About this project
SipaBoards are there to get you paddling as soon as possible and to keep you out there on the water longer. Our barely audible, self-inflating, electric standup paddleboards give you the extra bit of confidence and ability you need to paddle upstream, against the current, and around the bend, while enjoying the view like you never have before.
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The heart of every SipaBoard is a jet propulsion engine - the SipaDrive. We opted for a jet-propulsion system so we could hide it inside the plastic housing built into the board. This virtually eliminates drag when the motor is off and you want to paddle yourself, prevents fish, rocks, or twigs - and most importantly your fingers - from getting caught in the propeller, and makes your SipaBoard safer and easier to handle on dry land.
The motor is emission-free and barely audible, so you can take it even on protected waters and you won’t ruin the peace and quiet. It has 5 settings, providing up to 3.5 knots of assistance for 1 hour for an average-sized male paddler, or 3 hours at a cruising speed of 2 knots.
Wireless control in the paddle
The motor is controlled easily by wireless controls built into the handle of the paddle. 2 buttons control all the functions, for increasing and decreasing speed, as well as for fast shut-off. The motor also automatically shuts off if the paddle falls in the water, or if the paddle and motor are separated by more than a few meters.
Pumping up a SUP is arguably the worst part of your whole trip, not to mention what to do with the pump once you're done. Now the SipaDrive does the hard work for you, pumping up your board in just a matter of minutes, while you focus on the important things - like the gorgeous scenery, or the ducks swimming around in the background...
Ease of use: Your SipaBoard will fit easily into a backpack, which you can toss in your car or stow away on a boat or RV. Hard-body SUPs must be transported on a roof rack, making for worse mileage and an unpleasant ride. Older kids can even carry their deflated SipaBoard, SipaDrive, and paddle in one trip, and the compressor is so easy to use that they'll be independent and self-sufficient in getting ready for their paddling adventure.
Design: Dropstitch technology joins the top and bottom layers of the SUP with thousands of filaments, making for a rock-hard SUP that you cannot overinflate. With a concave drive housing design and a convex hole in the board, the pressure holds the drive in place and there is no need for screws or extra parts. When deflated, the SipaDrive slips right out.
Paddling off: Beginning paddleboarders often have a hard time finding enough balance. The forward motion provided by the SipaDrive gives them the momentum and stability they need to learn more quickly.
Beating the current: Sometimes you need to beat the current for fun – to see what’s upstream – and sometimes you need to beat it for safety – to get back to shore. SipaBoards have got you covered on both.
Going anywhere: Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to SUP! Many bodies of water are protected against fuel-powered vessels, but you can take SipaBoards anywhere you can take a kayak.
Enjoy the view: paddleboarding is gaining popularity, as standing up on the water gives you a whole new perspective. With an electric motor you can go a lot further to find your perfect spot to enjoy the view, and the quiet, battery-powered motor keeps your moment peaceful and serene.
Set your own pace and still stay together: Paddling is the most fun in a group of friends or family. But the bigger the group, the greater the difference in individual ability. SipaBoards have several settings, so everyone finds just the right amount of help they need to keep the group together.
SipaBoards come equipped with some nifty safety features that make them perfect for kids and other paddlers of all ages.
Automatic shut-off: The motor automatically shuts off when the board gets separated from the paddle (which usually means you have fallen off).
Propeller protection: A mesh cover on the underside of the SipaDrive prevents injury and any debris damaging the propeller.
Extra durable construction: Double-layered DropStitch construction provides for a rock-hard board that can withstand rigorous wear and tear.
Today, SipaBoards are ready for serial production.
The first conversations about the project got underway at the end of last August and by the beginning of October the first prototype was in the pool. We continued testing as we put the team together. By December we were all on board (standup, of course...) and we first introduced ourselves to the public during the holiday season, with dressing up Sebastjan as SipaClaus to bring some cheer and merriness to the heart of Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana.
Testing continued throughout the winter, and we held our first open trial day at the end of February, as some courageous novices braved the still chilly weather to check out what we are working on. Now in April, with your help, we're ready to flip the switch and get a SipaBoard to you this season.
Here are some of the individual aspects and challenges we tackled in developing SipaBoards:
Jet Engine: During the prototype phase we tried a few different propulsion options. Our first version was an outboard propeller, which satisfied our plans for paddle assist but lacked the protection from injury and damage that we insisted on providing our customers. When we decided on a fully-integrated inboard motor, we tested a few different jet tunnel shapes.
Board Shape: For ease of storage and transportation an inflatable board was our obvious choice, but our first prototype couldn’t hold its shape properly, twisting and bulging around its axis. When we chose double-layer DropStitch material and entrusted production to our Swiss partner, we finally got the sturdiness and precision that we demanded. After countless hours of testing and tweaking, we came to our final shape, which is stable but agile enough for a broad range of uses.
Motor Housing Shape: We sketched and produced four different housing shapes before we were satisfied. The SipaDrive is molded perfectly so it requires no tools or extra parts to fit into the board, but is held in place by pressure itself.
Integrated Controller: After a series of tests, it seemed to us that the best option was to integrate the engine’s controls into the paddle itself. This makes it as simple as possible, with just + and – buttons to worry about when paddling.
Connectivity: Bluetooth connectivity made the most sense, because of its easy pairing and the ability to integrate controls into the paddle and to communicate with mobile apps.
Compressor: This feature became obvious later in the development when we started testing frequently and had to inflate the board every day. Anyone who goes paddling regularly – or anyone who has to pump up multiple boards for the whole family – will find the compressor an invaluable addition.
Removable Battery: After getting some great feedback from SUP rental shops, we saw that a removable battery would be much more practical, as one pack can be charged while the other is in use. You can even take an extra battery pack with you and just replace it for even more time on the water. However, this of course meant some additional modifications to our SipaDrive housing.
Patent Pending: We have two patents pending on this product. The first one is for an inflatable vessel with an integrated propulsion system built into the center of gravity with a controller integrated in the paddle. The second one is for the integrated compressor pump.
We designed and produce the motor pack entirely in-house in Slovenia, while we entrusted the manufacture and quality control of the boards themselves to an industry leader in Switzerland with years of experience making SUPs in specific and inflatable products in general. We have also set up our distribution network to ship all over the world. All the kinks have been worked out and we are thrilled with the model we hope to take into production with your help, and now we’re just waiting for spring weather so we can start paddling.
We've had some amazing feedback!
Activities by month
It's ready to try!
We're not just hiding SipaBoards in some garage. Our team in on the ground (err, water...), wandering around the world with prototypes during the campaign. Please follow our demo events on our Facebook page and try it yourself. There's no better way to convince yourself about the quality of our product than to try it out yourself.
Seriously, check out these events and don't hesitate to ask anything!
What am I getting?
Your pledge will get you:
• a stylish and functional dropstitched, dual-layered, durable, premium, inflatable SipaBoard
• a SipaDrive containing a battery-powered and emission-free motor to help you paddle further than you ever have before
• a built-in compressor which pumps up your SipaBoard to 1 bar/15 psi in less than 5 minutes, while you gaze out longingly at the beautiful scenery and enjoy a sandwich
• a light-weight ergonomic paddle with wireless controls built in to the shaft
• the confidence and the ability to stay out with your friends and family on the water
• the chance to be one of the first people in the world to try and to help launch a revolution in a young, but fast-growing sport
Some great news!
We have a little surprise for our backers. The paddle that comes with your SipaBoard will truly be yours. Each of them will feature your name and the fact that you helped us get there.
You have to see this video with DryBag in action.
After consulting with you, our backers, we realized that the most important thing to you is a high-quality and highly functional bag to transport and store your SipaBoard. Here it is! When we reach our stretch goal of $250,000, we will be upgrading your pledge with a Deluxe Board Bag for all boards at no extra cost.
To provide users with the motor’s vital statistics, a mobile app is the clear choice. Our iOS and Android apps will provide real-time info about battery level, range, and speed. It will also map your trips and sessions so you can track your progress. With the smart watches hitting the market this year, we will be able to add this info and controls to your wrist too, so you won’t have to take your phone with you when you go out paddling.
Evenings out on a SUP will look a lot cooler with LED lights illuminating the water underneath your SipaBoard. Not only that but you can feel a little safer heading out to a marina at sunset for dinner or a drink, knowing your SipaBoard will be your beacon for the paddle back home.
Where is my money going?
Our goal is a full-scale market launch this year. To make sure we can promise you the highest quality at the best possible price we need an initial manufacturing run of 200 pieces. Your pledge will help us get SipaBoards into your hands this season. We can't wait to ship you a board, and we couldn’t thank you enough!
One day our founder, Sebastjan, had quite a scare when paddling with his family, when his daughter had a hard time paddling back to shore. He knew that this type of situation could be avoided in the future by following the idea of electric bikes and building an electric motor into a paddle board.
As a father, Sebastjan was also tired of pumping up SUPs for the whole family, so he knew he needed an elegant solution for that, too. Sebastjan has some friends who are engineers, paddleboarders, or both. He told them about his idea and they were all into it. They rolled up their sleeves and started working on a prototype.
As we started development and testing, it became clear that our motor-assisted SUP would be great for more than just children getting out of tough situations, but also for beginners, grandparents, couples, and anyone else who wants to paddle further. Even an 8-month pregnant mother of two felt confident enough to try paddling for her first time on a SipaBoard - in the middle of February!
Our next thought was about how to adjust the motor settings while paddling, so we built wireless controls directly into the paddle’s handle. We also thought about the exhausted family pumping up 4 paddleboards who would tire themselves out before even paddling off, so we integrated a compressor, pumping your SipaBoard up in just a few moments.
After 6 months of development and testing, thousands of hours invested, and hopefully with your help, Kickstarter, SipaBoards are ready to go into production.
CEO: Sebastjan Sitar – mechanical engineer, innovator, sports enthusiast, entrepreneur. Owner of 3S-Sporting Goods and owner/founder of Eurowallet, ergonomic wallets for hospitality workers
CFO: Matjaž Petrič – finance manager, consultant, startup mentor. Former CFO at Outfit7, the global entertainment company that created TalkingTom, several managerial positions at Swiss and Slovenian pharmaceutical companies
Sales: Saša Droljc – hospitality manager, sports enthusiast, entrepreneur. Restaurateur and owner of House Neža, the top-reviewed guest property at Slovenia’s ski resort town of Kranjska gora
CTO: Žiga Božič – over 25 years of experience in developing electronics and firmware, including power drives, power supplies, industrial process control modules, and Fieldbus modules for a long list of clients.
App development UX/UI: Uroš Brojan – designer, entrepreneur, developer. CEO at Morftec, a marine IoT company which was listed as a Global Hot 100 at WSIE 2013.
App development & IoT: Rok Jarc – software and hardware developer. 20 fleet management devices on the market, CTO at Morftec.
Design: Jaro Jelovac – industrial and graphic designer. 10 years of product design for Elan Snowboards and Fisher Women Skis.
Marketing and Logistics
Web: Tilen Travnik – developer, startup mentor. COO at DLabs, a web and mobile development company.
Video: Andrej Podbevšek – video producer, editor, ski instructor, standup comedian. Producer at POP TV, flagship channel of PRO PLUS media and highest rated Slovenian channel
Wordsmith: Josh Rocchio – language and business consultant in both the Slovenian public and private sectors. Former adjunct at the University of Maryland and former martial arts instructor.
PR: Marja Feldin – marketing manager, president of SOF (Slovenian Advertising Festival).
Media: Matej Praprotnik – innovation journalism fellow at Stanford, no social media guru, just a professional storyteller.
Logistics: Zeke Oliver – Doctor of Medicine, former logistics expert in the hospitality industry.
Tilen Kegl - copywriter, TEDx speaker, strategic marketing student
Živa Lavrinc - sports enthusiast, bachelor's degree in SUPing for a healthy lifestyle, marketing student at APC College, Manley, AU
Diego Capriolo - former competitive cyclist, surfing and sailing enthusiast, eco-farmer, International MBA, Economics PhD student
Nina Čavž - freelance design and branding strategist
Igor Mačinković - graduate student of business informatics at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana
Special thanks for the help:
Facebook advertising: Jure Knehtl, www.adstar.si, email@example.com, +386 51 655 323
Video: Luka Leskovšek, Mitja Legat, Matic Maček, Žiga Deisinger, Hieronim Vilar, Grega Koderman, Katja Pokorn, Matej Slabe
Photo: Matic Zorman, Marko Ocepek, Luka Komatar, Klemen Brumec, Jani Ugrin
Audio: Tadej Droljc
Consulting: Niko Klanšek, Tadej Jevševar, Marin Medak, Žiga Berce
Risks and challenges
Thanks to our incredible supporters, suppliers, and industry partnerships, the manufacturing for our boards has been moving forward at an exciting pace. There will always be development and improvements to our engine pack, but we are extremely happy with our current design - we’ve been paddling with it for months, now.
That being said, getting any product into full scale production is no easy task. Some objectives that could possibly take more time than we anticipate are the Apple Store and Google Play approvals of our mobile app, as well as FCC/CE electronic certification. While most of our components are made in the EU, we have a few parts coming from overseas and those can take time to clear release by customs.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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