After a couple of tries carrying our paddleboards from our garage to the water, it was clear that we needed something to make it easier. Otherwise, we would NEVER use them. After researching the options and then spending a day in town looking for something that might work, it was clear that it was time to make our own.
Lisa came up with the brilliant idea of using PVC as the material to build it out of. PVC is great for many reasons:
- have limited tools here
- we want it to be salt water resistant
- we wanted it to be light
- it is easy to improve if it the idea is terrible
Ronnie drew up the plans for his best guess at what will work. You’ll see them above.
So off to the store we went in search of all the supplies. As with most things in Belize (especially on Ambergris Caye) we needed to go to a few different stores to pick up all the supplies. We had an idea of what we wanted but had to make some compromises once we saw what all the stores carried. Here is an approximate list of what we came up with:
- 2 – Lawn Mower Wheels
- 1 – 24″ long 1/2″ Stainless Steel Threaded Rod
- 4 – Large 1/2″ Washers
- 2 – 1/2″ Lock Washers
- 4 – 1/2″ Bolts
- 3 – 10′ Length of 1″ PVC Pipe
- 1 – 20′ Length of 3/4″ Square Metal Tubing (had to get 20′ because that is the only size they sell. Only needed around 10′)
- 12 – PVC 1″ T Connectors
- 2 – PVC 1″ Cross (There were no 1″ crosses, so I had to buy 2 – 1-1/2″ crosses and 8 1-1/2″ to 1″ reducers)
- 6 – PVC 1″ 90 Degree Angles
- 8 – PVC 1″ Caps
- 2 – PVC 1″ Straight Connectors
- 1 – Strap
- 1 – Sheep Skin Handle. (For some reason Ronnie bought this gem in the USA and of all the crap that made it’s way to the dump, Ronnie shipped this puppy down. It is a sheep skin sheath that goes over your seat belt in your car so it doesn’t chaff your skin in the event you are riding shirtless around town.)
- 3 – 3″ long 1/4″ bolts
- 6 – 1/4″ Washers
- 3 – 1/4″ Lock Washers
- 3 – 1/4″ Nuts
- PVC Glue
- Hack Saw
- Miscellaneous Wrenches
- 1/4″ drill bit
Ronnie came up with the dimensions that were needed for our specific paddleboards, however you can come up any size you like. Our cart is approximately 20″ wide and 10′ long. The “up” poles are approximately 24″ tall to handle the width of these boards.
We suggest you assemble it first and make sure it looks good prior to gluing it together. This allows you to make changes if something you did is not right.
Ronnie started with the rear section containing the wheels. The stainless steel threaded rod is resting loose in the 1″ pipe, so the washers on the inside of the hub are extra large to keep it stable. If you zoom in on the picture, you can see the washer.
Here is the rear part of the cart. For the up poles, you could use a 3 hole PVC piece instead of the 90 degree and T parts. Parts are limited here, so we did it this way.
The front part of the cart went through a couple of designs. (Specifically the leg.) The first picture here shows it as a T. This proved to be too weak. As we used the cart and set the heavy paddleboards on it, the whole top came unglued and the “goal post” part rolled over. So then we replaced it with the stronger double legs. This new configuration has not failed at this point.
We glued everything together except for the handle T part shown here. We cut a piece of the 3/4″ aluminum tubing around 10 feet long, then slid it into the pipe. Our first version of the cart, in addition to having a terrible front weak leg, flexed way too much. The heavy paddleboards were just too much for the sad little 1″ PVC pipe. Especially one this long. We used two rake handles (specified in the original plan) but the pipe flexed right where the two rake handles met in the middle. This square tubing worked perfectly. Just cut a piece that is long enough to go all the way to the end and slide it in. To make it more sturdy and to avoid having a mishap happen by failing glue on the weakest links, we put the 1/4″ bolts through the handle and through the middle and rear crosses.
For the observant, you’ll notice that Ronnie’s board is different. Yep, turns out size matters. Ronnie’s was just too small for him. He was able to do ok, but it was a 100% struggle all the time. Thankfully Pete and Tammy allowed us to swap Ronnie’s for Pete’s much bigger stick. All is well in San Pedro
One thing to note, we have a strap that goes from the rear poles around the fins. This keeps the boards on the rack when we go down our very steep driveway. Also, the paddles and life jackets sit nicely between the boards.
Hope this was helpful for anyone who wants to build one. Ronnie omitted the details on each specific piece of tubing. One because Ronnie is lazy, and two because it really depends on your boards.