« Hinge Packing Tape | Home | Teeth Mug »

July 24, 2010

Waterbird — Episode 2: Trampofoil

megancyber was kind enough to email me a link to the Sweden-based Waterbird website after the Episode 1 post on July 19, 2010.

She quoted the opening paragraph on the Swedish homepage, to wit: "At first glance you wouldn´t believe that this invention and piece of metal will stay afloat let alone cruise through the water like a boat. The original invention by Alexander Sahlin, a Swedish engineer, was shown at the Stockholm Waterfestival in the early 90´s. As many times before Swedish inventions end up abroad where someone else ends up making all the buck. This time after a change of material to the better, and design, to the worse, by an American."

It's the very least I can do, then, to give a shout-out here to the inventor, Alexander Sahlin.

Who named his invention the Trampofoil®.

From an entry — in fact, the entry — on the Trampofoil® website, dated April 6, 2004:


The Trampofoil is a human-powered hydrofoil with flapping wing propulsion.

The Trampofoil gets its supporting and propelling force completely from the hydrodynamic lift on its hydrofoils.

The athlete jumps with both feet together and pushes the hydrofoil alternately up and down.

The vehicle is normally started and landed on a jetty and it is not possible to start from the water with the present configuration.

The speed interval is from 2.5 to 6 m/s (5-12 knots).

The current distance record is 11.5 km (A. Sahlin 1997).

The Trampofoil is not available for purchase at the moment.

All ideas and proposals on how to start up the production again are welcome.

We can be reached by e-mail at: [email protected] .


I like the Waterbird website's admonition: "Remember that speed is of the essence. Otherwise you will sink."

In this it takes a page from Emerson, who wrote that "In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed."

A variation on the theme of "When you're walking on eggshells, don't hop."

Which is what Warren Oates said to Roy Scheider in the 1983 film "Blue Thunder."

The Waterbird site closes, "Patience is important and will be rewarded soon with a lot of joy and happy moments."

Sounds like a prolix fortune cookie, and applies equally well outside the Waterbird space.

$710 (€550).

I wonder if Sahlin has ever seen one krona from his invention.

July 24, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Waterbird — Episode 2: Trampofoil:


If it didn't require the user to be in excellent physical condition and look like an idiot, I think this could succeed. I'm thinking a bow-flex branded version sold via infomercials.

Posted by: Rex | Jul 24, 2010 12:44:59 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.