Friday, April 24, 2015

First SUP Core Assembled

Don't have space for this, but did it anyway.

Here's a time lapse of my first cardboard SUP core build.

This is a 12 foot board, inspired by the Hobie ATR model that was out a few years ago.

The core pattern is significantly less dense than what I use for surfboards - larger star pattern, larger gaps to span, but less weight, and hopefully, a better view through the board. Not sure if it will be dense enough to provide reasonable strength and durability. I half expect this board to fail early, and I'll be half glad if it does. It would be good to approach what's optimal from both sides.

With the attitude that failure is an option, maybe some of you want to try to build this SUP before we even know if it will hold weight. I'm fairly confident I'll get at least a few sessions out of it, and that's worth it to me. (My very first board had this same core density, and it seemed to hold up fine, even though it was leaking. But I only rode that one once before retiring it in favor of my 2nd board.)

If you're up for the risk, the cut patterns for laser cutters are here: SUP12_v-1

You might finish the build before me. Let me know how it goes.

Maybe you'd rather have me be the one to waste that time and effort on the more-likely-to-fail end of the R&D arc. Hey, me too! That's part of the idea behind the previous blog post. It would be cool to see how this work progresses with adequate resources, and SUP developement seems a good theme to gather those resources around.

Monday, April 13, 2015

SUP Build Lab Space Wanted

I'd like to try building some SUPs, and maybe a prone paddleboard. But there's no space or budget left to do that here.

What would happen if we gave this project a decent workspace and an adequate materials budget?

We'd get more boards made. That's all. More styles, some core structure evolution, some different materials. But, bottom line, just more boards.

Anyone want to pour resources into just that? I do. I am.


Much more could come from having real space and a budget. I've got a few other just-add-water projects that people will dig, each deserving it's own funding pitch.

But I'm not overly optimistic or deceptive enough to concoct Kickstarters, spin startup visions, or compose grant proposals. Every time I try to stuff my work into those forms I end up with a plausible plan that I don't fit into.

All I can confidently promise "investors" is that with space and a budget I'll work on SUP designs until my curiosity about how to pull it off is satisfied. And the residue of that will likely be several functional translucent SUPs, and some more public information on how to build something similar at home. Is that worth the expense? (Of course! But does anyone else agree?)

If you expect more, maybe read between the lines and gamble the long odds that my other work will come out even better than the surfboards thing. The long odds are my best bet.


Buckminster Fuller famously celebrated the trend of doing more and more with less and less, so that soon we'll be doing everything with nothing. Sometimes I feel like I'm trying to live in that future before it's arrived.

All I should say here is, I'd like to try building some SUPs, and if some of you can help me piece together some sort of live-work base situation to enable that, then I'll build a few SUPs.

Work space, office space, crash space. Materials budget, lunch money. The works. Starting from zero (again). Under-promising. Anyone have a space that could host this kind of thing?

- Mike