This self-inflating jet-propelled paddleboard is causing a stir
In the world of water sports, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. But the sport requires a certain degree of strength and endurance.
Inspired by his daughters’ struggles to navigate strong currents, Slovenian entrepreneur Sebastjan Sitar is on a mission to make sport more accessible to people of all physical abilities.
In 2016, he founded SipaBoards in Kamnik, Slovenia, and created the world’s first self-inflating jet-propelled paddleboard. Although electric and self-inflating boards exist separately, Sitar’s design was the first to incorporate both features into a single board.
“The idea was not to change the sport but to give it a wider audience. People feel much safer if they know an engine will help them get back to shore,” he said.
The Sipa Drive All-Rounder is the company’s latest e-SUP model, featuring a fully integrated jet motor powered by dual batteries that last up to six hours.
The board also has a built-in compressor that inflates it with the press of a button, promising optimal pressure in minutes. The board can reach up to 4.3 miles per hour on the water and comes with a Bluetooth smart paddle that acts as a remote control for the motor.
Riders can inflate their board and control its speed via the SipaBoards app, which also monitors battery life and tracks distance traveled.
“The engine is like a small submarine. It has an easy-to-remove cover so you can access the batteries, charge the board and get in the water,” Sitar said.
When SipaBoards first introduced the concept of an electric motor in its paddleboards, people were hesitant to combine electricity and water, according to Sitar. But he says its innovative design ensures rider safety.
“Once people have tried the board and seen how stable and fun it is to ride, we see that people quickly change their minds,” Sitar said.
Sitar believes SipaBoards’ electric models will revolutionize the sport of stand-up paddling in the same way e-bikes have transformed cycling – allowing users to go faster and cover longer distances with less effort.
Sitar says its various e-SUP models are now available in 38 markets worldwide, starting at €3,025 (about $3,260). SipaBoards is now trying to set up SUP rental points around the world and aims to partner with 30 rental points before the start of the 2024 season.
“We want to create a social network for electric water sports, where people can share their experiences, create new paddling routes and connect with other riders,” Sitar said.