We reached out to ONEAN CEO Inigo Sobradillo to learn more about his electric boards and how everything started.
In January 2020 we had the opportunity to do an Onean video interview for the E-SURFER Youtube channel with one of Inigo's team members who was demonstrating the new 2020 models such like the Carver Twin and the Carver X to us. Watch the demo here:
Okay, let's dive right into the interview with Inigo.
What sports did you do as a teenager?
Inigo Sobradillo: I began windsurfing when I was 13 and once you begin there is no way out, you are hooked. The freedom sensation when you are planing over the surface is completely addictive . Once you have tried it, you have no choice but to pursue it.
When did you have the idea of motorized surfboards?
Inigo Sobradillo: The idea came up while I was in college, it was one of those days when there was hardly any wind and you realize the weather dependency for this sport. The idea of the Electric propulsion was clear from the beginning because I was already involved with it at school.
Once I had the opportunity to begin the project three years ago, electric vehicles were already settling in the market and the tendency to replace these for combustion engines was clear.
How did you first prototype look like?
Inigo Sobradillo: The first prototype was handcrafted. We needed to quickly validate the feasibility of the concept and we used a commercial windsurf board and incorporated an early stage propulsion system.
What we were looking for was to see if lithium batteries were able to stand such power demand.
Was your intention to build a business?
Inigo Sobradillo: We were able to launch this project within another company (Bizintek Innova) where we saw the opportunity of developing certain applications for other clients that would demand electric mobility systems.
This way the project began as internal training within our company. The objective was to design a 100% electric propulsion system for a surf board besides acquiring knowledge about mobility electronic systems.
During the first tests of this first prototype at the beach, we saw the tremendous interest drawn by the Board and we decided to bring this project to a developing phase for its later launching into the market.
Which were the biggest challenges?
To begin the production of a product is always a great challenge. And even more with a product of this magnitude which gathers so many areas of knowledge, skills and experience.
On the other hand, we are constantly working on our R&D&I to launch new models in the near future.
What was your biggest success?
We believe that one of our biggest achievements is to have designed the entire board in modular systems. This way it’s easier to expand the different options to present to our customers, and this way, each customer can choose the board that best fits to their size and skill level.
How often are you riding your own boards?
Not as often as I would like to. This company demands a lot of dedication and that leaves very little time for trips to the beach but I try to use them at least once a week. Not only to enjoy the ride but also gather more information about the product while its being manufactured.
What do you think about eFoils?
Inigo Sobradillo: Foils are very interesting products. I have tried myself and once you dominate it, it’s very easy and comfortable going over the water without touching it. But for myself, I prefer to get a closer feeling from the water by going planning on its surface.
Anything else for your fans?
I have been asked in multiple occasions what my preference is in terms of watersports. To be Frank, if there is wind, I go windsurfing, if there isn’t any, I go Jetsurfing.
These are complementary sports, it’s not one or the other. When it comes to surfing it is the same. It’s a completely different feeling and the sports behind a board have different routes although the names may seem similar.
Thanks to Onean founder Inigo Sobradillo for taking the time for our questions in these busy times. If you have further questions, please ask them in our Onean forum.