We’re starting to see a pattern. Another email from a Slovenian engineer, another project having do with hi-tech nautical-ware. This time our engineer, Sebastjan Sitar, was stand-up-paddle-boarding near Dubrovnik on the legendary Dalmatian coast—I wish I could casually make a similar claim about my weekend activities—when he realized that these SUPs could use a jet propulsion system.
And why not? You take these boards out a little too far, and then you have to fight a current as you make your way back to shore. Sitar realized the need for power when he got a scare watching his own daughters struggling with their boards. This inspired him to come up with an overall better SUP experience. He and his team then started SipaBoard.
The SipaBoard is self-inflatable—they say it’s the world’s first—so there’s no need to bring along extra manual pumping gear. Think of the board as one of those spare air mattress you have for guests in which you slide in the pump unit. According to the specs, it takes five minutes to get the 11 ft. board fully packed with air.
In addition to the the pump, there’s also the SipaDrive battery powered propulsion system. There’s no external propeller in their totally embedded jet drive, which can provide up to 3.5 knots and more 3 hours of operations at cruising speed.
The paddle—known as the SipaPaddle—can communicate via Bluetooth with the propulsion system to control the speed. And this wouldn’t be a gadget without apps. There are IOS and Android versions that provide remote control and display tracking of the board.
The project is on Kickstarter where they have already met their goal of $150,000. A pledge of $900 will get you a sleek Slovenian Sipaboard. Estimated delivery is in September of 2015.