Project details

Engineer: Lee Barnfield, Lindstrand Technologies
Design: Lee Barnfield, Lindstrand Technologies
Fabrication: Lindstrand Technologies
Graphics: Neal Carter-James, Origin Paddleboards
Project manager: Neil Parmenter, Origin Paddleboards
Location: Worldwide
Photos: Origin Paddleboards

Please describe the project specifications.
We were approached by Origin Paddleboards with the goal of manufacturing a range of inflatable standup paddleboards (iSUP). Using our experience in inflatable structures and double wall fabrics Origin Paddleboards looked to us to create a product manufactured in the UK utilising European sourced parts.

What was the purpose of this project? What did the client request?
Ultra light, environmentally responsible (REACH certified) inflatable paddle boards to be massed produced in the UK. High load bearing capacity at low pressure (10psi) and able to withstand internal pressures well exceeding the industry standards of 25psi. As a consumer product, a premium level of finish and workmanship was essential. Origin Paddleboards aim to disrupt the stand up paddle and water sports industries by manufacturing environmentally friendly products and becoming a socially responsible company. They needed to think differently, be unique and push the envelope and challenge the status quo. They also knew that their products had to define their customers; the kind of people who like to travel light, be the master of their own destiny, to do what they want and go where they want when they want. Have an adventure, escape, push the limits, work hard and play harder. To do this their products needed to be incredibly lightweight, high tech and environmentally sound and manufactured in Europe and not Asia. They also needed to have the strongest products on the market to be able to offer an industry leading 5-year warranty and have a retail price in line with their Asian-manufactured competitors.

What is unique or complex about the project?
Products were to be mass-manufactured in Europe utilising European-sourced components wherever possible and having a minimal environmental impact. To enable this, European drop-stitch fabric was sourced as a replacement for the Asian variant. Although REACH certified, the European fabric had never before been used to manufacture precision consumer facing products and complexities with the fabric weave caused irregularities in structure form once inflated. To overcome this a complex preparation and cutting process was implemented. Once implemented, these variations became negligible and form became consistent. To generate industry leading strength to weight ratios whilst retaining consumer-required finishes, customised glueing components were essential and the result is a three-fold strength increase with half of the industry weight average and a high level, clean finish.Having a low carbon footprint and a functional recycling program was also a requirement which has been achieved by offering carbon neutral shipping, reducing packaging and where packaging is necessary, supplying only 100% recyclable packaging. Environment effect after the lifespan of the product has expired has also been addressed. Although there is currently no solution to full recycling of all materials, the boards are returned for reworking and then placed into an ‘ugly duckling’ fleet of boards which are to be utilised for group activities or are provided free of charge to charity groups who require them.

What were the results of the project?
Paddleboards with half the weight of competing products, reaching internal pressures thrice that of industry standards (in excess of 75 psi) and reaching operational stiffness at a fifth of industry standard pressures (4 psi instead of 20 psi) were manufactured. Added to this, the minimal environmental impact of the REACH certified materials allowed the most environmentally friendly inflatable paddleboard in the world to be constructed. Origin Paddleboards were extremely satisfied with the outcome and are continuing to develop their product. With sales of the paddleboards beginning to grow, we are now increasing their production capacities and have initiated rolling production. Sales are expected to rise dramatically over the proceeding 12 months. Further developments have been the removal of EVA materials from the construction and replaced with environmentally responsible cork components, supplied from within the UK, and the gradual replacement of plastic parts with aluminium one, manufactured in the UK from an environmentally responsible aluminium foundry.

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