Matej Kračun’s review
Couple of personal notes in the beginning. When I first saw this project come up on Kickstarter way back in 2014 it ticked all the right boxes for me from the very first look:
– Slovenian start-up trying to make it big
– ingenious use of li-ion powered propelled drive in a recreational sport utility vehicle (a reminiscence of my own pioneer endeavors )
– a new sport for me to try, after hurting my knee badly, doing football, tennis, carving skiing & long distance running
So I decided to back the project, and it became one of my best decisions, as time passed. As I went to see the prototype board back in early May 2015 on a local lake, I was quite unfit and just recovering from a right knee operation. This was my first time on a stand up paddle board and I liked it immediately. The board felt really stable and I was enjoying the whole experience. I got hooked to the sport right there.
In the meantime (to cut the long story short) i paddled most of the last year including this winter, got quite fit in the process, and now own two solid boards next to a Sipaboard, one flat water carbon race board and one open ocean downwind / touring board + lots of paddles, fins etc.etc., and SUP became THE main sport activity for me. So big THANK YOU , Sipaboard team, you started it all for me!
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Now to the board review. I was actually the first backer to get full production board back in mid November 2015, and since then I paddled pretty much all local lakes and some rivers in the country with it, mostly in cold, winter conditions, harder on equipment and the batteries. It all works flawlessly, the compressor powered pumping up, the Sipa drive, Bluetooth controller on the paddle, LED lights, the whole system performs to the spec. Team is there to respond to questions, they even did a firmware upgrade to change some settings to my preference. It is easy to use, quick to set up and go paddling, and to pack in a neat back-pack and to store in the trunk of my car at the end of a day.
The paddling itself is comfortable experience. Sipaboard feels really stable and secure and holds the direction very well (thanks to the drive). The drive and the battery add extra 4 kg to the weight, but they are centrally positioned and you can paddle quite well balanced also with the whole thing turned off.
Of course, the fun begins, when you press the magic button on your BT controller, and the drive begins to propel you quite slowly.
There are three speed positions (slow, normal, fast) and I found normal speed position to work the best for me, as I can do my usual paddle workout, without the drive being too loud or mess up my direction. I did some endurance tests (in cold conditions) and it took me about 3 hours for battery to run out of power. Good result, as specified. About the speed – if you gear it to the fast setting, it adds about 3-4 km/h to your paddling speed, so do not worry to be a danger on the water. To be honest, on my carbon racing board I am going much faster just on my own muscle power…
In the conclusion, I can say I am satisfied with my purchase, I recommend the Sipaboard as a solid, well built quality product, with good after-sales support.
Have a look of Matej’s paddleboarding video in his Facebook post.