Stand and Deliver

C4 Waterman reinvents stand-up paddleboards

August, 2007

First popularized by Waikiki beachboys in the 1920s and ‘30s, stand-up paddle surfing has been experiencing a resurgence in the past several years. However, the price for a stand-up surfboard can be steep. Last month, local company C4 Waterman unveiled its ULI inflatable board, which is a more affordable, portable and rideable alternative, especially for beginners. The C4 Waterman ULI (Ultra-Light Inflatable): $1,349.99

The board is not intended for high-performance conditions, but it’s great for beginners and open-water training. The ULI’s portability also makes it an obvious choice for traveling watermen.

The two-piece paddle can be disassembled into two smaller pieces and doesn’t sacrifice performance for convenience. The C4 2-piece Paddle: $289.99 – $349.99

Inside the body of the ULI are hundreds of strings, connected to the top and bottom of the hull. This flexible internal structure enables the board to maintain its shape and rigidity without losing any maneuverability.

Paddles are available in two models: fiberglass and carbon fiber. While the fiberglass models are cheaper and slightly heavier, both float and are ultra-light. However, the price of carbon fiber is rising while materials become scarcer, in part because of the U.S. federal government’s increased use of the resource for military applications.

The ULI inflates from the size of a rolled up sleeping bag to an 11-foot, 17-pound board with three hard fins. Made from the same material used to make military rafts, the board’s reinforced PVC and fiberglass fabric can withstand extensive punishment.

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Matthew Ing