell any units, I can only assume things have not gone to plan.
MISS: Powerski Jet Board.
In Powerski’s own words:
PowerSki Jetboard is an innovative motorized surfboard that combines the sports of wakeboarding and surfing. Each surfboard features a low profile 45 HP engine that propels the rider at an insane speed of up to 40 mph.
This item may have done well for a certain period, but all traces of a website and the ability to buy this have disappeared (I have linked to their Facebook page above). Fierce competition within this market segment and changing interests may have been the deciding factor.
Conclusion: No matter how much a luxury item costs, there is no guarantee it will succeed if there isn’t a market for it or the product does not perform as promised. Of the nine items from 2012’s JustLuxe article, 66% or six of the items are still being sold today in some form. This is not bad, considering how hard times have been over the last few years. Let’s see what the next ten years hold for these manufacturers!