As we scud over the surface of the water, the theme music from Jaws is the last thing I want to hear. But inventor Rob Innes begs to differ. He’s playing the tune at top volume over the sound system.Which perhaps isn’t that surprising. I am, after all, the nervous and not entirely willing passenger in an extremely fast, fibreglass shark.The Seabreacher X – co-created and now driven by Rob – is the ultimate millionaire’s boy-toy: a James Bond-style craft that can dive under water, roll from side to side and jump 12ft into the air.
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It looks like a great white shark, complete with dorsal fin, gaping jaws and rows of dagger-sharp teeth. At 16.5ft in length, it is even the same size as one.Unlike the real thing, it also has a 260hp engine, which powers it to 50mph above water, and 20mph below it.Rob, 37, is a watersports fanatic. And along with friend Dan Piazza, 52, he has turned his hobby into a thriving business.The pair built their first submersible 12 years ago and today their company, Innespace, has a year-long waiting list of rich adrenaline-junkies eager to buy one of their custom-built playthings.Toys they may be, but each one costs about £60,000.’The seabreacher is really for people with a large disposable income who want to have fun,’ explains Rob.’It’s pretty popular in the Middle East, but we’ve also sold them to clients in Korea and the Caribbean.’he seabreacher is unlike anything I’ve seen on the water before.’This isn’t a submarine – you’re not going to visit the Titanic in it,’ Rob warns. ‘It’s more of a cross between a plane and a boat, and we’ve been improving the models constantly so they can do more and more tricks.’Just how many tricks, I am about to discover. For Rob, Dan and myself are on Whiskeytown Lake, just outside Redding, California, on the Seabreacher X’s maiden passenger voyage.
Seabreacher X is a snug two-seater. So Rob and I squeeze in and leave Dan on the shore, clutching a contact radio.Then we’re off – skimming at high speed across the water. We roll 90 degrees to the right, then the left.I wouldn’t recommend it to those with sea sickness, but it is exhilarating – I’m just glad that a 360-degree roll is out of the question. For now.The next one we’re building should allow us to roll a lot quicker,’ says Rob cheerfully. ‘we’re also trying to get those barrel [360-degree] rolls sorted.’Operating the submersible is, says Rob, fairly easy, ‘although you do need to have good spatial awareness. Unlike a boat where you have left and right, fast and slow, this is more like an aircraft. You have to think about pitch, roll and yaw.’I am gripping the back of Rob’s seat after a couple of minutes. But just when I think the worst is over, Rob yells: ‘Now for the fun part – jumps!’He pushes forward on the boat’s joystick, we plunge a couple of feet under the water – the craft can remain submerged for 20 seconds – and for a moment we are enveloped by a watery blanket of silence; mercifully, Rob has turned off the Jaws soundtrack.