Folding SailStick lets longboarders catch the wind
Sails for longboard skateboards do already exist, but they're pretty big – about the size of a sailboard sail. The SailStick, however, folds down for relatively easy carrying and storage when not in use.
Invented by Dutch entrepreneur and software developer Jesper Wulffers, the SailStick started out as a broomstick with two stunt kites attached. Numerous prototypes followed, with the current version featuring an aluminum boom and two kite-inspired folding nylon sails. Plans call for a future model to feature a lighter fiberglass or carbon fiber boom.
Wulffers says that by adjusting the angle at which the device is held, users can travel in any direction relative to the wind – they can even travel upwind (in the direction from which the wind is blowing), just like sailboats are able to do.
He suggests learning to use the SailStick at wind speeds of 14 to 17 knots (26 to 31 km/h or 16 to 20 mph), then moving up to wind speeds as high as 21 knots (39 km/h or 24 mph).
Jesper claims to have already taken the present incarnation of the device up to 42 km/h (26 mph). In its current form, it weighs 2.4 kg (5.3 lb), is 1.4 m long (4.6 ft), has a total sail surface area of 1.2 square meters (12.9 sq ft), and can reportedly be folded or unfolded within 30 seconds. And while it's been demonstrated mainly as a longboard accessory, it's also intended for use with snowboards and stand-up paddleboards.
Should you be interested, the SailStick is presently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of €185 (about US$219) will get you one, when and if it reaches production.
You can see the device in action, in the video below.