Wet and Wild Watercraft

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Powerboard watercraft

For as long as there have been floating boards people have been doing crazy things on them in the water, and when they add motor power it becomes a powerboard.

Powerboard brochure main photos

As far as we know the first watercraft called Powerboard was an Australian invention from the late 1980s. It combined a sit in wave ski type of hull with outboard motor power to provide a wild and wet ride.

Now there are many motorised boards, sit, stand or lie on, outboard or inboard, that people call powerboards, but these pics are of the original Powerboard!

These original aussie Powerboards were made of fiberglass in single and two seater models typically running 5 to 15hp outboard motors and could do 15 to 30 knots depending on the motor.

The motors were mounted in a floatation cowling to stop them getting dunked and were fixed in a straight ahead position.

Steering was by the rider leaning in the direction they wanted to go and with practice the boards were very manoeuvrable.

Powerboards were sold in many countries with local dealers or owners supplying the motors and there are still many active Powerboarders out there.

Note: we have managed to get hold of an original Powerboard promo film clip on video tape and will display it here as soon as it is converted to digital.

Tandem Powerboard on the beach

Tandem Powerboard
airborne Powerboard
from Powerboard brochure

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November 25, 2010 at 1:03 pm
  • June 20, 2011 at 12:20 pmscott

    hello.. I live in australia & recently bought a single seater 1988 powerboard. I plan to put a2stroke johnson 8hp on it. In time i will send u a link to view once it’s on the water..
    I would luv to see that promo clip..
    Could u please email it to me once transferred to digital ?? Thankyou..

  • January 22, 2012 at 9:40 amBridget

    Do you know of any that are for sale?

  • January 22, 2012 at 11:35 amthe mariner

    Hi everyone, apologies for letting this website sit without the planned updates. Crashed computers, relationship crisis, house move, all that stuff got in the way. Hopefully a lot more will be added to the site over the next month or so, including the promised Powerboard video.

    Bridget, I hear of Powerboards bought in Australia from time to time, and there must be a lot more in countries like Canada where they were pretty popular. Old Powerboards never die it seems! What are you looking for, and for what type of use? I can ask the usual suspects…


  • January 29, 2012 at 10:25 pmjeremie

    je m’apelle françois je suis français originaire de la bretagne et je vien de faire l’aquisition d’un power board importer d’australie il sera motorisé avec un 5 cv suzuki 2 temps,je vous envoie des photos dés que possible.

  • June 26, 2012 at 11:48 ampaul

    hey ive been looking for one and posting on sites for a while, if someone knew of someone in ANY country where there for sale could u please let me know cheers

    • August 18, 2014 at 2:27 amGary

      I have two that are for sale in Ontario Canada

  • September 9, 2013 at 1:37 pmSteve

    I have 6 of the power boards 1 sill new all from the 80s
    What is the laws now for riding

    • December 21, 2013 at 10:22 amthe mariner

      Hi Steve, just saw your question.
      The laws depend on where you live, but in NSW, Australia, Powerboards were registered as boats, not personal watercraft (PWC), so standard small boat rules applied (but new definitions of a PWC may change that). See: http://www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/rec_boating/boat_registration.html.
      The current rules for small boats include:
      – boats with outboard motors up to 5hp do not require registration
      – use at speeds below 10 knots does not require a boating licence, but 10 knots and above does.

      A single seat Powerboard with the typical configuration of a 5hp Tohatsu outboard starts planing at just below 10 knots and will typically cruise at 15+ knots. So normal use will not require boat registration but will require a licenced rider. Expect to be pulled over by NSW Maritime thinking it is a PWC though!

  • February 18, 2014 at 5:59 pmRob S

    Hey. I have one of these for sale in Ontario, Canada. Please email me with reasonable offer if interested.


  • April 27, 2014 at 7:55 amBrendan

    Hey guys my parents just gave me a 1987 single seated powerboard. Came with a 3 hp which is obviously not much fun. Is 15 too big for one of these?prop/width wise.
    I also need the rear cowl if anyone knows of anyone selling.

  • April 27, 2014 at 7:55 amBrendan

    Hey guys my parents just gave me a 1987 single seated powerboard. Came with a 3 hp which is obviously not much fun. Is 15 too big for one of these?prop/width wise.
    I also need the rear cowl if anyone knows of anyone selling. I’m in brisbane australia

    • April 30, 2014 at 1:08 pmthe mariner

      Hi Brendan,

      Most single seater Powerboards ran a 5hp Tohatsu, which will get them planing and running to 16-17 knots. Tohatsu 8hp outboards were also used – these were a lightweight unit compared to any others of the same power, and I think Mercury might have sold a rebranded version of this outboard. Mercury also sold a detuned version of the Tohatsu 5hp as a 4hp, and these had enough power to be usable.

      I personally trialed an unmodified single seater Powerboard with a 15ph Evinrude :-). This was a low profile, therefore low centre of gravity, outboard. The rig could reach 30 knots and outrun the original Jetskis but was hard to control, spent a lot of the time airborne, and was not very stable. However, this Evinrude 15hp became the motor of choice on the Tandem Powerboards, where it was manageable and performed very well.

      There should be some Powerboard cowlings around Sydney – I will check it out and let you know.


  • April 30, 2014 at 12:49 pmTodd

    i have two of them bought them last fall. have motors for them but lost to figure out the throttle cables. does anyone know where i can look to find info or a manual?

    • April 30, 2014 at 1:19 pmthe mariner

      Hi Todd, do they have a big white coated aluminum throttle lever or a small stainless one?

      The larger levers had fittings below the deck that could take all major brands of outboard cables. As long as they still has those fittings you should be able to attach the throttle cable from any outboard. Even if the clamp bits are lost it should not be too hard to make up something that will work.

      The smaller levers on early production only ran a plain stainless wire in spring casing system. This matched straight into Tohastsu/ Mercury 5/4hp outboards, although they needed a quarter inch (6mm) hole drilled in the motor casing directly below the cable clamp on the carburetor. I know that in the Australian market Tohatsu started delivering their 5hp motors with this pre-drilled because of the demand. Not sure about elsewhere.

      Will see if a user manual can be found and uploaded.


  • April 30, 2014 at 1:33 pmTodd

    hello Mariner

    They have lawnmower type throttles and i have 6hp evinrudes to fit onto them.
    do i just fabricate something to work, if so any recommendations?
    another question is does the hull com apart there is on with a crack i would like to fix from the inside.
    thanks todd

    • May 7, 2014 at 8:22 amthe mariner

      Hi Todd,

      With the lawnmower type throttles you will need to fabricate something to connect it to the engine. This is usually not too hard.

      The hulls are fiberglassed together so the only access is through the deck port. If you cannot get at the area through that one approach is to cut an access hole, say in the fuel tank well, then glass it up or install another deck port. I have seen some complicated repairs done this way!


  • August 1, 2014 at 6:27 pmJOE

  • August 10, 2014 at 6:36 amdale

    i have a 1987 single seat power board it is in reasonable condition i was wandering what this may be worth?

  • November 8, 2015 at 5:01 amBrad

    Hi all,
    I have a yellow Powerboard S (single seater) with cowl, but no outboard.
    Have decided to sell it as I’ve not used it… it was part of the deal when a bought a runabout.
    Located near Tweed Heads NSW Australia.
    Phone 0412 196 749.
    Can send photos.

  • November 19, 2015 at 8:17 pmTodd S.

    I would like to purchase one of these. I don’t need the motor. I am just interested in the hull. I live in Phoenix, AZ. Any information would be helpful. What would the approx cost be?

    • November 26, 2015 at 6:20 amthe mariner

      Hi Todd,
      I know of a few Powerboards for sale in Australia but that is a long way from you! They were never officially sold in the USA, but Canada was a big market so it might be worth searching For Sale ads there – and working out shipping costs. Good luck!

  • June 12, 2016 at 9:16 pmMariua

    Hello, do you Know Were i Canada buy one?

    • September 7, 2016 at 11:09 amthe mariner

      Canada was one of the biggest markets for Powerboards, so I would suggest running a few searches on for-sale and classified ad websites.

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