Whipr, The New SUP Inspired Fitness Sensation
Luke Tipple was frustrated after repeatedly experiencing one of standup paddling’s most common problems––losing paddle fitness when life’s hectic schedule kept him off the water. But instead of complaining, Tipple designed a portable, home training solution––the Whipr.
Small enough to pack away in your carry-on luggage, yet precise enough to simulate the feel of real paddling, the Whipr was designed to improve your paddling fitness, both at-home and on-the-road.
Determined to simulate the most realistic standup paddling experience possible, Tipple enlisted the expertise of Black Project SUP. Over the past several months, Black Project co-founder Chris Freeman has worked in collaboration with the Whipr team to develop and manufacture the SUP accessory––an exclusive Black Project paddle shaft that attaches to the Whipr base unit.
“Black Project makes exceptional equipment,” said Tipple. “I knew there wasn’t a better designer and builder on the planet to take on the SUP accessory.”
Paddle Shaft and Proprietary Gears Mimic Real Paddling Feel
The Whipr’s resistance comes from a space-efficient base unit (6x6x6”) that uses a planetary gearbox and clutch system to provide smooth resistance. The gearing is designed to mimic the sensation of paddling through water by taking more effort to get moving, while rewarding momentum and consistency with a slightly easier stroke.
Of course, this SUP simulation is taken to the next level thanks to Black Project’s paddle shaft––designed exclusively for Whipr. The three-piece paddle––which breaks down small enough to fit in a carry-on bag––was constructed using a special blend of carbon fiber that is softer than normal paddles, giving it a distinctive ‘alive’ feeling in your hands.
“The initial prototypes were too stiff because the shaft is shorter and the forces are applied a little differently,” said Freeman. “By softening the shaft, we are aiming to mimic the feel of water resistance to produce as close to a normal paddling experience as possible.”
The realistic feel of the paddle stroke was made possible by extensive testing and feedback from Black Project athletes. The result is an at-home SUP trainer that will allow paddlers to train off-the-water and then translate that effort into power, speed and success on the water.
“In every way, these are genuine Black Project paddle shafts,” said Freeman. “Hence, the look and feel will be familiar and create a seamless transition between training on-land and on-the-water.”
Multiple Modalities for Cross-Training in Your Living Room
Let’s make one thing clear––the best training for standup paddling is standup paddling. But with that said, it’s still essential for paddlers to cross-train with different sports that engage different muscle groups.
The Whipr is designed for that exact purpose.
What started as a SUP trainer has quickly evolved to become an ecosystem of modalities; now offering training solutions for SUP, skiing, rowing, swimming, surfing and (soon) kayaking.
For comparison, purchasing a SUP ergometer, a rowing machine and ski-erg would cost roughly $4,000 and fill up a small bedroom. Whipr costs less than 10% of that and is around half the size of a basketball.
Additionally, the Whipr’s Bluetooth capability will allow paddlers to track their progress and record workouts stats including stroke rate, distance, time, watts, calories, 500-meter splits and more. The Whipr app will unlock advanced features for paddlers including actual calories, logbook, training videos and eventually social competitions. But if paddlers prefer to track progress using a different app, the Bluetooth will connect to many common fitness apps, such as Strava.
Huge Demand with Massive Kickstarter Campaign and Big Name Partners
When the Kickstarter campaign closed, the Whipr had already amassed nearly 9000 backers and raised over $3.4 million.
“I’m beyond grateful and humbled by the response,” said Tipple. “It’s truly a dream come true.”
This early success has also begun attracting some bigger fish to invest in the company.
Just this week, Whipr announced that Daymond John, the CEO of FUBU and investor on ABC’s Shark Tank, had joined the team. And from the sports world, Rich Froning Jr., dubbed the “Fittest Man in History” after winning four consecutive individual Crossfit Games championships (2011-2014), also joined the Whipr team.
“With decades of manufacturing and retail experience, Daymond brings a lot to the table and adds to our legitimacy for future investors,” said Tipple. “Rich is one of the top athletes in the world and his experience working with Erg machines is excellent for our development.”
Consistency is key when it comes to standup paddling. The Whipr will give every paddler the opportunity to maintain a consistent training regiment, while still maintaining a realistic SUP feel with an authentic Black Project paddle.
Best of all, the Whipr is portable and won’t break the bank.
“Whipr is a fantastic way for paddlers and non-paddlers to keep fit and be energized at-home or on-the-go,” said Freeman. “And if it also encourages more people to get on the water and stay fit then that would be a huge win for society.”