July 24 2017, updated 7:46am

Super-speed paddle board built in Christchurch paddock

Last updated 05:00 02/05/2016

Sam Loader from Pacific Paddle Company surfing his Stand Up Paddleboard at Sumner bar in Chirstchurch

Sam Loader surfing one of his Stand Up Paddleboards at Te Oka Bay on Banks Peninsula.

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Sam Loader is chasing a dream to build the world's fastest stand-up paddle board designed in Christchurch using the latest technology.

His company, Pacific Paddleboard​, won a $12,500 grant from government research and development agency Callaghan Innovation to design and sell the planet's fastest paddleboard.

Loader who learned to surf in the seaside suburb of Sumner where he grew up, hopes to have the super-sleek board ready for sale within eight months.

 His 15 board designs range from wide boards for recreation, to slimmer ones for top speed. Some are ocean-going, others are made for gentle cruising in beachfront shallows, and he also sells inflatables suited to river-play.

Paddleboard craze is a standout

The boards, which are all fabricated overseas apart from the race board, have a foam core that is then encased in PVC fibreglass and pressed carbon fibre or bamboo. 

Loader said the finished product was like ultra-light material used in an America's Cup yacht.

The 30-year-old started Pacific Paddleboard less than three years ago, financing the venture with money earned working for a stand-up board retailer in San Clemente​, a famous boarding strip not far from Laguna Beach and San Diego.

He saw the boarding style at its simplest, a sport for anyone prepared to stand up and try their luck.

"I was paddling with a 98-year old in the States and that just made me think it's a skill and anybody can do it."

By that he meant kids to their parents and grandparents.

The thought inspired him to come back to New Zealand and start his own stand-up paddleboard company.

Loader, who completed a Bachelor of Commerce at Victoria University, keeps costs down by operating from four 40-foot shipping containers in a leased Halswell farm paddock. 

To maximise profit margins he sells online to New Zealanders and Australian customers. He said this allowed him to retail boards for $1400 each, compared to the $2500 price tag retailers might put on the product. 

He hoped to boost sales by finding a competitor on the sport's professional circuit prepared to use one of his boards.

Loader has help from his partner, Cate Watson, and his dad, Grant, a retired aircraft engineer. "My father helps me out every now and then for a bottle of whisky."

Loader said his father's role was critical in turning computer designs into real objects. He also had design help from Milton Bloomfield, a major contributor to the design of another Christchurch innovator, Martin Jetpack​.

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- Stuff


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