A couple of weeks ago on Motosurfnation, we were pleased to announce that Styx was launching a series of Onean Carver board tests in Montpellier and Toulouse (Southern France). The water was cold ...indeed, but this premiere was too exciting to be missed. Motosurf Nation and Jet Board Limited decided to join forces and take part to this unusual event in order to bring an external analysis and review of this well known product online, while very little known or totally unknown in real-life situations.
January 28, 29 and 30, Motorsurf Nation invited Jet Board Limited to carry out a technical test and review on the soon to be released Onean Carver electric powered jet board. Despite a running website, a rather impressive buzz and a long experience, Aquila later renamed Onean, kept feeding curiosity and skepticism among our industry. Many of us have been wondering if Onean was actually manufacturing its boards, others have doubted seriously about the board reliability. We now know that not only the Carver boards are being manufactured, but also that they are very likely to retain the attention of a specific audience in a close future ... as soon as they are widely available on the market. In this article Wayne Brooks, founder of Jet Board Limited shares his first experience and opinion of the Carver.
Full pics gallery at the end of this article
Event Overview and conditions:
- Survey, product testing and reviewing of the Onean Carver Jet board
- Place: Carnon/Montpellier. Southern France
- Date of test: Sunday 29/01/17 and Monday 30/01/17
- Air temperature: 12°C
- Water temperature: 12°C
- Weather conditions: Bright sunny day/ No wind/ Flat water
- Géraldine Avignon with MotosurfNation.com
- Wayne Brooks and Tania Alcala Soler (Founder and Operations Manager of Jet Board Limited)
- Jordan Delvalée (Founder of Styxboards.com)
- Clara with MoanaShop (Surfer and board tester)
- Lionel (Kitesurf instructor and board tester)
Pre-test Visit & Preview of the Batteries Charging Process
Sunday was a pre test visit to meet Jordan from Styx boards and see how he was operating with his demos. When arriving on the beach the first thing we noticed was a very happy and excited crowd of people around the Onean Carver. The board was definitely attracting our crowd.
The next thing — which is always going to be a problem with electric boards — was a petrol generator to charge the batteries. Something to bare in mind is that these batteries cannot be charged from a car charger so either carry a big petrol generator around with you or know that when the battery dies the board goes home and gets charged again.
Another thing to remember is that even with two batteries and continuous charging if you are lucky enough to get the maximum of 40 minutes on the board and you take the minimum two hours to charge you will always have at least 1 hour and 20 minutes wait in between riding.
Nice Look & Feel
The board itself looked great and it exceeded our expectations from a visual point of view. In general the whole design appeared to look quite good. The board was not as big as it looked in other photos we had seen.
We watched someone take the board out for a test ride and they seemed to do quite well. They got up and stood relatively easily and kept going for the full 15-minute ride. We must mention that he was a reasonably good kite surfer so we did not get to see a complete beginner or novice on the board but we are under the impression that it will be fairly easy for most people.
Very Low Sound Level
The Carver ran with virtually no sound at all which was quite impressive. The board definitely appeared to run quite slowly though and the atmosphere and buzz was one of a slow, calm, peaceful ride.
We left the beach with what appeared to be a very happy instructor with an equally very happy and excited crowd of people. We ourselves were quite excited and looking forward to trying the board on the next day.
Time to hit the water — Technical Review
We arrived on the beach raring to go and super excited about our ride. After carrying out the interview and basic induction it was time to hit the water.
Foot Straps Adjustment
Wayne requested that the foot straps which can easily be adjusted to goofy or natural be set to natural to accommodate him, however it did not really matter which way they were because they didn't seem in the correct position and he would have to stand in front of them anyway. "This put me off because I am a fan of foot straps and I personally believe they are essential for leaning and turning". Apparently the foot straps will be getting fitted further forward and this is a change that we feel needs to be made.
Lightweight Remote Controller and plastic Holder
Convenient Plastic Holder to be Strengthened
We noticed that the rubber and plastic holder for the remote controller had broken after two days, which wasn't a very good first impression so we would have to put it up the sleeve of our dry suite, which would then allow water through the cuff of the sleeve where the cable entered. This was not the end of the world but if were a hot summer day and you weren't wearing a wet suite or dry suite then you would have had a problem and no way or where to keep the remote controller.
Remote controller synchronisation
"All suited and booted, it was time to hit the water. My instructor set the remote control and gave me the green light to go ahead". Before running down to the water we asked if we could start the board first just to make sure it was running. Well, it did not start right away and it took us about 30 minutes to set, re program and get the remote control to work. Thanks to the help of Jon from Onean who brought us live assistance over the phone and gave us some good and detailed advice, after a few more attempts we got it all set and started. This part regarding the remote controller synchronisation will be detailed and further explained in our upcoming forum section entitled "Spares and repairs" sponsored by Jet Board Limited.
While trying to set the remote and get it to work on all these occasions you have to remove the battery to sync them together. Onean did such a great job making sure the battery pack is properly sealed that we found it quite difficult to remove at times and there were occasions where it turned out to be a two and even three-man job. We'd suggest to lubricate the battery pack moving plastic holders as an easy way to solve this issue.
Weight, Size & Handiness
Getting the board to the water was quite easy. We must say that Wayne is 6 foot 2 and about 88 kg though so it was no problem carrying it with one hand in each foot strap, which didn't seem to be a problem either for smaller riders.
"Once in the water I found the remote control to be very easy to use and quite smooth. As you want to go faster you just apply pressure with your thumb and each click adds speed. It seems like a very simple and user friendly way to ride. If you release your thumb it goes back to zero. This part doesn't take any practise and feels very natural. Everyone will be able to work it with great ease".
No overheating issue
We know these boards were overheating and Onean have now solved the problem but the lack of power has us wandering if the engine has been governed and restricted to slow the engine down.
A good board for riders under 80 kg
"I personally felt like I was a bit too heavy for the board and with my weight of about 88 kg and my dry suite I would say I was an easy 90 kg. Once I got up on the board it felt like it was wanting to give up underneath me and I couldn't get enough consistent speed to have a smooth ride and keep standing. The back was basically sinking and the engine was losing power". The board did not feel well balanced for Wayne's weight and he was constantly trying to move forward and find the correct placing for his feet, which was causing him to slip. Turning was an issue as you need to take a very wide and slow turn when you don't have foot straps. I have no doubt that with a bit of practice and effort I could still have some fun on the board but I couldn't help but feel that I was too big and heavy for the board. I just needed that little extra speed and it would have been a lot of fun I am sure. Foot straps in the correct position would have made the world of difference as well".
Having said this we also have to say that we watched the smaller, lighter riders come out of the water feeling very happy and satisfied. "My personal opinion is that anyone over 80 kg is going to be too heavy for this board. The board can very easily handle the weight but the engine doesn't have enough power for bigger people. I would love to see some sort of sliding rails/channels on these boards so each rider could find their sweet spot and place the foot straps where they feel best according to the riders weight".
Warranty terms & Low/No Maintenance
The board comes with a one-year guarantee and there appears to be absolutely nothing to maintain. The engine is a brushless motor and is sealed inside the board so you don't even get to see it. This is great for those who don't want to do anything but ride the board. There appears to be no inspection or access hatch to get to the engine so we are assuming that if the engine packs up after the one year guarantee you buy a new board.
The Carver Potential
Yes the board has potential to be a great affordable and safe equipment for starters, families, rental centers, those that are happy with 30 to 40 minutes of chilled out but fun riding and anyone under 80kg. Onean has done well to get this far and we are confident many people will be very happy with the board as it is.
Tania who was with us for the testing is a lot smaller and lighter than Wayne and although she was not ready to brave the cold and test the board said "I loved the fact that the board was quiet and slower. The slow peaceful ride appeals to me and the fact that I do not have to keep maintaining, fixing and replacing parts is a big positive". So yes the board definitely has a place in the market for people like Tania.
Any suggestions that would make you buy a Carver for yourself?
"Well I'd hope to see a slightly more powerful version with straps in the correct place and a few of the little issues sorted out. It is fine to say the board has a one year guarantee but it's a big board to be posting to the factory and the postage will not be cheap. Would I buy the board for someone lighter and smaller? Yes I would and my pre order board will be getting collected on our next trip to Spain."
We wish Onean nothing but success and are happy to say they have done well to get this far. We will be following their progress closely and we look forward to bringing you updates.
Partnership on this event: