The Paddle Sail

Finally, We came up with a sail design that was safe, lightweight, corrosion-resistant, durable, inexpensive, and able to be quickly set-up and taken down while out on the water.

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(Here is our first generation sail we named the "Sport")

Using cheap labor our family got into the act: Mom sewed the very first prototype sail, and our son tried it in the nuclear winds of "The Gorge". The sail worked, but his arms got tired and "fell off" sez he.

This became the first WindPaddle sail, known as the WindPaddle Sport Sail (now discontinued). It was the lightest weight sail we ever made (11 oz.), and was flown from a paddle or oar. We sold about 27 of these sails. The Sport Sail also worked really well in light wind conditions where a better breeze could be found higher up off the water. But it worked best as a distress signal device. Time to evolve.

The Adventure Sail

Having more of a sailing background than a paddling one we started hearing a deafening roar of input saying "We want to keep our paddle in our hands for bracing!". We listened, while retaining the compact coiling of the design and quick launching capabilities, which is at the core of our sail design philosophy.

Our most popular sail, the WindPaddle Adventure Sail, was thus born from testing and the invaluable input of paddlers. We addressed all of their needs by taking the sail off the paddle, and onto the deck. Now the sail can be quickly clipped onto any boat deck or canoe by using existing deck lines or hardware.

We also placed a large window in the center panel of the sail for visibility, and a continuous sheet or line so the paddler could easily control the sail while keeping their paddle in their hands for bracing and steering. This design change also made the sail incredibly stable and easy-to-use, so the WindPaddle Adventure Sail is fun for paddlers of almost any age or skill-level!

The Cruiser Sail

Responding to the needs of canoeists and tandem boaters, We also offer the WindPaddle Cruiser Sail, which keeps all of the lightweight ease-of-use features of the Adventure Sail but cranks the power up a few notches for the heavier boats.

The Scout sail

Folks wanted a sail for knocking around the lake or loaning to the neighbors that was easy for the kids to fold but didn't set them back too many $$$, which was the incentive for building the new WindPaddle Scout. While at the same physical size of 1m as our most popular sail, the Adventure, the Scout haslighter, more "user-friendly" perimeter batten that allows for easier coiling/folding. Stowing and flying this sail is a real "breeze".

What's Next...

Before we "launch" another product, we want to get our sails into more retail shops so you can find them. We also will continue to listen to our customers on how best to serve their sailing needs with the WindPaddle.

So if you have ideas about the WindPaddle, shoot us an email - we will take your suggestions seriously, and continue to make WindPaddle Sails the best solution for small-craft sailing!

WindPaddle History

Where It All Began.

The WindPaddle (U.S. Pat. #7,752,987) is a self-launching, small-watercraft sail for kayaks and canoes. We live in Hood River, Oregon – the windsurfing and kite sailing capital of the USA, so we had reason and inspiration to develop this type of product. And the requisite winds for testing!

Our background is engineering, windsurfing and boat/dinghy sailing, with a constant eye out for fun. We looked at the variety of kayak sailing devices on the market and saw inherent flaws in each with regard to a variety of factors, including overall design, operation, safety and cost.

We addressed the problems associated with the rest of the competition, and the WindPaddle was born. We invented a small-watercraft sail that was lightweight yet durable, easy to use, safe and affordable.

It took many trials and iterations before the WindPaddle was the safe and easy-to-use sail currently on the market. Putting our engineering education, our sailing experience and son Alec as the official crash-test dummy to use, we conducted Sea Trials (aka beer-drinking excuses) to explore various design concepts (Son Alec lived thru them all, although the psychological damage should not show up for years) (:

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The Umbrella Test

What paddler hasn't tried raising an umbrella into the wind? Of course we experimented (Played) with it, but three or four problems came up immediately:

  • No way to hold paddle or oar. Because it took two hands to hold and control the umbrella, it was impossible to hold the paddle.
  • Not durable enough. Even using the heavy-duty golf umbrella we stole from the local club-house, it became inverted and generally trashed because it couldn't stand up to real wind.
  • High corrosion potential. Rusted away, hard to stow and it didn't float!
  • We looked like dorks out on the water.

The Kite Test

Next, We tried a kitesurfing 4M training RAM kite, and at first we thought this might be the way to go with a sail. It was powerful and fun but there were drawbacks:

  • No way to hold paddle or oar (again). Just like the umbrella, the kite needed two hands to control.
  • Way too much room needed to launch. The kite could not be deployed just anywhere - it had to be in a very wide-open area, free from obstructions.
  • Incredibly unstable and unsafe on a kayak or canoe. It was simply too difficult to control and douse and impossible to relaunch in anything short of an afternoon.
  • Incredibly FUN based on the power, unstability and our lack of experience! Not for public consumption.