Jet surfiin' safari

Motorized surfboard business debuts in Destin

Savannah Vasquez
The Jet Surf boards are controled by a remote control that can adjust the speed and direction of the boards. [DEVON RAVINE/THE LOG]

There’s a new watersport in Destin and even though it only launched this month, Jet Surf Destin is already making waves.

Best friends Tyler Cornic and Tyler Chenault recently moved to Destin from Memphis, Tennessee, to launch the new water attraction, which they describe as a cross between a wakeboard and a personal watercraft.

“It’s basically a motorized surfboard,” said Chenault. “It was developed in the Czech Republic and has now made it’s way to the states. We trained in Miami and are certified Jet Surf pilots, and we are the only rental company in the United States right now that offers the product for rent.”

Cornic, who also serves as the company’s mechanic, gave more detailed specifics on the inner workings of the Jet Surf.

“It has a 90 cc, two-stroke engine,” he said, explaining that the motor is almost identical to a personal watercraft. “It is water-cooled, 15 horsepower, weighs 30 pounds and can reach speeds up to 40 mph.”

When it comes to the mechanics of riding the Jet Surf, however, both Tyler’s agree that it all comes down to balance — and a familiarity with another board sport is always a plus.

“It is all about balancing on the center of the board and not falling off, obviously,” Chenault said. “The lower you get, the lower center of gravity you have and the less chance you have of falling off the board.

“We’ve been doing board sports our whole lives,” Chenault added. “(Cornic's) been skateboarding his whole life, and I learned to snowboard and wakeboard at a young age. We also picked up longboarding (riding a long skateboard) recently and that’s probably the thing that helped us the most.”

Once they have strapped their feet onto the board (much like a snowboard), the rider holds a wired remote control that controls speed and direction and, if the rider falls off, stops the motor.

When asked how the two found Jet Surf and decided to bring it to Destin, the young entrepreneurs said they love to travel together. They already had visited Destin several times a year from Tennessee, and said they discovered Jet Surf while on vacation in California.

“I took an entrepreneur class in business school and learned that for a business model to work, you have to find your niche and be in the right place at the right time,” Chenault said. “When we went to California, we saw a lot of water sports that they don’t have here. So, we went to Miami and met the Jet Surf distributors and learned that there is only one Jet Surf Academy in the U.S. Now, we want to be the second.”

As for the Jet Surf lessons, both Tylers ensured that beginners don’t take long to pick the sport up.

“We can pretty much guarantee you to get up in 10 to 15 minutes,” Cornic said. “We are here to give you guys an experience that you won’t forget, and something that you never tried before. It’s definitely a lot of fun.”

Jet Surf Destin operates out of boat slip 16 in the HarborWalk Village Marina and currently offers lessons and rentals for 30-minutes up to two hours. Jet Surf riders must be 14 years old or older to participate. To find out more visit, find them on Facebook by searching JetSurf Destin or call 850-900-SURF (7873).