The Wake Wing™
A water sports revolution! The Wake Wing™ will take board sports to a higher level by flying above the waves in an exciting new way!
The Wake Wing™
A water sports revolution! The Wake Wing™ will take board sports to a higher level by flying above the waves in an exciting new way!
The WAKE WING™: A new concept in water sports!
The WAKE WING™ will introduce board sport fans around the world to the next progressive step in getting riders up and out of the water by actually flying above the waves using 'ground effect' technology.
That's right, flying, just like a comic book hero (or villain)! You'll ride above the waves with your feet ON TOP of the wing in a comfortable and natural position used by skate & snow boarders, surfers and of course wake boarders.
For people who enjoy wake boarding and water skiing, it's often the thrill of catching air while performing jumps and tricks that makes the sport irresistible.
Up 'til now, there have been attempts to increase that desired feeling of flight by adding hydrofoils, water jets, or kites to get that board (and it's rider!) above the surface. This has been done with products like the Airchair, the Flyboard, the Wake Kite and hang gliders. All of these devices can produce a feeling of flying above the waves but each comes with a learning curve requiring hours of practice and often have complex and/or cumbersome requirements for using and maintaining.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The WAKE WING™ works like this:
- Stand on the WAKE WING™ while it floats stably behind your boat.
- Hold on to a ski handle just like you would for wake boarding or water skiing.
- As the rider and wing are towed by the boat, at approximately 15-20 mph the wing will lift free of the surface and ride above the water using ground effect.
- The physics of ground effect will only allow a lift of 4-6 feet from the surface, making it a natural safety feature.
- The rider is free to maneuver, turn, or perform tricks while "surfing" the air behind the boat.
IS IT POSSIBLE?
It was my fascination with flight that led me to hang gliding, which in turn led me to learn about the principle of ground effect that I have applied to this design. That principle, coupled with several decades of knowledge and experience derived from sailing, surfing, diving, and many other water sports along with everything else that comes along with being a boat captain, has guided me down a path that shows a ground effect board you stand on is possible. That and my experiences designing, building and sailing boats, and making my own hydrofoils and various other water toys leads me to believe that the concept will fly!
Many hours of thought and effort have gone into the creation of this design. We've done extensive research on designing for performance and safety, and will continue to do so as this project progresses to ensure that this product will be incredible. My small but talented team is ready to build the first prototype. And then, once the first WAKE WING™ is built, we plan to use it to prepare for commercial sales to the public.
PREDICTED PERFORMANCE AND SPECS:
- Weight: Approx. 50lbs.
- Speed range: 15 - 25mph.
- Rider weight: 160-250lbs.
- Wingspan: 12ft.
- Length, front to back of tail: 6ft.
- Wing loading: 6.6 lbs/ft²
- Disassembled dimensions: 7ftx4ftx2ft.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT?
Here are some key design features that will separate the WAKE WING from other similar ideas and ensure real world success:
- SIMPLICITY: This is one of the key design features that makes the WAKE WING™ unique. Using a proven and attractive airfoil design (think airplane wing) with no moving parts and ultra lightweight yet durable construction materials will produce a reliable form of entertainment when used properly.
- EASE OF TRANSPORT: When in use the WAKE WING™ is rather large, with a nearly 12' wingspan. When it's time to go home, the WAKE WING™ easily disassembles in to 5 pieces using 4 simple levers, and takes under five minutes to break down and stow in the bed of a pick up truck or on the roof of a car.
- CONSTRUCTION: Carbon fiber, epoxy resin, fiberglass, and laminated wood will be utilized for a rugged and durable, yet ultra lightweight product:
- EASE OF LEARNING: The WAKE WING™ is stable and will float on the water even with a person standing on it, though a novice rider may learn to use the WAKE WING™ by starting out at very slow speeds either laying on their belly or crouching on their knees to begin with. As skill and comfort increases the rider can work their way to their feet and slowly increase speed until controlled flight is achieved.
- VERSATILITY: By having an open deck with lots of room to place a rider's feet in different positions the WAKE WING™ should be able to accommodate a wide range of people. Tall or short, light or heavy, the WAKE WING™ should handle most riders. Also, by shifting the riders feet they can change "gears" and switch between a low and slow riding style to a fast and aggressive style instantly.
- AIRFOIL: We have chosen an airfoil shape that has high lift and very forgiving characteristics. It will allow the wing to fly at a wide range of angle of attack. This will allow the wing to take off and cruise at very low speeds comfortably.
- WINGLETS/TAILS: The innovative tail fin design serves several purposes. 1) By trailing behind the wing this will enhance the directional stability and ease of use of the WAKE WING™ during flight. 2) The lower edges of the tail fins are designed to occasionally trail in the water. This should enhance take off and low speed flight as well as allowing exciting turns and tricks at higher speeds. 3) Also the tails are set far enough apart that it is unlikely that a rider would come in contact with them during a fall. 4) Finally, the tails act as winglets, stopping wing tip vortices and allowing an overall smaller WAKE WING.
- DIHEDRAL: Essentially, dihedral is how high the wing tips are raised up. By raising the wing tips the WAKE WING™ will have a certain amount of self righting ability both in the water and during flight. This will help ease the learning curve for new riders. Also, the dihedral will allow more aggressive riders to perform sharp turns and exciting tricks without the wings striking the water.
- WIG TECHNOLOGY: WIG stands for Wing-In-Ground effect, or just ground effect. This is a phenomenon that allows a wing to generate more lift and fly more efficiently when very close to the ground. There is a long history of successful WIG craft including the giant jet powered ekranoplans, the Airfish 8, and the Hoverwing.
By combining and improving the best features of these WIG craft we can create a level of safety and user enjoyment never seen before!
IS IT SAFE?
SAFETY is our number one priority, with the user experience being a close second. One must factor in the chances of severe accident potential with any flying towable design product, and so our goal with the WAKE WING™ design has been to address every one of these SAFETY issues head-on with groundbreaking innovations for built-in safety features:
- SPEED: The WAKE WING™ is designed to fly at very low speeds, and ONLY low speeds. The ground effect principle used by the WAKE WING™ will ensure that it's able to take off and fly at speeds between 15mph and 25mph, (The same range as wakeboarding, but slower than most water skis) but you won't be able to hang on due to resistance factors even if you do go faster. Also, hitting the water at this speed is completely tolerable and can even be fun!
- ALTITUDE: The size of the design ensures the craft is restricted to a flight altitude of 4 to 6 feet off the water. When used properly the product CANNOT achieve an altitude that would make falling dangerous. This also eliminates potential problems that other similar towable designs have had regarding FAA requirements as the WAKE WING™ is NOT intended to fly high in the sky or be towed behind an airplane.
- USER ABUSE: If a very fast ski boat were to pull the WAKE WING™ at extreme speeds it could be possible to climb to a dangerous altitude. Therefore the WAKE WING has a fail safe mechanism built in to the tail fin by design that causes the wing not to ascend too high. We believe this fail safe is what will put the safety of the WAKE WING™ light years ahead of any competition.
- ATTACHMENT POINT: One of the most dangerous components of flying towables is the direct connection to the tow source. This limits the amount of control the rider has over the towable, especially in dangerous situations. The WAKE WING™ eliminates this problem by utilizing a towrope just like a wakeboarder might. If a problem occurs, the rider need only LET GO of the rope at any time to immediately end the ride and remain with the WAKE WING™ to be picked up again.
- BINDING FREE DESIGN: Designed to be used without any sort of straps or bindings on the feet, the rider will simply fall off when they lose their balance and will not get trapped upside down under the wing by bindings. This design also allows riders to shift their feet during the ride for different handling of conditions and riding styles.
- RIGID CONSTRUCTION: The sport of flying towables comes with its own sets of rules and regulations, and many of those focus on inflatable towables. Due to the rigid design most of those rules simply don't apply to the WAKE WING™.
We want to introduce to the world a flying marvel akin to the Wright brother's first airplane. As bicycle shop owners the brothers knew that their airplane idea, like their bicycles, would require a rider to make constant adjustments by shifting and moving different parts of the body, thereby discovering "controlled flight". The WAKE WING™, too, will require an active person to ride it. Every movement will be immediately relayed to the wing and it will respond accordingly, providing an extreme experience not unlike that first flight of discovery.
Our goal is to raise enough funds to proceed with Phase 1 of our plan to build a proof-of-concept full scale prototype that we can ride, test and modify until complete design success is achieved. With $4000 we can build the prototype with our small team of dedicated volunteers and efficient construction methods. Then on to Phase 2, begin production!
- Detailed construction plans are in place for the prototype:
- Materials have been sourced.
- Suppliers are in place for our rewards that we are offering to those who pledge support to the WAKE WING™.
- A construction location for the prototype has been secured.
- Tools and equipment necessary to construct the prototype are already in hand.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
Based on previous build experience the WAKE WING™ full scale prototype can be built and ready for testing in 3 - 6 months.
After we have a successful prototype completed, we intend to create a video highlighting the excitement of the new WAKE WING™ sport. We will then come back to Kickstarter to launch Phase 2, producing the WAKE WING™ commercially so that it is available to any and all at a reasonable price.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
My team will build AND test the prototype for just $4000. After we complete Phase 1 and Phase 2 the WAKE WING™ is expected to sell at a retail price of between $4000-$5000.
WHY SUPPORT THE WAKE WING?
We want to introduce the world to an exciting new sport that brings new sensations, excitement and tricks to the public. It's not often that a whole new sport can be introduced to the world, and you can be a part of it! With your help, my team can make it happen! I'm very excited and I hope you are too!
We are offering a variety of rewards for pledging your support to the WAKE WING project:
Thank you for your pledge and support!
Risks and challenges
It is possible that the WAKE WING™ will not perform or fly the way it's predicted to. It may take off at too high or low of a speed. It may not be directionally controllable. It may be unstable in pitch. We have plans in place to modify the WAKE WING™ in certain ways if any of these issues appear. The aerodynamics of wing-in-ground effect craft are well understood and scientifically sound. There may be other issues such as handling the WAKE WING™ on the surface of the water or on shore. These issues may be addressed with simple modifications such as adding small fins or changing the shape of the tails.
The WAKE WING™ may require more structural reinforcement if it develops cracks or damage during testing. The large flat surface areas may "slap" against the water surface hard during a crash or hard landing. The use of high tech, high strength materials in construction should eliminate this problem, but the prototype can be easily modified to address any strength issues.
When building a new boat or water sports toy there are ALWAYS hidden costs that pop up even with the most comprehensive construction plan. This has been incorporated in to the budget for the prototype leaving a comfortable margin for the unexpected.
Regulatory issues - state rules regarding flying towables:
There is a concern that in some states the WAKE WING™ may not be legal to use. Some lakes may have their own restrictions. The WAKE WING™ has been designed to avoid most restrictions by not having the ski rope attached to the WAKE WING™ and also by not being inflatable. If a body of water has completely restricted all flying towables then the only way to mitigate the problem is by legal methods such as applying for waivers or lobbying to change the wording of the regulations.
Size and transportation:
The WAKE WING™ is much larger than a wake board or water skis but about the same size as large inflatables that are towed behind ski boats. If you currently pull a large inflatable behind your boat, then you have room for the WAKE WING™ too. Once in the boat or on shore it quickly and easily separates in to 5 pieces by just one person. Once disassembled it will easily fit in the back of a pick up truck, on the roof a a car, inside a ski boat, or on a very small trailer.
As talked about up above, safety is foremost on our minds. We have tried to make the WAKE WING™ as safe as possible by giving it very low flying speeds, altitude restricting design, no attachment points for tow ropes, and a binding free deck. As with any watersport there will always be a risk of injury or death. By using good judgement and following all regulations (such as wearing a life jacket and having a spotter in the boat) the WAKE WING™ will be AT LEAST as safe as any other sport that involves being towed by a boat.
Once the prototype has been completed, tested and refined it will be time to put the WAKE WING™ into production. Depending on the response and feedback we get from this Kickstarter campaign we will decide which of two routes to take to go into commercial production. If the demand is small we will produce the WAKE WING™ in small numbers in our own shop. If the demand is large, we will contract the production out to a large manufacturing specialist.
The WAKE WING™ should be treated as any other piece of watersports equipment. It will have warning labels and safety guidelines clearly printed in the surface. Any lawsuits that may arise will be covered by precedents set in the wake board and water ski industries.
- (30 days)