Alumni behind world-first 'water bike'

17 October 2017

University of Waikato alumni are celebrating their part in the launch of a world-first hydrofoil water bike that won gold for best concept product at the the 2017 Designers Institute Best Awards last week.

The Manta5 Hydrofoiler is the brainchild of Guy Howard-Willis, the Waikato-based founder of Torpedo 7 and The concept has been brought to life after six years of R&D by Roland Alonzo, a bike designer with a passion for cutting-edge technology and design.

Waikato alumni and students are key members of the team that has brought the hydrofoil bike to market.

Greg Johnston (BMS(Hons) 2015) joined the Manta5 team as general manager in 2016, and since then he's employed six Waikato alumni to fill various roles in supply chain management, operations, marketing, electronic engineering and events. They include

  • Daniel Dredge - Electrical Engineer (BE(Hons) 2016 & Masters of Engineering student)
  • Harrisson Jull - Electrical Engineer (BE(Hons) 2013 & PhD - Electronic Engineering student)
  • Louis Wilks - Marketing Manager (BMS 2016)
  • Samaria Mason - Supply Chain and Operations (BMS(Hons))
  • Jeana Sayson - former Marketing Coordinator (BMS(Hons) 2017)
  • Rhandal Meijerink - former Marketing & Business Development Coordinator (BMS(Hons) 2017)

"Building a team of alumni through my networks at university has been really rewarding," says Greg. "I love backing young, talented people, and I’m passionate about teaming them up with leaders in their respective industries."

Left to Right: Harrisson Jull, Greg Johnston, Louis Wilks, Samaria Mason and Daniel Dredge

World-first achievement

The Waikato alumni say they're "pretty stoked" to be part of a world-first achievement in commercialising hydrofoil bikes for recreational use on lakes, rivers and ocean swells.

Five are still employed with the company, as they gear up for the Manta5's public release at Big Boys Toys in Auckland this November, and a limited edition pre-sale over summer 2017/18.

The Manta5 uses hydrofoil and e-bike technology, combined with a propeller and electric motor, to lift the body of the bike out of the water, enabling riders to plane across the water's surface. Riders can even relaunch the bike from deep water - a world-first achievement.

"Our Waikato alumni have come on board and made a brilliant contribution. It’s refreshing to have such young, sharp minds involved," says Guy Howard-Willis, founding director of Manta5.

Video: Manta5 in action on water