Ugly board v1 thru v4 - Build thread - 65152 based design

Finally things are slowing down enough to actually post a build thread. For those of you searching this site by parts, here are the major components. Maytech and Flipsky motors – 65151/52, Flipsky 60V-200A VESC, Maytech remote, Naish wingset

My build thread is pretty straightforward compared to most. I used proven technology and it shows in the speed in which I was able to get things done. I went with a 65151/2 120kv motor, paired to a Flipsky 60V, 200A VESC, Maytech V2 waterproof remote, 2020 Naish foil and wingset, 12S Lipo power, printed prop and printed motor mounts. I’ll discuss all this plus the boards I’ve used. I’ll add subsequent posts to include pictures, parts hyperlinks, and links to other useful threads.

Before I begin I would like to include a little background on me because the project can seem a bit daunting reading some of these posts. I’m not an engineer, but I’ve taken at least 6 or 7 engineering classes. I’ve worked a ton of different jobs all the way from teaching at a university to flying airplanes, so I have a really broad background. I surf both in the ocean and behind boats, but waterskiing is my primary water sport. I still consider efoiling a thing to do when I can’t get out and chase bouys in the slalom course (which happens to be a lot of the time). One thing that I do not have in my background is a hobbyist. I’ve never worked on any small electrics, (never really done fiberglass other than to repair board dings), never printed anything on a 3D printer, etc. I’ve heard it on this site before that you need a certain level of experience to tackle this project. I disagree completely. With today’s proven technology and a little help from build threads like this, it’s a project anybody that’s mechanically competent can do.

Enough on my background. As I’ve been involved in numerous projects that took years to complete, time was one of the factors that I wanted to minimize. I figured I was already saving so much damn money over a commercial Efoil, I didn’t mind spending a bit more on the build. My goals was to build a working setup in a few months, and not spend more than $2k total. From the start, the one thing I really didn’t want to build was the actual board. The time and effort is really not worth it for me. The only problem is there are not a lot of commercial boards available. My initial design criteria was:

  1. Time - on the water in less than 3 months,
  2. Cost - spend no more than $2K
  3. Performance - Reliable, slow speed design that can carry at least 200 lbs

The first thing I did was to spend a few weeks reading this forum and work on my design. I quickly came to understand that since the original Pacifmeister design, numerous products had become commercially available that would make things much easier. I ordered enough parts to build two efoils which would allow me to not only build two setups but also to be able to test/build different setups while still having an operational Efoil for my own personal enjoyment. . I also bought the parts necessary to build a geared PM setup, because I’m interested in the technology, but I’m not doing that until later. I spread my equipment orders around between Maytech and Flipsky. I got a motor from each, a VESC from each and a remote from Maytech. The lead time between ordering and delivery is pathetic. Expect at least a month to 6 weeks if you live in the US… and that is best case from my experience. (It could really be a business opportunity for somebody). I highly advise not going with Maytech (except for a remote) as they are completely useless if you have an issue

The first issue that I ran into was that I bought a 2020 Naish mast and wingset before I even came to this forum. I wanted to put the foil on an old wakesurf board as foil surfing behind a boat looked so cool. Within weeks, I had found this site and immediately switched my plans to an efoil. The problem is there isn’t a lot of foilers using this wingset. To this day, I have not found an STL file that will fit the 2020 Naish mast profile. As speed of build was a primary goal, I skipped learning how to modify a file in Fusion360 and decided that an 80% solution was good enough. I also had to buy and learn how to operate a 3D printer so I figured I’d be spending enough time on that project. (See my subsequent posts for parts list and STL files)

The next issue was drilling the mast. I wanted a real clean look but decided a big hole was by far an easier approach. I used a ½ bit to drill three holes next to each other but in the end just used one ¾ in hole on each side of the mast. I’ll take a photo of this when I take this build apart this winter. I used a bit of olive oil on the three wires to make sure they were properly lubed up and they were easy to pull through the mast. I bolted the motor on knowing there would be gaps in the printed parts. I figured these had to account for a minimal increase in drag. This will also be fixed this winter.

I found the whole motor mount to tighten easily but still felt the entire motor assembly had too much vertical movement. I used two small screws inserted horizontally to increase rigidity of the entire system and was quite happy with how it all felt. I printed numerous props that ftr the 12MM threaded shaft of the 65152 motor.

The next step was the electronics. This is by far the hardest step for anybody that hasn’t done this stuff before. I had never used the VESC tool and there is a surprising lack of information on how to do this step on this site. I muddled through it and the result of my work was captured in a separate thread. At this point I had my first setback. The Maytech ESC stopped working. Literally, in the morning it worked, and in the afternoon it didn’t. I never had one indication of failure other that it wouldn’t turn the motor until it didn’t. I switched to the Flipsky ESC and it has worked ever since. I contacted Mytech but they never even bothered to respond. I do plan to troubleshoot/fix the ESC over winter but that’s a whole other thread for sure. I used two inexpensive Lipo’s in series to have a 12P setup. I’m no soddering expert so if you haven’t done this… practice first! The key is using less sodder, not more. I tried a bunch of different connectors but decided to go back to standard XT90’s for most stuff. The only exception being the ESC to motor connection. For those I used 150A “waterproof” bullet connectors.

The last thing was the board and battery/esc case. For the first iteration , I just used the wood of the board to make 2 copartments. I used IP67 cases to house the electronics and batteries. I quickly switched to a new board (see below) and used a Milwaukee Best “packout” IP65 case. Hardly perfect, but again all I really needed. I drilled a ¾ hole in the box to run the ESC-to-motor wires and used a large packing gland with some some silicon to make it near virtually watertight. As for the board, I knew that was going to be an iterative process. One afternoon I was doing some work on my boathouse when I noticed I had some extra wood laying around. I quickly built what I dubbed the Ugly Boatrd, V1. It took about two hours and cost less than 10 dollars. It actually works but it’s heavy as hell. I was on the water the very next day. I knew this was not a long term solution but don’t worry….the board will eventually be repurposed into a cornhole board, so no waste. :slight_smile:

After using Ugly Board v1 a few times I decided to cut up one of my old paddleboards. It’s an11 ft monster that’s 6 inches thick and 35 inches wide. I decided to use the BACK half of the board and shaped the front of the board using a hand-planer. That was Ugly Board v2.
Eventually, I eliminated the Packout case and used a lightweight wood construction for my compartment (v3). Inside the compartment I use Rubbermaid, Brilliance “leakproof” containers to hold the ESC and batteries. I also, worked on a variation to run my board on Dewalt 20V batteries, versus the Lipos. I also built a closed cooling system for the ESC, which seems to work very well. I’ll detail everything in subsequent threads.

The board works great and I’ve been foiling extensively in the fall. The season is just about done but we continue to have great weather that has allowed me to keep getting on the water. I’ll continue to update this as I improve every aspect of my setup before next Spring.


Enjoying my build!

Ugly board v1…made completely out of 2x4’s and cheap sheet plywood. Cost $10!


Ugly board v1

Ugly board v2 using old paddleboard and “packout” case.

Ugly Board V2 case open and velcro top piece.


Dude, I love this. The speed and simplicity is really great. Your v1 board ought to win an award. It’s awesome.

Can’t wait for more detail. How happy are you with the final setup and running gear? Post your parts list when you can.

Love the ugly boards, as long as it works, build it!

Going to post some more details soon. The biggest problem is the weather. We have had an AMAZING fall here in Colorado and I’m frantically working on my outside projects while I can. In addition, I have tried to foil nearly every day. This weekend might be the end, as the lake finally might freeze up.

As for the final setup (v4), I’m very pleased. Pretty easy board to ride. I designed it for slow speed but it’s very maneuverable. I really can’t think of much I would do different. The only thing that comes to mind is the seal on the compartment. It’s complete sh1t, but I put zero effort into it. You will see as I continue to post.

Part’s list will be complete soon.

They work well, but the 2x4 board was REALLY heavy. That was a visit to the chiropractor waiting to happen.

So for V3, I decided to remove the Milwaukee’s Best Packout case and build a compartment. I used some 1/2 wood trim pieces I had lying around and mated them to a 1/4 inch plywood piece to make a bottom. I used a 1/2 inch center piece to provide support so weight could be placed anywhere on the cover. I then coated the entire surface with a white roofing material that makes it waterproof. Turned out fine. I used simple 1/4 plywood for the cover and 8 wood screws to keep it tight. I used a single bead of silicon around the top to help prevent water leakage but it was in no way designed to keep all water out. (More on that later)

For V4 I changed a few internal parts. First I wanted to add a closed cooling system to my Flipsky 60V/200A VESC. It can definitely overheat without some sort of cooling. I have a small (4x4) radiator I was planning on using but somehow I can’t get everything to seal up right. Instead, I just used some additional tubing. I combined that with a simple 5V pump and a 9V battery. Works like a charm. I have only ridden it for about 30 minutes continuous (with an occasional fall!) but no excessive heat build up. I ran -50 degree environmentally friendly coolant in the line because it has been getting bellow freezing here at night. That’s why the tubes are pink.

I also wanted to try my Dewalt battery setup. Despite being urged by the community to abandon my dream (ha!) I have continued to be enamored with the thought of using tool batteries. For me it makes a ton of sense because the shared usage really makes it economical. When I say, Dewalt batteries, I actually use Waitley. On numerous reviews on Youtube, the conclusion is they are the best for the money. I actually plan to buy some non working Dewalt battery packs this winter and replace them with Samsung 30Q’s but that a thread for a different day. I printed some various Dewalt battery conversion pieces off of thingverse. I could find the correct spade connectors at my local hardware stote or even on line so I was forced to make them. I took spent .22 Magnum shells, cleaned them, cut off the rim end and then flattened them using a pair of pliers. I used the open end to insert a 12 gauge wire and soldered them together. I ran two in parallels and two in series. It’s 10S/ 4P (if I understand the numbering system correctly) and it seems to work real well. Plenty of power for me, but I’ll have to experiment with bigger people as I’m only 150lbs. Eventually, I will make another power pack so that I’m running 8 total batteries. I should have a minimum of 24Ah of power, but the 30Q’s are going to significantly increase that. They don’t really fit well in the leakproof case that I’m using for my Lipo’s but I didn’t have time to get something else. I just taped up the container and went foiling.

Lastly, I am including a picture of my boathouse. It has nothing to do with my foil (other than the foil sits in the enclosed portion for the winter) but I’m so damn proud of the woodwork I just finished on it today… that I had to share. I just wanted to make sure everybody doesn’t think I just like ugly things! If it wasn’t November you would see a beautiful 2014 Ski Nautique sitting on the lift. I built every part of the boathouse myself (with a lot of help from my neighbor and all his huge equipment - trac hoe, skidloader, industrial welder). It is almost 30 yards of poured concrete, with steel I beams that run horizontally as well as vertically. It has a flat roof that also doubles as a sky deck. I currently am working on enclosing the steel beams in stained and finished white wood. I really like the way it’s turning out.

Love the boathouse, clean and really nice design.

And I saw your other stuff, it’s nice too. We know about prototypes around here. I like mine fast and simple til you know it all works.

The tool battery thing is attractive to me too. It just makes sense, as long as the cells can take the draw but you’d assume they would be overbuilt for the good stuff at least. The Ryobi lawn and garden packs seem right, if someone also has a landscaping business during the week.

Enjoy the winter up there.

Beautiful dock work. Do you have a zoomed out picture? I am surprised Colorado would even allow you to build something that substantial over a body of water.

Zoomed out pic of the boat house before I finished the vertical beam wraps. Top area has winter storage for all the chairs, paddleboards, hammock, etc. while the lower area is a fully equipped mini-shop, plus holds all my skis, boards, foils, etc. Luckily it’s on a private lake so the state doesn’t have too much to say about what I do. Next year, assuming I’m still employed :slight_smile: I’m adding what I call a “Tiki bar” that will sit about 30 feet away. Pure white sand in between the two plus a nice stone patio. Beer on tap for me and my friends, wine for my wife and her friends and a nice lounge area to play cards. I might never go back to the house all summer!


Got a session in today, and tried a different wingset. This was the Naish Thrust WS Delta Freeride with a surface area of 1220 cm2, Wingspan 65cm, and an aspect ratio 3.46.

A bit to unstable at slower speeds. I fell into the 36F water more than a few times! At higher speeds it starts to get better. For now, I removed it and went back to the Naish Surf wingset. Definitely plan to try one of the new “Naish Complete” models next year.

Also working on my “bilge” pump. Using a small 12v pump with a float switch and a 9V battery with an on/off switch. Perfect setup for any board but especially the Ugly series as they always take on some water. Personally I think it’s a good idea for any board because it will let you know if water has come into the internal compartment. Just make sure the exit is closer to the front so the water coming out gets your attention.

I’ll show it installed but unfortunately the cheap Chinese POS pump broke after about 5 minutes. Waiting on my Amazon replacement. My 5V pump that I’m using for my cooling system has worked flawlessly.

Lastly, one of my Dewalt-type batteries decided to go for a swim. No permanent damage but I needed to open it, drain the case and eliminate the moisture on the electronics. Just adding a photo so that everybody knows what’s inside one of these babies Very simple 5S/2P setup. Small chip with a BMS that starts to cut the power at about 18.4V. Hard shutoff at maybe 18.2V? That seems fairly high but I think I remember LiIthium Ion batteries hold a high voltage pretty close to the end of charge.

The weight of the case is fairly minimal. For anybody that already has a fair amount of tool batteries this still seems like an incredible money saver.