Local inventor's engine-powered surfboard changing the face of surfing

WaveJet has sold more than 600 worldwide

SOLANA BEACH, Calif. - A Solana Beach man's invention is making waves across the surfing world.

Mike Railey first had an idea 13 years ago to put the technology of a WaveRunner watercraft into his surfboard.

"I went down to the hobby shop, bought all the parts, glued it in my board and it leaked and barely worked," Railey told 10News while standing on a Del Mar beach.

Nine years later, the WaveJet was perfected.

Two small engines suck in water from the ocean and push it back out from the belly of the board. The WaveJet engine itself is built in Santee.

A Bluetooth wristband turns the engine on and off with a press of a button. It gives the rider up to 20 pounds of thrust -- enough to let a surfer stand on his board as he rides out over the breakers without paddling. It also gives surfers a boost when they need one.

"I'm able to go out on really big days where it's a struggle to get out or even get into the wave," said Railey.

More than 600 WaveJets have been sold at roughly $4,500 each.

Lifeguards in North Carolina and Rhode Island are also using the board to save lives. Lifeguards can hold on to a person while the WaveJet does all the "paddling."

The technology also allows with disabilities to surf with ease.

Next up for WaveJet? Railey told 10News they're working on a jet for ocean kayaks.

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