Marine and sea leisure sport activity is a major commercial market and growing fast. At last small personal hovercraft are becoming recognized as a great deal of fun! Many people are asking where and how they can buy a hovercraft, often searching for hovercraft manufacturers on the internet. Although an air cushioned vehicle of this type is not cheap, most beach and sports type activity is practiced by the under 40s, who tend to have money to spend on that kind of thing.
In the 60s a new craze swept America and Australia - surfing! Teenagers wanted the freedom of the beach, excitement and speed - surfing provided all of these things. Soon afterwards, some bright mind fitted wheels to a smaller version and the skate board was born. Back to the beach, and the jet ski was added to the available sports, together with the sail board and the paragliding surf board.
On dry land, other vehicles like the quad bike provided an equally exciting experience. Then along came a a vehicle that could operate on dry land, on river or lakes and also the sea! Floating a few inches over any surface was sure to give a smooth ride and challenge new people thirsty fro new experiences. After all, this was a different kettle of fish from driving on land, or steering a speed boat on water. For one thing, when you told it to go right, it didn't move immediately, so a lot of skill was needed to pilot it.
The demand for a personal hovercraft came from two areas of the leisure market - racing and fun. It goes without saying that racing is almost by definition fun, but there is an element of danger implicit in the activity, a danger which some people don't really want. A family man prefers comfort and a high degree of safety if he's going to trust a craft with his children. A hovercraft design for speed is completely different from one designed for family use. You can find some design criteria on this site leisure-hovercraft.com
Racing craft are built for speed, so the designer needs to make everything as light as possible. Traditionally, the hull would be made from glass fiber and the skirt fabricated out of a tough sail cloth that doesn't rip, or polyethylene. The engine would be light weight, which means spinning at high revolutions to create the power need for lift and forward thrust. Such craft almost always have just one two stroke engine.
A leisure hovercraft doesn't have to be so fast, so the hull can be thicker and made from a heavier material which won't split if it hits an obstruction. The engine could be a four stroke type, which is quieter and more reliable.
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