It has happened to me countless times, in cruising destinations from the Bahamas to the South Pacific. The yacht is at anchor, and I have ventured off from the swim platform to explore the harbor on a stand-up paddleboard. I’m looking down through the aquamarine water as the sun pierces the surface and spotlights the underwater scene. I see staghorn, brain and other coral shapes, along with fish of every imaginable yellow, red and other hue swimming around the reefs.
And then, the board blocks my view directly below.
Until now, this paddleboard design limitation seemed like a given. Europe-based Loeva is showing that there is another way.
Loeva’s board, called Le StandUp, is made in France from a carbon frame and a nano-structured acrylic glass called Altuglas ShieldUp. The material is meshed and structured at the scale of one-billionth of a meter, allowing it to be used in everything from bulletproof laminates to solar-thermal-energy applications. It is reportedly 50 percent lighter than glass and naturally resistant to ultraviolet light, making it a material that can handle the environments yachtsmen typically cruise.
Loeva’s concept of using this material to see all around and below extends to nighttime paddling too. Each board has a double row of ultra-white LEDs that, according to the company, can let riders see about 50 feet in all directions in clear waters. The experience is kind of like being able to remove a lighted swim platform from a yacht and head out to see even more fish. The battery that powers the LEDs can last as long as three hours before needing a recharge.
Le StandUp weighs 44 pounds, which is heavier than many other boards, but is still light enough for one-person stowage and launching. The board also has a fin that twists with every paddle stroke and then returns to its original position. Loeva says the fin’s design increases the board’s performance by giving it twice the propulsion and about one and a half times the speed of traditional paddleboard designs.
Loeva uses some of its income from Le StandUp to partner with Reefscapers, a consultancy that has worked to restore coral reefs since 2005. So, riders can not only enjoy the view below but also help to protect it.