You all know Jeff Bare. We interviewed him on EngineerVsDesigner (Episode 5!!) About a year ago, he started working with a new watersport company named ZUP. It’s like ‘Up’ with a Z or when you punch your homey in the face and say, ‘wha ZUP.” They’ve developed a whole new product that makes skimming across the water so much more fun and SO much more possible than ever before.

ZUP boards

Whether you’re an long-bearded old-man or a one-legged ballerina with a sensitivity to the sun, the ZUP board was designed to get you up and out of the water easier than pushing your friend into the lake and speeding off with his 24 pack of naty light (don’t drink and boat.) If you have the arm strength to pull yourself out of the water, you’ll be up in no time, but even if you don’t, you can start out kneeling and enjoy skimming across the water just the same. It’s really a new watersports board that combines kneeboarding, wakeboarding and water-skiing. Jeff was involved in the design, helped with the new handle development and gave us some insight to the design process.

[I] have ridden several prototypes since I was brought on last year. The ZUP Boards are a lot of fun. And coming from a landlover with a history of mostly dirt and mountain based sports, it is incredibly easy to ride. The board and tow rope handle was modeled in SolidWorks (I became quite familiar with boundary and lofted surfaces).

We used a lot of 3D printing in the development process (especially for the DoubleZup tow-rope handle). We used renderings early on to help people invision the design in our heads vs the ugly and function prototypes we had up to that point. Biggest challenge has been time. To see where this thing was a year ago when I started on it and how far it’s come blows me away. Lots of exploring different mfg options and learning their strengths and weaknesses. And seeing the 1st roto-molded ZUP Boards come hot out of the mold was quite rewarding. Looking forward to a fun summer.

As are we Jeff, as are we. (Free test models of the ZUP boards can be sent to SolidSmack HQ.)

Here’s how to ride it…

You can snag the board on websites like Overton’s for $330 USD (not including handle, additional $130), about twice the price of a typical knee-board or low-end wake board, but would be so worth it for the combo plus the joy of everyone in the family being able to float across the water.












Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.