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Toys for Bigger Boys - Marine leisure trends, personal leisure hovercraft.

Mention the word hovercraft, and most people think of lumbering passenger craft capable of taking 100 passengers or more, but personal leisure hovercraft (Hov Pods) make hovercraft ownership possible, typically these craft are 2-3 seaters, around 12 foot in length, and capable of speeds of up to 50 mph. Fun for all the family!

Hovercraft offer a unique and liberating feeling of freedom, as you fly from beach to sea, or scoot over rivers and lakes; hovercrafting can be a very addictive hobby. Radio control hovercraft are OK too, but why let your pet hamster have all the fun? Leisure hovercraft take three adults and can reach speeds of up to 50 mph.

Hovercraft handle a wide range of terrain; imagine a PWC, snowmobile, quad-bike, boat, 4x4 rolled into one. Start the engine and youíll rise about 8 inches in the air, as if on some anti gravitational levitation sci-fi vehicle. Bemused onlookers peek under your skirt to see where the wheels are; there arenít any. Increase the throttle, and move forward on the cushion of air. You have freedom to float off, over any flat surface.

Launch at anytime, regardless of tide conditions. No need to worry about submerged rocks, manatees or coral, you have no propeller in the water to damage the marine environment, youíre as free as a bird to fly here and there, sliding, gliding, performing 180 turns or 360/7200 spins. Strong currents may impede the progress of boats, but hovercraft are not in contact with the water, so rise above that sort of problem. No need to check your depth meter, you have no propeller to worry about, just levitate and drive.

It is difficult to describe the immense sense of freedom hover travel provides, people expect a bump when travelling out of the water and straight up the beach or slipway, but there is no discernable difference. Hovercraft are very comfortable, you donít slap into water, and jar your back like PWC riders do, you glide and side on your soft cushion of air.

Some liken the drive sensation to a sort of ride-on skateboard, but forget the confines of the skate park, find some grassy hills, or beach or desert sand dunes to play on.

Leisure hovercraft such as the Hov Pod are very versatile, able to drive in many different locations, great for exploring, hunting and fishing.

From a practical standpoint, the first benefit of hovering is being able to launch practically anywhere. No need to launch from a trailer down the slipway, boat fashion, just unhitch on dry land, no need to get your feet wet, just drive down the slipway or over the mud and sands to the sea. Upon your return, just drive up the slipway or beach.

No need to position the trailer under the craft, or wade into the wet stuff, just drive up and step out onto dry land. Some folk use hovercraft to reach waterfront properties, tidal or weather conditions can make island based property impossible to reach, and in winter conditions, the risk of using the wrong vehicle (PWC or Snowmobile?) could have catastrophic repercussions.

Small leisure hovercraft (Hov Pods) also have plenty of commercial applications. Rental operators hire them out to event organisers, or civil engineers and environmental scientists for taking mud samples. Hov Pods are very useful for rescue work, particularly mud, quicksand and ice. According to Wikipedia, even David Blaine has trouble holding his breath under water for more than 7 minutes and 8 seconds, so there is no time to lose while reaching mud victims; rescue boats are not practical; rescurers have to wade through the same mud the victim fell into.
It takes just ten minutes to understand the basics; you just use a normal handlebar for steering with twist grip throttle. Steer to the left or right, and the rudders will direct the air accordingly.

Once you have mastered the basics, the real fun begins. You can do 180 turns up the beach, or perpetual 360s, 720 spins and so on. As you can drive on both sea and land, youíll probably want to combine both in a little beach hugging exercise. You can turn in graceful loops, or slide and glide where the mood takes you. You can access areas that are simply out of bounds for any other craft. SuperYacht captains use them as tenders.

Manufactured in Southampton, England, the Hov Pod is enjoying tremendous success and is now being exported all over the world.

For further information, please visit

The Hov Pod is designed and manufactured by Reaction International Ltd PO Box 617, Southampton SO16 4XL. Contact 023 8023 1111. Hov Pod is copyright of Reaction International Ltd. Images and further information can be downloaded from Contact Sales and Marketing Manager - Mike Glanville for more information. Email

About the Author: Mike Glanville is based in Southampton UK, and writes about a number of marine leisure products.

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