Carrying a SUP just got easier | Local invents hands-free strap

Michael Vebow demonstrates how the strap works. | Courtesy Diane Hemmert

Adrift Tahoe in Kings Beach is pretty close to Lake Tahoe, but a lot of standup paddleboarders aren’t as fortunate to be next to his or her favorite body of water. Rather most paddleboarders forced to carry their cumbersome boards for some distance before reaching water.

Fortunately, Diane Hemmert invented a solution that makes carting a paddleboard to the water a little easier. Hemmert learned how to SUP at Adrift Tahoe. She calls the sport “the antidote to skiing.” She took a trip to Maui, Hawaii, a few years ago and rented a paddleboard from one of the nearby board shops to take to the ocean. But after lugging the board two and a half blocks, she realized there had to be a more efficient way of getting it to the water— especially for those who don’t live next to an ocean, lake or river.

The strap can be wrapped around the ankle while paddleboarding. | Courtesy Diane Hemmert

“My forearm and my fingertips hurt so badly,” Hemmert says. “I did that two times before looking for a strap. I tried other straps, but they were large and I didn’t want to leave it on the beach for fear that it would disappear. They were too cumbersome for my liking. I felt that I could create a strap that was smaller and more condensable.”

In turn, she created a mechanism with which one can easily transport the board, that relieves the neck, forearms and hands, called the SUPrSTRAP. It has multiple functions, from the strap itself to the bag it comes in. The strap rolls up into a neoprene lining that wraps around the ankle while paddleboarding.

Hemmert returned from that Maui trip with what she calls a divinely inspired idea that she was excited to pursue. She soon found the Nevada Inventors Association in Reno, Nev., and leaned on surfer Matt Pasamonte, who worked at the Maui board shop, 808 Boards, where she had rented a paddleboard.

“808 Boards in Maui has been really instrumental in helping me with this. Matt was my creative contributor, constantly telling me what worked and didn’t work. He helped me get over the hump [of bringing the product to market],” said Hemmert.

To follow through on the idea, though, she relied on her contacts and resources in Maui, the Nevada Inventors Association and an inventors’ consultant to find the right materials.

“There were so many ups and downs you can’t even predict,” she says.

Hemmert worked on the design for about a year and a half before releasing her first prototype in 2016. She gave a few SUPrSTRAPs out to paddleboarders in Hawaii, Lake Tahoe and Oregon, and received positive feedback. One of her friends said she uses it to transport her massage table.

The strap can also be used to hang a paddleboard for storage.

Diane Hemmert demonstrates how to use the SUPrSTRAP. | Courtesy Diane Hemmert

“This was designed for multitasking women in mind,” Hemmert says. “Everything about it has multiuse. People say it’s great and that they love it; families say they fight over who gets to use it on their board. It’s also becoming a popular thing that men buy for their wives,” she says.

The SUPrSTRAP allows anyone to carry any large awkward items hands free by hooking it around the bottom of the item and then on the outside of the shoulder. There’s even a spot to hold the paddle.

It is currently sold at Adrift Tahoe, Marina PaddleFit & Rentals in Sparks, Nev., and online. Hemmert says she is thrilled that the place she learned to paddleboard is carrying SUPrSTRAP and that it’s starting to get noticed. She notes that the best way to become more familiar with the SUPrSTRAP is to watch the videos on the Web site. Next, Hemmert plans on improving her design by integrating a SUP leash function. | suprstraps.com