The best craftsmanship isn’t always revealed at first glance. Like the guts of a fine watch or the engine of a Ferrari, it is hidden – unveiled only to those with an eye for beauty, a feel for refinement, and an appreciation for quality. True craftsmanship is an incentive for the inquisitive and the forged respect between builder and user…between craft and art.
ULI Boards is dedicated to handcrafting the best inflatable standup paddleboards and surfboards in the world. Our legacy extends back to the invention of the inflatable board and the persistent art of refining the process. There are no other boards on the planet like an ULI. “You can feel the difference as soon as you get on the boards,” is something we hear a lot. But what is behind the hidden craftsmanship that makes an ULI and ULI, and defines the “ULI Feel?” This article describes the science behind making the world’s finest inflatable standup paddleboards and surfboards.
To begin, ULI Boards are the only inflatable SUP boards that are made in the United States. Each board is crafted by hand in Vista, California, just north of San Diego. This positions ULI to stand alone in their ability to produce custom shapes and designs on demand. In this way, ULI perpetuates the legacy of traditional surfboard shaping through local sourcing and production, making it an option for inflatable boards. You can call ULI with a concept or visit the shop to create your own template. Your board will then be custom fabricated from scratch. In the same way, each of the refined shapes that have been designed by the ULI team are produced by hand once your order is placed.
Tech and Components
TriSeal Tech Rail Construction: TriSeal Tech Construction is our unique process that gives our boards superior strength and rigidity. By overlapping four layers of material, our seams have three one inch glue joints. This process enables an ULI to easily withstand 20-PSI while in turn increasing our durability, overall quality, and most importantly, the feel and experience ULI riders get on the water. An independent finite element analysis shows that an ULI board is up to 47% stiffer than our competitors.
Kevlar Tech Performance (KTP): Every ULI features a wide Kevlar strip to both the top and bottom of the board. KTP allows ULI Boards to create a ‘stringer’ for inflatables that locks in the board’s overall shape and rocker. The response, stability, power, and rigidity is noticeable as soon as you step foot on the board, and even more pronounced in the rigorous environments of surf, whitewater, or SUP Racing. These performance upgrades that KTP adds to every board is a vital piece of what makes an ULI an ULI.
Inflation and Pump Quality: Another aspect that defines ULI’s superior construction is the premium valve used in each board. The valves are rated far beyond the maximum inflation giving users confidence in this crucial component. The ULI valves combined with their premium drop-stitch and Tri-Seal Seams enable ULI Boards to be confidently and reliably inflated to the recommended 20 PSI.
Just as important as handling the 20PSI, however, is getting it there. ULI not only crafts their boards by hand in the USA, but also the hand-pumps that are included with every board. These pumps have been refined for years and are built to be incredibly reliable, durable, and capable of the high inflation capacity that make ULI’s performance possible.
Wiki Rails: ULI’s patented Wiki Rail system creates a hard-edge through the stern section of the board that reduces drag and increases stability. The result is a faster board that is substantially more maneuverable. Whether you are negotiating rapids, riding waves, or racing your board in flat water, the WikiRail will greatly enhance your experience and performance.
The WikiRail has been attributed as one of the defining advantages in ULI’s championship wins including the Payette River Games, Colorado SUP Championships, the GoPro Games, the New River Gorge Whitewater Race, and others. ULI Boards with Wiki Rails are some of the fastest and highest performing standup paddleboards on the planet.
Lastly, ULI Boards has been making SUP Boards for longer than anyone. ULI founder, Jim Weir, invented the inflatable surfboard in 2003 and started making SUP Boards shortly after. ULI is completely focused and dedicated to the highest quality inflatable boards. We do not make anything in the San Diego manufacturing facility except inflatable SUP and surf boards. These reasons ensure that ULI Boards is on the cutting-edge of inflatable technology and craftsmanship and continues to produce the world’s finest inflatable standup paddleboards and surfboards.