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ElectraFin offers extra propulsion for paddleboarders

By

February 28, 2014

The motorized ElectraFin slides into the existing fin box on stand-up paddleboards

The motorized ElectraFin slides into the existing fin box on stand-up paddleboards

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As stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) continue to gain popularity, we're seeing something happen with them that always seems to happen with popular items – manufacturers are augmenting them. Just this week we heard about a modular SUP, which joins the ranks of ones that fold, and that can be converted into a tent. Now, Seattle-based Current Drives is offering an electric motor for SUPs, known as the ElectraFin.

There are three main components of the ElectraFin system. First of all, there's a polyethylene-bodied motor/propeller/fin unit that can reportedly be slid into the fin box on the underside of most existing SUPs in under one minute. A power cord runs from it, around the back of the SUP, to a waterproof battery pack mounted on top of the board. Finally, there's a wrist-worn wireless controller, that the rider uses to control the speed.

The 240-watt motor and the 14.6-volt lithium-ion battery add a combined 14 lb (6.4 kg) to the weight of the board, and can propel it to a top speed of 5 mph (8 km/h) for four hours or about 16 miles (26 km) – or longer if you're not going at full speed. Recharging the battery takes a claimed one hour for every two hours of use.

The ElectraFin wireless controller

The waterproof remote runs for over 100 hours on one charge. Along with allowing for speed control, it additionally displays the motor battery charge level, and will shut off the motor if the two are separated by more than 10 feet (3 m), as would happen if the rider fell off.

Flatwater kayakers can also take advantage of a kayak-specific version the ElectraFin. In their case, however, it's installed like a standard flip-up kayak rudder, at the back of the boat. This means that no drilling into the hull is required, and the propeller/fin can be pulled out of the way in shallow water or for transport.

The kayak version of the ElectraFin

Current Drives is currently raising production funds for the ElectraFin, on Indiegogo. A pledge of US$850 will get you a complete system, when and if they're ready to go. For $1,600, you'll also get an inflatable SUP specifically designed for use with the system.

... and if you like the general idea but think that 5 mph just isn't fast enough, you might want to check out the gas-powered 40 mph (64 km/h) PowerSki JetBoard.

More information on the ElectraFin is available in the pledge video below.

Sources: Indiegogo, Current Drives

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
4 Comments

I think a water jet with only the intake hose under water would work better. It would certainly be more efficient after the battery dies.

Slowburn
28th February, 2014 @ 08:19 pm PST

Nice idea, how about some flexible solar panels on the deck to help range, and possibly remove the need for a separate charger altogether?

Bob Flint
1st March, 2014 @ 06:54 am PST

Am I totally missing the point? I though the whole point of SUP's was for exercise? I suppose the electric drive can get you farther if you need to, but as far as human power watercraft goes, SUP's are probably the least effective at covering long distances especially in windy and/or rough conditions. If one wanted to cover great distances would a kayak or canoe be a better platform? I'm just not sure what problem electric drives for SUP's are supposed to solve.

sk8dad
3rd March, 2014 @ 01:25 pm PST

@ sk8dad

Get your bottom to shore if you have over done it.

Bring destinations into range that you would otherwise not be able to reach.

Let the parents keep up with the teenagers.

Slowburn
3rd March, 2014 @ 02:31 pm PST
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