When we last checked in with Jason Woods, he’d electrified his Kymera powered body board and was aiming for a 2013 release and US$5,000 retail price. To finally get the Kymera in the hands – or under the bodies – of consumers, Woods has now decided to go the crowdfunding route. The good news is that, if the campaign proves successful, supporters should be able to enjoy their boards this year, and for as little as $2,500.
Although the original Kymera prototype was powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE), Woods turned to an electric motor to provide the starting reliability that he felt was required by search and rescue (SAR) users, which had shown interest in the Kymera. For this reason, as well as the regulatory costs surrounding the ICE model, Woods has chosen the electric model for his Kickstarter campaign.
However, this doesn’t mean the ICE model has been relegated to the annals of history. Woods says a successful launch of the electric model will enable him to continue development of the ICE model, with several propane engines and tank systems currently undergoing testing. He has also designed the hull and tooling for the electric model to facilitate a switch to a combustion engine with minimal modification.
But it’s the electric version that will be first cab off the rank, which will be powered by a 6 kW unit. However, to let users get their sea legs and maximize their run time, the motor will come tuned to 1~2 kW. To unlock the motor’s full potential, users will be able to plug their Kymera into a PC, which will let them adjust a number of parameters related to power usage and download data logs detailing metrics including voltage, current, temperature and RPM.
While there are plans for various sizes, Woods has chosen the 6-foot 4-inch (1.93 m) board as the first production model. This board will support riders up to around 6 ft 2 in (1.87 m) tall and 220 lbs (99.8 kg). Rider weight will affect speed and range, but Woods estimates the swappable 1,000 Wh lithium polymer battery is good for average run times of one hour and a top speed of around 10 to 15 mph (16 – 24 km/h). The battery should last from 300 to 400 cycles with proper charging.
Set to weigh in at around 48 lbs (22 kg) – 29 lbs (13 kg) without the battery pack – the Kymera achieves Woods’ original goal of a personal watercraft that is compact enough to be transported in a car without a trailer and light enough to be carried from the car to the water under an arm.
If the crowdfunding campaign is successful and the board is put into production, Woods plans to eventually offer the Kymera in three different sizes. This will include a “Rescue board” that will feature a fold out deck pad that will increase the board’s length to 10 ft (3 m) to allow it to double as a rescue sled. The Rescue board will also boast a remote operation capability so that it can be controlled from the shore or after being dropped from a helicopter.
This remote control capability will also be offered on a kids board that will allow parents to override the board controls from on shore. This board can also be radio fenced, so that if the child leaves the range of the remote, the throttle is cut to 25 percent power until they return to within the approved area.
Supporters can get themselves a Kymera for as little as US$2,500, which includes the board, battery and charger. Stepping up to the $3,500 tier sees the addition of a high speed, two-hour charger and two swappable battery packs. The $5,500 tier adds a Solar Roof Rack Charger, that will fully recharge a battery pack in 3.5 hours in full sun and can also be used to charge other battery-powered gear while heading off grid.
The next tier up is the Full Carbon Package at $7,500, which includes a limited edition board with a handmade carbon fiber hull that will come pre-tuned to 6 kW and sheds some 8 lbs (3.6 kg) compared to the standard model. Also included are a high speed, two hour charger and two upgraded 1,000 Wh LiPo4 battery packs that should be good for over 3,000 charge cycles. The top tier is the $10,000 Elite Package, which is essentially the Full Carbon Package, but with a custom paint job by airbrush artist Ed Hubbs from Full Blown Kustoms in a theme of your choice.
However, slots for all tiers are limited, so interested parties will want to get on board early. Once all supporter pledges have been met, Woods will be taking some finished production boards to the Marin County Fire/SAR teams to put them to the test in a real world rescue environment.
Woods’ Kickstarter video pitch for the Kymera can be viewed below.