Using a stand-up paddleboard is like walking on water which is why they are all the rage.
Designer John C. Harris counted himself among the sceptics before trying one out in California in 2006. “It's the most amazing sensation – as close to walking on water as you're going to get. But a little faster. You achieve kayak-like speeds, but your visibility is vastly improved because your head is so much further off the water. You can see more, see further, and in clear water you have a much better view of sea life than you do in a kayak.”
It's also a major workout – every muscle in your body is at work as you ride over waves and work the long-handled SUP paddle. If taking a walk is healthy, taking a walk on water is healthy and the view is better. Harris says he can imagine it changing one of his hobbies – wandering marinas on foot looking at boats – to a Kaholo. Nature lovers can paddle quietly through the shallows.
It took 18 months and many prototypes to refine the Kaholo SUP. Working with surfing and paddleboard guru Larry Froley of Gray Whale Trading in California, John created a board with that rare quality of being fast enough to race but stable enough for first-timers. Tracking is great and a fine bow with a kayak-derived shape lifts the Kaholo up and over waves. The tail shape and twin fins facilitate surfing.
The board is okoume marine plywood, stitched-and-glued together and sheathed in glass fabric, with a grid of bulkheads and stiffeners inside to make the board stiff and light. It can be built in a week.
The 14-foot version of the paddleboard is better for larger paddlers or those accompanied by dogs or small children. The 12½-foot board is more compact and better for smaller paddlers.
Please note that as the result of customer feedback the latest Kaholo kits come with just one, more conveniently situated, carry handle.
A detailed Kaholo 14 build log (with lots of photos) can be read on our forum.
Some people like to add a hatch, but this is not included in the kit.
These plans and manual contain sufficient information on the cutting of the panels to make it possible to build the board from scratch rather than a kit.
Deck pads for the Kaholo paddleboard are available in the standard 0.98 m (3′ 2½″) length that comes with the kit or a longer 1.93 m (6′ 4″) version. This black self-adhesive foam sticks to the paddleboard deck to improve traction and provide cushioning to protect your knees.
The deck pads are computer-cut with rounded corners and a peel-and-stick backing. Align the pads carefully – the adhesive is emphatically waterproof and will last for years and years.
Order the deck pads kit upgrade with a Kaholo paddleboard kit to replace the included short deck pads with long ones.