Introduction: Make a Handheld Skating and Snowboarding Sail !

Picture of Make a Handheld Skating and Snowboarding Sail !

These unique portable folding sails are used in conjunction with skates and boards of all types by kids and adults of all ages. From summer In-line skate sailing to winter Snowboard sailing, discover the fun of using the power of the wind for free, ecological (green) energy. Other possible modes of transport include Skateboards, Mountainboards, Skate shoes, Snow skates, Ice skates, the possibilities are endless. Other skate sails cost hundreds of dollars and are rigid. This sail design folds down in seconds and weighs only a few pounds.

Step 1: Snowboard Sailing on Lake

Step 2: At the Beach

Picture of At the Beach

An example near the water

Step 3: Sailing on Parking Lot

Step 4: On the Snow

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With a snowboard

Step 5: Here Are the Steps So You Can Build Your Own Handheld Sail

Picture of Here Are the Steps So You Can Build Your Own Handheld Sail

These are the steps I took to build my first dozen or so skate sails.


1. For the sail part you will need a tarp about 8' X 10' (~$4.99), duck tape (~$2.99) and clear plastic material (the kind old ladies cover the furniture with)that's about two buck for a square yard. These can be found at a Walmart near you, the clear material being found in the fabrics section.

2. The 3/8" fiberglass shock chorded poles can also be found at that store or a large camping store (Dicks, Gander etc.) They run about $6.99 for 4 sections, and since you need six, unfortunately you need two packages.

3. Finally you will need about two feet of plastic tubing about 3/8" inner diameter and some zip ties. These will be used to keep your sail affixed to the tips of your poles. They can be found at Lowes, Home Depot etc.

Step 6: Building the Sail

Picture of Building the Sail

So, your tarp already has the grommets to attach to the poles so all you need to do is make your windows. You can pick any size or shape but I found triangles to be most friendly in case you want to just eye-ball it.

1.Cut the desired shape out of your tarp with blade or scissors. Then place the plastic window underneath to cover your hole. At this point duck take the window to the tarp by overlapping the tape over the tarp and window.

2. Flip your contraption over and cut the excess window around your hole. Now duck tape that side in the same manner as the other side.

The result: a tarp with a nice window that is double duck taped.

Step 7: The Shock Corded Poles

Picture of The Shock Corded Poles

Assemble the poles as per the instructions except use three sections per pole instead of four. You'll want your actual rubber cord to be nice and taught so your pole sections spring back nice and strong.

At this ponit you can cut your plastic tubing into 1 inch pieces. You will need eight pieces for final assembly

The result:

Two 8 foot long fiberglass poles.

Step 8: Final Assembly

Picture of Final Assembly

Ok, we are almost there. The idea here is to affix the four corners of the sail to the tips of the poles. The way I have found to do this is as follows:

Slide a piece of plastic tubing into each pole tip about three inches in. Then slide the corner grommets to each tip. The plastic tubing prevents the grommet to slide all the way down. Then slide another piece of plastic tubing to each tip towards but not touching the grommet (it should be loose). Your tent poles came with plastic tips which can then be inserted to the tips as shown on the diagram.

The sail assembly is pretty much complete. Wrap zip ties around the plastic tubing pieces. This secures them to the poles so they don't slide anymore.

That's pretty much it for your new sail!

Step 9: Folding Your Sail

Step 10: Folding Your Sail

Picture of Folding Your Sail

your sail is now folded

Step 11: Folded Sail

Picture of Folded Sail

looking pretty cool with your folded sail

Step 12: Other Uses

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Some computer generated pics

Step 13: Other Versions

Picture of Other Versions

most of these prototypes are made of tarp and regular fiberglass tent poles

Step 14: Closeups

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these are closeups of the sail now available for the public


ElvenChild (author)2013-06-23

Where I live, the wind seems to only get up to 14km/h, how high a wind speed do you think you need for this to be used effectively?

nelelr (author)2008-09-27

Has anyone seen instructions on making a "paraglider" sail on the cheap out of tarp and other materials similar to the ones this guy has shown? I read an article about guys in africa where people go paragliding sitting underneath a sail they run off of grass hills and glide to the bottom and sometimes can even catch a thermal and stay afloat for hours. apparently the locals were so intrigued that they made their own working parasails out of garbage bags and tarps etc i'd love to see some instructions for those sails they made. I guess its the same process as above just probably a different shape and probably a stacked tubular chute rather than a single sail? I really dont know enough about this can someone provide a link or type some info to give me a clue?!

benedict688 (author)nelelr2012-03-15

Thats sketchy, parasails are a lot more comlicated than this, wouldn't be using tarps or trash bags for that. If you do, good luck, there are parasailers by my house all the time, and they cant get sailing pretty far off the ground

zleebme (author)nelelr2009-05-20

When it comes to paragliding i wouldn't trust a tarp to hold me a couple hundred feet in the air.

zvillesurfer (author)zleebme2009-08-21


ilpug (author)2011-08-21

this is awesome, but in my experience, tent poles are always breaking. would it be ok if i used broom handles, PVC, or rope handles?

de0509 (author)ilpug2012-02-26

well, unless the broom sticks can disrupt the wind too much. But think about it, they are at most about 1 inch in diameter. they should be better.

Dont have the funds and time for now, but id like to suggest. 2 sticks for holding onto, hockey tape to prevent splinters and tie top of stick to top of another stick and bottom to bottom with paracord. Then you find a way to attach the tarp to the ropes once you finished it do message me :D. pleaseeee.....

ilpug (author)de05092012-02-27

I will try it with 3/4 inch PVC pipe.

evindrews (author)2011-07-15

I'm just asking, but how do you stop if the wind is blowing really hard? This looks very fun, I'll try it with my long board, but i'm afraid of falling off and losing the sail

darknessfalls (author)2011-06-19

haha a few of my friends and i did this with tarps and broomsticks a year or so ago with longboards, was a ton of fun!

aden breems (author)2011-06-19

You could never do that with a power kite!!!

Dread_Neck (author)2011-04-27

you can also use old tent poles, connect and duct tape.

Raydoom (author)2010-05-07

Where did you get your skateboard wheels from?

larslovespeace (author)Raydoom2010-09-15

It is not a skate board it is a mountainboard- but for onthe road stuff search for a longboard ( it is meant for cruising on and going long distences) longboard can also make turns compared to skateboards

Dreistein (author)2009-12-25

 could this make me go into the air

cheeze1125 (author)2008-07-25

why do u put the windows on it just makes 1 part weaker but this is a awesome ifdea

it is for visibility, you will be facing the tarp, i can not believe how many people ask this

Let them find out the hard way as that is usually the best way to learn LOL!!

SirBrittanicvs (author)2009-08-24

Haha, I got really bored one windy night last November so I grabbed a bedsheet, a bamboo stick and some other random stick and tried doing this down the Boston Commons. XD

bneboys (author)2009-04-25

I did this with a big sign that people were giving out at a protest... same principle people were looking at me real weird (the sign said "drop Bush not bombs"

NZbomber (author)2009-03-30

Hey, If i were to make a makeshift mountain board and have one of these how fast would this pull me. also would it work better if you modified one of these to use as a kite for land boarding or similar? Thanks

Owenmon (author)2008-12-01

man if i made this today i would've been flying :D the wind was like 60 mph

KNEX BUILDING IS FUN (author)2008-11-20

if u want, it may be helpful to the veiwers if u made a video of u making one of the ones that ur about to sell maybe with some tips on doing it that u learned throgh out all the ones u ahv made, just a thot nothin else lol thanks again for ur answers j man

pmac93 (author)2008-08-20

don't the tent poles come apart when the sail pulls on them?

dguillot (author)pmac932008-08-20

That is the best question I have received yet. Very 3-D and intuitively thought out. The idea is that the friction that occurs when the wind pulls and bends the poles attached by ferrules actually keeps the poles tightly in place. Ever try the Chinese finger torture device? The harder you pull, the stronger it gets. BTW this instructable is available on E-Bay under "skate sail" and will be showcased in Vegas at the 2008 International Inventor's Exposition in October.

i coodnt find it on ebay?

sry, I sold two last week and didn't re-list another. Try it now and good luck! David

oooh i see it thanks. sorry but 50 or so is to much for me to save up, but thanks anyways, your insturctable explains it great so ill just make it myself, and then i gues post a video on if you'd like thanks J Man

and codnt u also put felixable plastic tubing on the betweens( in between of the sectoins) of the poles?

KNEX BUILDING IS FUN (author)2008-11-15

how do i buy the onse available to the public? or is it free? either way is it free or how much does it cost dgulliot( the public ones )?

cheeze1125 (author)2008-07-25

what are the windows for

you are going to be facing the tarp, so you need to see where you are going

dguillot (author)shammallamaman2008-08-05

Generally the sail is in front of you so yes, They are there so you don't crash into cars and trees.

XI3 (author)dguillot2008-10-30

have you thought about making a kite version of this? mabey using a wake board handle with a rope hooked to each corner. this could get you faster (because higher up more wind.) and it would solve the visibility issue.

gameboy7oa (author)2008-08-05

you could just probly use a tent fly alot easier then all of that work

PYROMan1 (author)gameboy7oa2008-08-08

put a lot of rain guard on the tent fly and it works realy well

Teh_Fluff (author)2008-08-07

try it with a ripstik/wave board/blade board

dguillot (author)2008-08-07

FYI, first edition of these are available real cheap on E-bay. Seller even offers money for pics and vids back.

Rye2121 (author)2008-08-06

how do u get your instructables to be "featured"?

trebuchet03 (author)Rye21212008-08-07

You need to make something awesome... That includes a lot of your own (high quality) pictures. Have clear instructions, credits and applicable warnings... Novel (or seemingly novel) projects are a big bonus ;) Then, a staff member has to also think it's awesome. And then that staff member will feature it ;)

jeffconnelly (author)2008-08-04

When I saw this instructable, I was thinking about how costly a tarp and the poles could be. I have a big roll of heavy duty plastic , and an old tent. do you think you could tell me how long your poles are? I might try this though, but with just the plastic, as the visibility would be better

dguillot (author)jeffconnelly2008-08-05

Great idea. I have tried that. The only thing is that you'll need to put in your own grommets. As a rule of thumb each of your poles should be a few inches less than the material sides they are attached to. Also, tarps with grommets shouldn't cost more than $5. Good Luck! Send pictures.

The Rocketizer (author)2008-07-15

Oh. Is There a way you can put up instructions on how to make our own? Or where to get them. Looks like a cool thing

dguillot (author)The Rocketizer2008-07-15

Yop, sorry I just switly put it up. It is basically two fiberglass poles that are shock-chorded attached to a 8x 10' tarp with some windows cut out of it. pics and vids at

cheeze1125 (author)dguillot2008-07-25

what are the windows for

I'd assume they would be for added visibility so you wouldn't crash into anyone and you could see where you were going. Many windsurfer sails have clear windows in them too for this reason.

The Rocketizer (author)dguillot2008-07-15

Cool thanks. Will check out that site

kiowapilot (author)2008-07-22

Its all cool until you want to stop. You collapse the tarp, it drags onto the ground, you run over it and wham, your flat on your face.

dguillot (author)kiowapilot2008-07-22

Kiowapilot, sounds like you had a bad experience with this type of design. In my experience, the wind keeps the sail off the ground when you bring the two poles together to stop. Then you can tuck the assembly under your arm or fold it up.

Molybdenum (author)2008-07-20

Would this work with a wakeboard? I got really exited when I saw this because I've always wasted to try kiteboarding, but don't have the dough to buy all the gear.

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