Many a would-be paddleboarder is dissuaded from ever getting onto the water by the heavy, enormous size of the boards, which typically measure 9.5 to 12.5 feet (2.9 to 3.8 m) in length. This bulk makes the paddleboard difficult to transport and store, especially when dealing with the small cars, public transportation and tight apartments of city living. To help get more boarders on the water, Corran Addison Paddleboards has developed a three-piece board that packs into a roller case for easy transport and storage.
If the name "Corran Addison" sounds vaguely familiar, as it did to me when I ran into the company's display at the recent Outdoor Retailer show, it's because the namesake founder is a three-time world champion whitewater kayaker who competed in the 1992 Olympics and held the world waterfall jumping record for more than a decade. He was a staple of kayak magazines back in the 90s, sometimes pictured sporting a mohawk.
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Addison's career in designing equipment naturally started on the kayak side, and he switched over to the surfing market more than a decade ago, moving into the fast-growing stand-up paddleboard segment from there. After founding and leaving several water sports companies, Addison put his name on the most recent, indicating he might just stick around for a bit.
"Just five years ago there were less than 40 [paddleboard] companies worldwide," Addison explained on Kickstarter last year. "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."
The Hydra is Addison's latest innovation. It's a 9-foot (2.7-m) board that breaks down into three 36-in (.9-m) pieces, all of which pack neatly into a car trunk or the available wheeled carry bag. As is easy to imagine, the take-apart construction makes the board much easier to store, transport and handle than a full-length 9-foot board. It's even designed to be checked on an airplane.
When you arrive at the lake or beach, the board assembles in less than a minute. Holes within the sides of each segment couple with rigid cylinder inserts and secure together as one with ratchet buckles. Corran says the Hydra will ride stiffer than an inflatable on the water. The retail version will be constructed from high-density EPP/PE expanded foam, and Corran has been playing around to get just the right mix.
The modular design of the Hydra also allows users to create different sized boards. You could add an extra mid-section (sold separately) to create a 12-foot board or remove one for a small, 6-foot kid's board. Corran also told us it's developing a different style of nose for the board that can be swapped out to create a fitness-oriented design.
The Hydra isn't the first multi-segment board design that we've seen, but it does have an advantage or two over others like the Point65 Rum Runner and Origami Paddler. The primary advantage is its price tag of US$699 (with paddle), which is several hundred dollars cheaper than the other two options. That price is at the low end of a market in which prices often run above $1,000.
The wheeled carry bag is another handy feature Corran offers. While it probably won't be of much use for rolling your board over the sand to water's edge, it makes for lighter, more compact travel when rolling down the street and boarding public transit. Without such a carry case, the board would be difficult to transport outside your own automobile.
After wrapping up a successful Kickstarter campaign last December, Corran Addison has been finalizing and testing pre-production Hydra boards over the past few months, with plans to launch in September. His company has an established dealer network around North America, with international distributors in Europe, Asia, Oceania and Africa. It also sells directly via its website. The wheeled carry bag and extra Hydra segments will be sold separately.
The video below shows how you (or a bikini-clad blonde, as it happens) can drive the Hydra to the water in a Lamborghini Gallardo, assemble it in the parking lot and get on the water.
Source: Corran Addison