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.
We also offer a kit for a hybrid version of the Kaholo, which has the same plywood hull but a cedar-strip deck.
This is intended for pre-build study or to help with the decision to purchase. This is the comprehensive manual that accompanies the kit; reading it will help you decide whether or not you can build the board. It describes all of the techniques that will be used during the build and also a step by step guide to construction. It contains a photograph or diagram of every step.
If, later, you decide to purchase the kit the cost of this will be deducted from the kit price.
The manual does not contain the cutting instructions so it is not possible to build the board from scratch using only this.
The construction manual is also available as a PDF download. After credit card authorisation a download link will be sent to the email address put on the order form.
These study plans are intended to give you an overview of the construction of the board. They are in PDF format that can be viewed using Adobe Reader. There are two pages and they measure 279 × 216 mm (11″ × 8½″). They can be printed for carrying around.
After credit card authorisation the plans will be sent to the email address put on the order form.
When you have studied the plans, your next step might be to order the printed instruction manual, which will walk you through the project step-by-step.
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. The plans for the Kaholo contain full-size drawings for every part.
The frames sets contain all the internal plywood frames (bulkheads), precision cut from premium marine plywood. When building a paddleboard from plans, these pre-cut frames will save you the time-consuming job of cutting the intricate frames by hand, without having to buy the complete kit. This does not include the long plywood stringers that slot into the frames and support the deck.
To use these frames, you need to be using version 5 plans or later, because the location of the bulkheads has changed. If you are using an older plans set, we can supply frames for them too, but you will need to contact us to get them.
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.
This option increases the versatility of your Kaholo SUP by adding a standard longboard centre fin box, in place of the laminated wooden skegs supplied with the kit. This allows you to change your fin to suit different conditions. This upgrade includes one fin box and the pre-cut plywood parts to fit it into your Kaholo. Complete instructions are available to download in PDF format.
Please note that this must be installed early in the build and can not be retro-fitted.