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Carbon Foilprint

by Kate Calamusa
The Current

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…. a super surfboard equipped with a hydrofoil mount so that it seemingly floats above the water and—thanks to space-grade carbon fiber fabrication—can also tolerate a rip-roaring 25hp direct drive electric engine. This zippy ride is one of the first products launched by Carbon Orca, a Seattle-based firm that recently graduated from the state’s Maritime Blue Accelerator Program and looks to shake up the e-water market. “I grew up wakeboarding and skiing on Mason Lake, which kick-started my love for water sports,” says CEO and founder Bryce Bertolin about the inspiration behind the brand. “And in recent years, as e-battery tech has really evolved from the likes of Tesla and others, I got to thinking about how to merge my love of adrenaline and water sports with my love for tech and electronics, and the idea for Carbon Orca took off from there.”

The Tacoma native has built his first boards more like boats than sporting equipment, manufacturing them by infusing epoxy resin into a carbon fiber laid-up in a fiberglass mold. The models also feature several storage compartments that can be modified according to the customer’s wishes; and in the hydrofoil-mounted board, these compartments also house all the e-components. Because of their aerospace-grade construction, Carbon Orca’s boards can also handle a 25hp motor, as opposed to the 8-10hps most competitors offer. “The way we have integrated the two techs together, both e-batteries and foiling, helps answer a disparity in the market. They can do more than boards, but are less expensive than boats and give people another way to access the water.”

Bertolin also explains that he crafted his boards as prototypes, in a way, for the future: his long-term goal is to craft catamaran vessels by integrating Tesla e-motors into hydrofoils that will then be bolted onto carbon fiber hulls. “The boat is actually why I first created the brand, to test the tech, get all the systems and fabrications in place, and to see what was possible,” says Bertolin. “But my hope is someday soon you’ll see one of our surfboards strapped to the back of one of our boats somewhere in the Puget Sound.”

For more information on Carbon Orca, go to: carbon-orca.myshopify.com.

The Current

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