Calvin College students engineer unique watercraft

Posted at 5:51 PM, Sep 02, 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A team of four Calvin College students came up with a creative idea that’s quickly taking off.  They created a personal watercraft you won't find in any store.


It's called the Jet Blade, a senior engineering design project.

Zak DeVries, Nico Ourensma, Josh Vanderbyl, and Ryan DeMeester make up the team. The group took its love for the outdoors and water sports and put it towards their school assignment.

The group just wanted an A. Instead, the students got some unexpected publicity.

Apparently the watercraft is so unique that the Discovery Channel Canada did a piece on the team and their vehicle.

The Jet Blade has two skis in the front and one in the back, which is different than other watercraft, DeVries said. The vehicle makes the rider feel like they're on a snowmobile, but on water, he said.

"So, a traditional jet ski, when you're riding it around, typically you'll sit on it, like a Sea-Doo style, and those actually turn by having the jet in the rear, directing the watercraft in the direction it needs to go," he explained.

"Ours is unique in the fact that the skis in the front actually do the turning of the vehicle, and the jet pump in the rear is stationary," DeVries said. "So it gives you a really different feel when you're riding it on the water."

He said the group was just having fun with the assignment but is considering looking at engineering a different type of watercraft than what's currently on the market, though it likely won’t be the jet blade.

DeVries said the team did get an A on the project.