(Continued from the first installment of Cobian’s six-part Standup for Others series to enable adaptive paddlers)
Cobian’s Mission: To work with a variety of adaptive surfers at the forefront of the sport to identify needs related to their surf vehicles (and associated accessories/devices/surf equipment), in an effort to design and manufacture the Ultimate Adaptive Surf Vehicle. If successful, this project would enable our participating athletes to demo the effectiveness of the UASV project and hopefully inspire other adaptive athletes to join the adaptive surfing movement and community. At the end of the day, it is our hope that this project will enable all adaptive surfers to be as autonomous as possible in their pursuit of catching waves providing them with a stoke that can only come from the ocean that God provided us with.
Adaptive Athletes (alphabetical):
Cobian Team Members/Role:
John Afshari, Adaptive Athlete Coach, So Cal Special Needs Surfing
Chuck Glynn, Professional Waterman and Fabricator
Delaney Kuepper, Ocean athlete and founder of KidzWhoCare
Bethany Hamilton, Soul Surfer & Cobian Ambassador
Mike Coots, Adaptive Athlete and Cobian Ambassador
Chris Peck, Marketing coordinator
Andy Jones, Project manager
Breaking the project down:
Although all the adaptive athletes participating in the project face similar struggles, each athlete’s situation is unique; be it the injury they contend with, the type of vehicle they use, the equipment they ride or the challenges they face accessing the ocean as well as experiences once in it.
Our starting point was to have each athlete complete a survey (see sample). One of our challenges will be to design to the collective needs of the group while still allowing some degree of customization to accommodate each athlete. After reviewing the individual surveys, we have attempted to compartmentalize the design challenges into smaller sub-projects. The project team is working closely with each athlete to understand nuances of each topic while making sure they consider the impact that each individual element may have on another area within the scope of the project. For example, for convenience it may be easier to design a board transportation to work within the interior of the vehicle, but due to the size of the board it may restrict overall access should the adaptive athlete need use a ramp or lift to access driver controls. Consequently, a more sophisticated system may need to be designed that would transport the board on the roof of the vehicle while still maintaining accessibility and ease of access. Throughout this technical write-up, we have attempted to highlight unique design challenges and/or solutions.
The Vehicle: this section will contain the general observations and survey responses of the athletes combined with the professional recommendations of the project team as it relates to determining the optimal chassis and any necessary functionality, features etc. (e.g., cargo van, 4 x 4, minimum length/height, solar, back up battery etc.).
Chair Lifts/Ramps: this section will discuss the findings and recommendations of the project team based on the type of system that would be best utilized…depending on whether the boards are transported inside the vehicle, livability etc.
Board Transportation and Accessibility: this section will discuss the findings and recommendations of the project team based on ease of use, number and types of boards, security of boards etc.
Beach Ingress/Regress: this section will discuss the findings and recommendations of the project team based on parking, accessibility to the beach, feasibility and functionality of transportation to the water’s edge, securing mobile transportation devices from theft or damage and other devices generally found to be beneficial such as beach mats etc.
Modernizing/Adapting Surf Craft: this section will discuss the findings and recommendations of the project team based on history and development of surfcraft intended for use by adaptive surfers, availability and types of current craft, future development through CAD, expanding the adaptive surf community making surfcraft (as well as the entire experience) accessible and affordable etc.
Other considerations: this section will discuss the findings and recommendations of the project team based related to redundant systems for safety, solar, livability, etc.
Engaging the project
Now that we have surveyed the athletes to understand their backgrounds, goals, transportation and equipment challenges and have identified the scope and design challenges; it’s time to itemize our findings, ascertain how many of these things are off-the-shelf solutions versus what items will need to be customized and fabricated from scratch.
Once complete, we will solicit help from others who believe that Every Step Matters to assist us in gathering the necessary resources to implement the design: the vehicle, its up-fitting, mobility equipment, surf craft, related accessories and more.
We encourage you to follow this project and participate by providing us with any feedback or insight you think would be helpful. If you have something to contribute please contact Andy Jones at Andy@CobianUSA.com