ElectraFin offers extra propulsion for paddleboarders
By Ben Coxworth
February 28, 2014
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 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.
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.