Title:
Stool for paddleable watercraft
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A stool for a paddleable watercraft having a support surface includes a base omnidirectionally pivotly supporting a saddle. An upper portion of the stool includes a post supporting a saddle for partially supporting a paddler in a sitting position. The base, supported by the support surface of the watercraft, includes a support assembly for the post including a bearing assembly and a flexible, resilient, cylindrical coupling omnidirectionally pivotly supporting the lower end of the post. The saddle includes a tubular member for connecting with the support assembly to place the upper portion in a stowed position wherein the post is substantially horizontal to the support surface.



Inventors:
Wood, Bruce G. (La Mesa, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/928657
Publication Date:
04/21/2011
Filing Date:
12/16/2010
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B17/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WIEST, ANTHONY D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Palomar Patent (3490 Mission Mesa Way San Diego CA 92120-1573)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A stool for a paddleable watercraft having a support surface; said stool comprising: an upper portion including: a post including: a lower end including a bearing surface; and an upper end; and a saddle connected to said upper end of said post for partially supporting a paddler in a sitting position. a base supported by the support surface of the watercraft including: a support assembly for said post including: a bearing assembly including: bearing member including: a bearing surface for omnidirectionally pivotly supporting said lower end of said post; and a cylindrical coupling having a normal axis relative to the support surface and including: an upper collar connected to said post for supporting said post in a generally normal orientation relative to the support surface; said coupling being flexible and resilient such that said saddle moves omnidirectionally horizontally responsive to horizontal forces on said saddle by a paddler and such that said post is biased to the vertical orientation relative to the support surface.

2. The stool of claim 1 wherein: at least one said bearing surface of said bearing member or said lower end of said post are adapted for pivoting said post without vertical movement of said post.

3. The stool of claim 1 wherein: said bearing member includes: a concave bearing surface; and said lower end of said post includes a matching convex bearing surface for pivoting thereupon.

4. The stool of claim 1 having a stowed position and wherein: said saddle includes: stowing connecting means for connecting said saddle to said base such that said post is stowed substantially horizontally to the support surface.

5. The stool of claim 1 wherein: said saddle includes a tubular member for sitting upon by the paddler including: an end adapted for mating with said coupler for connecting said saddle to said coupler such that said post may be stowed substantially horizontally to the support surface.

6. In combination: a paddleable watercraft including: a support surface; and a stool for partially supporting a paddler comprising: an upper portion including: a post including: a lower end including a bearing surface; and an upper end; and a saddle connected to said upper end of said post for partially supporting a paddler in a sitting position. a base supported by the support surface of the watercraft including: a support assembly for said post including: a bearing assembly including: bearing member including: a bearing surface for omnidirectionally pivotly supporting said lower end of said post; and a cylindrical coupling having a normal axis relative to the support surface and including: an upper collar connected to said post for supporting said post in a generally normal orientation relative to the support surface; said coupling being flexible and resilient such that said saddle moves omnidirectionally horizontally responsive to horizontal forces on said saddle by a paddler and such that said post is biased to the vertical orientation relative to the support surface.

7. The combination of claim 6 wherein: at least one said bearing surface of said bearing member or said lower end of said post are adapted for pivoting said post without vertical movement of said post.

8. The combination of claim 6 wherein: said bearing member includes: a concave bearing surface; and said lower end of said post includes a matching convex bearing surface for pivoting thereupon.

9. The combination of claim 6, said stool having a stowed position and wherein: said saddle includes: stowing connecting means for connecting said saddle to said base such that said post is stowed substantially horizontally to the support surface.

10. The combination of claim 6 wherein: said saddle includes a tubular member for sitting upon by the paddler including: an end adapted for mating with said coupler for connecting said saddle to said coupler such that said post may be stowed substantially horizontally to the support surface.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention is a stool for a paddler of a paddleable watercraft.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Paddleboards are watercraft that resemble large surf boards and are propelled by paddling by user. A use may lie or sit on the deck of the paddleboard and use hands for paddling, or may sit and use a paddle for paddling, but, in the major mode of propulsion, the user stands on the deck and paddles with a long, single-blade paddle. There are several benefits of paddling while standing. Standing while paddling uses a very large number of the user's muscles from the toes to the head. It greatly increases the user's balance. The standing user stays dryer and warmer. The standing user has a better view into the water.

A problem with standing while paddling is fatigue. Leg fatigue is particularly common. The user's legs must continually react as the paddleboard rocks from side to side and dips from front to back. This balancing uses muscles that fatigue easily. For some users, especially older users, back fatigue is common. Paddling while standing requires bending forward in a semi-crouched position which places a strain on the lower back muscles of users with sensitivity and causes discomfort.

Therefore there has been a need for a device that reduces fatigue of a paddleboard user.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front, top, left side perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the stool of the invention on the deck of a paddleboard.

FIG. 2 is a front, top, right side perspective view of the stool and paddleboard of FIG. 1 further including a paddler using the stool.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the stool of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is cross-sectional view, partially cut away, of the support assembly of the stool of FIG. 1 and bottom end of the upper portion.

FIG. 5 is a side, top, rear perspective view of a stool in a stowed position.

FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view, partially cut away, of connecting ends of the saddle and base of the stool of FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference now to the drawings, and more particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2 thereof, there is shown, in FIG. 1, a front, top, left side perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the stool 10 of the invention on the deck 93 of a paddleable watercraft, such as paddleboard 90, and in, FIG. 2, a front, top, right side perspective view of the stool 10 and paddleboard 90 of FIG. 1 further including a user, such as paddler 96 using stool 10 for sitting upon while paddling with paddle 99.

Paddleboard 90 may be of conventional design. The exemplary paddleboard 90 includes a support surface 92, such as deck 93 that is at least partially covered with a deck pad 94. Deck pad 94 provides padding and a high friction surface for the paddler 96. Although stool 10 is shown and described in combination with conventional paddleboard 90, it will be seen that it may be used with other types of paddleable watercraft, such as canoes and longboards.

Stool 10 generally includes a base 20 and an upper portion 50. Base 20 is placed upon and supported by support surface 92, such as by deck pad 94. Base 20 includes a support assembly 30 for supporting an upright member 51, such as post 52 of upper portion 50. Upper portion 50 includes a saddle 70 for straddling by paddler 96 for partially supporting paddler 96. Stool 10 and the legs 97 of paddler 96 form a tripod for supporting paddler 96.

Adding FIGS. 3 and 4, FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of stool 10 of FIG. 1, and FIG. 4 is cross-sectional view, partially cut away, of support assembly 30 of base 20 of stool 10 of FIG. 1 and the lower end 53 of post 52, of upper portion 50.

Preferably, post 52 is a hollow pipe. An ABS plastic pipe of 3″ inside diameter and 3.5 inch outside diameter has proved suitable. The hollow interior contributes to light weight and may be sealed off to provide for flotation of upper portion 50 or may be available for storage for articles, such as an inflatable life vest. A plug 56 may permanently seal post lower end 53 or a user removable plug may be used to access storage space 55 within post 52.

Lower end 53 of post 52 may be adapted, such as by a curved bevel, as seen in FIG. 4, to form a bearing surface 54 for slidingly pivoting on a mating member, such as bushing 37 of base 20.

Base 20 generally includes a foundation plate 22, a float 25, and support assembly 30 for supporting post 52 with a bias to the normal orientation relative to deck 93.

Foundation plate 22 has grip tape or grip material 23, such as deck pad material, on its underside to aid in retaining stool 10 on deck 93. Grip material 23 may cover the entire bottom surface of foundation plate 22 or may be in patterns, such as strips. Foundation plate 22 provides a large stable platform for gripping paddleboard 90 and for preventing stool 10 from toppling. Preferably, foundation plate 22 is made of firm material, but slightly flexible material such that it will conform to slight curvature of deck 93. Quarter inch thick plastic has been found suitable for foundation plate 22. Preferably there is a central drain hole 29 for water in foundation plate 22 and grip material 23.

Float 25 is attached, such as by gluing, to foundation plate 22 for providing flotation. A three-quarter inch or one inch thick, pliable, closed-cell foam has been found suitable.

Support assembly 30 supports post 52 with a bias to the normal-to-deck orientation. Support assembly 30 generally comprises a bearing assembly 31, including a bearing member 32, a bushing 37, and coupler 40.

Bearing member 32 is attached, such as by gluing, to foundation plate 22. In the exemplary embodiment, bearing member 32 is a generally cylindrical element including a side wall 33, and, on the top end, a bearing surface 34, such as concave bearing surface 35. As will be seen, bearing member 32 directly or indirectly supports post 52. Bearing member 32 may be made of any suitable, load-bearing material, such as ABS or PVC plastic.

Bearing 54 of post 52 may ride upon and be omnidirectionally, pivotly supported by bearing surface 34 of bearing member 32. However, it was found that this plastic bearing was so low in friction that saddle 70 moved more easily and quickly responsive to a side force than was found desirable. Therefore, washer-like bushing 37 was added to increase the friction resistance to pivoting. In the exemplary embodiment, a thin, sheet bushing 37 of closed-cell, neoprene rubber applied to bearing surface 34 of bearing member 32, such as to concave bearing surface 35, conforms so as to, like-wise, have a concave upper bearing surface 38 for receiving lower end 53 of post 52. Bushing 37 provides sufficient friction to the pivot to make the pivoting more controllable by the paddler 96 and contributes to the stability of the seating balance. Preferably, bearing surfaces 38 and 54 have different areas so that one may pivot on the other.

Although use of a bushing 37 is shown and described, it should be recognized that a similar increased-friction result may be achieved by selection of other materials and surface finish of the bearing pieces, namely the lower end 53 of post 52 and bearing surface 34 of bearing member 32. Also, although a concave upper bearing surface 38 and convex post beveled bearing surface 54 is shown, the bearing surfaces may have other configuration. For example, the curvature of the bearing surfaces may be reversed or only one could be partially spherical and bear on a flat surface of the other. Preferably, the support bearing surface, 34 or 38, and the lower end 53 of post 52 are adapted for facilitating omnidirectional pivoting of post 52 without vertically moving saddle 70.

Coupler 40 retains post 52 to base 20, and biases post 52 to an orientation generally normal to deck 93. In the exemplary embodiment, coupler 40 is made of resilient, but fairly stiff, rubber. A common coupler for joining plumbing pipes of dissimilar sizes has been found satisfactory. Coupler 40 includes a central bore 41, upper portion 42 wherein central bore 41 is of a diameter for receiving post 52, and a lower portion 46 wherein central bore 41 is of a larger diameter for receiving bearing member 32 and bushing 37 such that post bearing surface 54 is supported by bushing bearing surface 38. Upper portion 42 has a collar 43 snuggly fitting post 52. Lower portion 46 has a lower collar 47 attached to the lower part of base 20, such as to bearing member 32. Lower collar 47 may be permanently attached to bearing member 32 or may be frictionally attached such that if post 52 should lean past a predetermined angle, say 30 degrees, then lower collar 47 will disengage from bearing member 32, such that upper portion 50 with attached coupler 40 will separate from the remainder of base 20. This releasing prevents damaging strains on coupler 40 and acts as a safety break away.

Coupler 40 is sufficiently resilient such that forces on saddle 70 cause post bearing surface 54 to pivot on bushing bearing surface 38 as indicated by small arrows in FIG. 4. During pivoting of post 52, the mid-section of coupler 40 flexes and distorts to retain post bearing surface 54 on bushing bearing surface 38. Coupler 40 attempts to return post 52 to normal position. Preferably, coupler 40 is circular, as shown, such that the pivoting is omnidirectional.

The elements of base 20 all have a central drain 29.

FIG. 3 shows the upper end 58 of post 52 connected to and supporting saddle 70. Saddle 70 is adapted for positioning in the crotch of paddler 96 for partially supporting paddler 96. Saddle 70 may be of any comfortable configuration. Because it is desirable that paddler 96 be able to mount saddle 70 from either the front or the back, it is preferable that saddle 70, is fairly narrow so as to fit between the paddler's legs 97 in the paddler's crotch. Although a straddle saddle is preferred, other saddle configurations could be used.

In the exemplary embodiment, saddle 70 is a tubular member 71 that includes a hollow interior that can be used as a dry storage space 75. One end, sealed end 72, of tubular member 71 is sealed, and the other end, cap end 76, includes means, such as threadably removable, water-proof cap 77 with O-ring 78 that provides for access to the interior of saddle 70.

A padded floatation cushion 85 is attached to saddle 70 by attachment straps 86. Mating hook/loop fastener strips 88 on saddle 70 and on lower surface of cushion 85 hold cushion 85 in position on saddle 70.

FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate stool 10 in the low-profile, stowed position. In the stowed position, stool 10 is more out of the way when paddler 96 is standing or performing certain tasks, such as fighting through the surf in the ocean or during initial launching. Also, in the stowage position, stool 10 is more easily transported and carried. FIG. 5 is a front, top, rear perspective view of stool 10 in a stowage position, and FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view, partially cut away, of stowage connecting end of saddle 70, such as cap end 76, and connecting end of base 20, such as upper collar 43 of coupler 40, of stool 10 of FIG. 5.

In the stowed position of FIG. 5, upper portion includes connection means for connecting upper portion 50 to base 20 such that post 51 is substantially horizontal. In the exemplary embodiment, one end of tubular member 71, such as sealed end 72, is adapted for attachment to support assembly 30, such as to coupler 40, and includes an inner ring 73 fitting snuggly inside coupler upper collar 43 and an outer ring 74, such as inside surface of tubular member 71, fitting snugly around collar 43. The dry storage space 75 of saddle 70 is easily accessed with stool 10 in either the upright or stowed position. The storage 55 of post is accessible in the stowed position. In an alternate embodiment of stowing connection means, not shown, tubular member 71 fits over lower portion 46 of coupler.

In a typical use, stool 10, in the stowed position, is placed on the front portion of deck 93 of paddleboard 90 as paddler 96 transits the surf and gets positioned for paddling in the standing position. Once standing, paddler 96 removes upper portion 50 from the stowed position and places it in the upright position. Paddler 96 moves stool 10 so that paddler 96 straddles stool.

Having described the invention, it can be seen that it provides a very convenient device for partially supporting a paddler and prevent leg and back fatigue. It supports the paddler while the watercraft pitches and rolls. It is lightweight and buoyant, and provides storage.

Having described the preferred embodiments of the present invention, many alterations and modifications which are within the inventive concepts disclosed herein will likely occur to those skilled in the art. For example, upper portion 50 may be made adjustable in height, such as by using telescoping members for post 52, to accommodate paddlers of various sizes or to just change positions to prevent fatigue, and the base may be more firmly attached to the watercraft, such as by straps or fasteners. Therefore, it is to be understood that all matter herein is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in any limiting sense, and it is intended to cover in the appended claims such modifications as come within the true spirit and scope of the invention.