Hitting the beach or lake on top of a paddleboard has been all the rage over the past few years. Some manufacturers and enthusiasts have set out to make it better, modifying the basic equipment with electric motors and multi-piece designs. The latest modification comes to the paddle, integrating a small sail into its handle to give boarders a little wind power on the water.
Curt Siverts has water equipment innovation in his blood. His father Don, a commercial diver by trade, built his own submarine back in 1969, with help from Body Glove founders Bill and Bob Meistrell. Don followed his original Snooper submarine up with the Snooper II, but passed away before completing it. Curt picked up the build, launching the vessel a few years ago and using it for his business Undersea Graphics.
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Siverts is so invested in the water that he lives on a boat in Redondo Beach, California … with his wife and six children. Watching paddleboarders muscle their way to and fro around his floating home is what gave him the idea for the Sailpaddle. A bit of prodding from his wife and design help from the entire family, and the DaSail SUP (stand up paddle) was born. After watching the movie Flash of Genius, the Siverts decided to take the paddle from family-bonding project to commercial product, working with a patent attorney, touring trade shows and founding Sailpaddle Company, LLC.
The Siverts family went through several different prototypes before landing on the ultimate design, which packs an 11.5 sq ft (1 sq m) piece of triangular nylon rip stop in the paddle shaft. The fabric is wrapped around a simple rigging that pulls out of the paddle with the help of a cap on the handle. The sail opens into shape almost automatically in a mere five seconds, with an available grip pad on the board cut to help steady the paddle and sail. The sail folds back up and stows away about as quickly as it comes out.
The Sailpaddle Company has helped to offset the weight of the added sail equipment by starting with an all-carbon fiber paddle and using lightweight sail components, resulting in a final weight of 2.2 lb (1 kg). For comparison, we looked at the paddles offered on REI.com and found that most fall in the 1.5 to 2 lb (0.7 to 0.9 kg) range, with a few weighing as much or more than the DaSail. The company says that the sail doesn't affect regular paddling performance, claiming that it will work as a high-end SUP paddle when the sail is stowed.
It seems like the DaSail Paddle could prove hard to keep steady in the wind and might even slip out of your hand entirely, but the family company shows children right down to five years old grabbing hold of the wind and propelling forward. Windsurfing/boarding of any form takes a little getting used to, as does paddleboarding itself, so we're sure paddlers can get sailpaddling down with a little practice.
Wind-assisted paddleboarding isn't a novel concept in itself, but it usually involves larger conversion kits or auxiliary sails and equipment – things that aren't necessarily built to be quickly converted. By integrating sail hardware into the paddle instead of the board or a separate piece of equipment, Sailpaddle offers versatility – you can paddle, sail, or both, all without stepping onto shore.
The DaSail Paddle looks like a slick solution for anyone that's ever wanted to try adding a little wind power to their board, but it's not cheap. A regular high-end carbon fiber paddle can run you a few hundred dollars, and the addition of the sailing hardware boosts the price of the Sailpaddle to more than double those prices. The Sailpaddle Company is raising money on Kickstarter now, and the minimum pledge for a paddle is US$700, which grabs a third production run paddle (if all goes according to plan). A paddle from the first production run is $1,000, and the very first 001 model is $3,500.
You can hear more about the DaSail Paddle story and see it in action in the video below.