Over the last 25 years I have built myself a reputation as being an innovative designer. I am to some, considered the "father" of the modern whitewater kayak design, having developed a technology that is now used by all designers in all freestyle kayaks made today. I've built my reputation on my innovative "outside-the-box" thinking. You can see many of our recent innovations in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwMCWrIsm-E&feature=youtu.be
Just over six years ago I started to work on making two and three piece surfboards for travel purposes. The idea worked wonderfully, but the process of manufacturing was too complicated and expensive, in a market for which it was ill suited (surfers are very conservative, and they are already relatively small to begin with). However, the concept itself was well proven to work.
Since then Stand Up Paddleboarding has come along, and this sport is now the fastest growing water sport in the world (as far as available statistics show). Just 5 years ago there were less than 40 companies worldwide. Today there are over 400, all making pretty much the same thing, for about the same use, the same way. To stand out, you have to be innovative, and this is what I've built my new company doing. We have brought to market several innovative paddleboards - in design and manufacturing process. You can read more here: http://www.corransup.com
However, there remains a giant hole in the offerings brought to market by all 400 of these companies. We have found a real solution to these three major issues.
1) Portability and storage. If you're cramped for space, or have limited storage and transport options (or travel internationally a lot) your only real option is inflatable boards, which while they have evolved into "acceptable" products, are still a far cry from a "hard shell" board. These address the problems of storage and transport, but not price or performance. They are also slow and laborious to make.
2) The cost of "performance" based paddleboards ranges from about $900 to $1900. The cheaper they are, the heavier they are, and all of them are relatively fragile. They simply cannot take even mild abuse/hard use. While performance based, and ranging from very light to an acceptable weight, they do not address the problems of strength, price, storage or transport. These are also slow and labor intensive to make.
3) The plastic inexpensive boards on the market, while almost unbreakable, are also a far cry from being "just like" the high end paddleboards in design and end performance. Hollow, with significant surface flex and relatively high weight, they address the problems of price and durability, but not performance, weight, storage or transport.
This new method of production would allow us to address all of the above. The process is essentially an injection molded high density self-skinning foam that takes just minutes to make a board (reducing costs). The board design itself breaks down into sections, so storage, transport, shipping and air travel are all simple and inexpensive. The process is relatively cheap, once you have your molds, so the end product can be sold for an affordable amount to the everyman. It's sectioned, making it adaptable to the end users needs and it's relatively lightweight and stiff, offering superior performance to plastic or inflatable boards.
This product would bring to market a board which would reach the greatest number of people's paddleboarding needs, and make this already exciting sport even more accessible through the various points mentioned above.
The final board specifics are: Each section is 3 foot long. Additional 3' sections can also be used to make it as long as desired. The board is 34 inches wide and 5 inches thick -220ltr and about 30lbs (the final weight will be known once we start to make them, but it'll be close to that). They are connected using a pair cylindrical "shafts" which interconnect the sections and use a locking mechanism to hold them together.
The downside is the cost of the tooling. At just over $40,000 for just the mold, plus just under $10,000 to get the process "dialed in" prior to production, is cost prohibitive for a small, but highly innovative company like ours. This is why we're turning to you for help. With your help, we can realize this dream, and bring to market a truly innovative product that will change the face of paddleboarding, and open it up to everyone. We've set our goal to $30,000 here, but this only partially funds the project (the rest comes out of our working capitol). Ideally we'd like to raise about 2x that.
You can discuss the project here in detail as well: http://crowdfundingforum.com/showthread.php/8963-%28Kickstarter%29-Three-Piece-Paddlebaord
Each piece is 36" (3 feet). The "base" board is two sections (front and back) making a 6' board that's 34" wide and 5" thick. This would be used for kids, or yoga enthusiasts. The addition of a single center section makes the board 9' long and brings it to 220ltr in volume, which again would work for yoga, or single paddlers under 230lbs, and two center sections makes it 12' long and increase its load use so that two adults can paddle it, one large adult over 230lbs, or one adult looking for a longer faster board.
$300 is for one 2pc board that's 6'
$500 is for 1 3pc board that's 9'
$1000 option is for 1 4pc board that's 12' AND two carbon paddles
Risks and challenges
I have been in manufacturing for over 25 years, and have vast experience in the various processes - from rotational and blow molding, to injection molding and thermo forming in the plastics field, and then also extensive experience over the same time period in the use of composites (like fiberglass and exotic carbons and kevlars) using many processes including wet lamination, vacuum bagging, infusion, resin transfer molding to mention just a few. As such I am accustomed to running into potential stumbling blocks, and have the experience to solve them. I have built from scratch over the past two decades three highly successful companies, and am thus also accustomed with the intricacies of business and project management.
No project ever goes exactly as planned, and there are invariably unforeseen obstacles that will need to be tackled. This is why we have earmarked almost $10,000 to the "dialing-in process. It might take considerably less, but we can't operate wisely under such an assumption.
We have already tested the basic molding process, and have a manufacturer lined up who has extensive experience working with these materials and process (just not on a paddleboard). The entire process from the start of making the mold to the end of the "testing" of the molding will not take more than 10 weeks if all goes according to plan. It never does, and this is why we have set our production dates to the late spring 2014, giving us more than enough time to iron out any potential kinks.
Once the funds are raised, we will start by completing the final CAD drawings of the project, taking them from the functional design they are now, refined according to the mold makers directions. We are using a mold maker that we have used several times in the past for other projects, and have an established and trusted working relationship. The mold is then sent to the molding facility. This company specializes in making high pressure, high density foam parts like this (and they have provided the mold maker with the specifics required for correct molding). 'Dialing" in the mold is a process (it's like making a cake - you have all the right ingredients, but it takes some "tweaking" to get the first perfect parts. All of this is computer controlled, so once the machines are producing a "perfect part" the program is locked in, and production can begin where each and every part coming out of the mold is identical. We're not reinventing the wheel here when it comes to the actual molding process as this has been used for decades for other applications, which takes uncertainty out of the mix. Once the parts have cooled and cured, the various fittings and hardware are put onto the boards (including the closing mechanisms - which we are able to purchase from existing suppliers as these too are standard parts used in various other industries), as well as the components which are specific to paddleboarding such as the top layer traction pad and fin (which we already manufacture for our current board line).
The boards are then boxed and warehoused ready for shipping to the end customers. We currently have three "Big Box" retail sporting good stores that have expressed interest in these boards as they fit perfectly in with their current retail model. As always, they need to see (and try) a working model prior to placing actual orders. However the project has been explained in depth and all signs show that orders will be forthcoming once the technology is proven to them.
The critical point here is that we are not re-inventing the wheel on any one portion of the project. The molding process is well established and documented for other industries, as are the mechanisms for fitting the sections together securely. What we have done is taken these pre-existing technologies, and brought them together in a very unique way that is new to paddleboarding, which will benefit paddleboarders everywhere.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)