Saturday, October 13, 2007

Product Review: The MULE surf transport system

The guy just wanted to get his board to the beach without throwing out his back. At least that's what it sounded like to me when James Wilnau, inventor of the MULE, told me how his unique surfboard carrier came to life.

This thing will put a smile on your face. The design is brilliant in its simplicity- the only moving parts are the wheels. The ultra-important universal joint (traditionally the weak link in bike trailers) is virtually indestructible, it's made of Special Forces-grade, ballistic webbing. If the SEALS can hang blocks of C4 off the stuff, I think it'll handle your stand up board. There is nothing to bolt to your bike, no tools are required for assembly and the carrier can handle boards from under six feet to over twelve feet (there's even a model that will transport kayaks).

I first saw the MULE at my friend MOFO's house. MOFO's the most prolific Sunset Cliffs paddle surfer in San Diego- the fact that MOFO lives two blocks from Luscombe Point really works in his favor. All he needed was an easy way to get his 11' Walden down to the Cliffs. Enter the MULE.

MOFO's MULE was an older version of my MULE. James was gracious enough to send me a demo unit that featured all the latest upgrades. The unit came equipped with an axle extension to accommodate the wider tails of our stand up boards, the MULE also featured the lace up nose piece that can expand or contract to fit surfboard noses of various widths. The whole thing breaks down and stows in a pack that would easily stow in an airplane carry on bag (bring it with you on vacation for hauling around that big boy).

I've been using the MULE here in Imperial Beach for about two weeks now. I've beat on it- riding with it in today's light rain, throwing it on the sand at the beach, locking it to my bike (all you do is feed your cable through the spokes of the two wheels) for days on end, hauling around stand up boards from 10' to 12'. This MULE shows no sign of wearing out. A real plus of this design is once you take it off your bike it can be stored in it's carrier on a book shelf; people who live in small homes, where space is limited will really appreciate the compactness of this design.

Probably the biggest testament to its worthiness is the attention it's received from other surfers around town- I've already got five guys who want one! Be talking to you soon James!

How to get one: or call James Wilnau at (757) 491-7805


Gregoire said...

epic at carlsbad this AM. Maybee the cliffs this evening?

John Ashley said...

I did three hours this morning here- I'm done. Hope you score it this evening!

Anonymous said...

The Mule looks great. How would it work on a pin tail or rounded pin? Would the same Mule you use for your SUP also work for a traditional longboard?

John Ashley said...

Hey Andy,

The MULE has an expandable nose piece- kind of like the lacing on shoes. You can cinch it down tight over a variety of nose types so I think it'd work fine on a regular longboard (I'll try it out and post some photos for you)- the tail strap also cinches down so again I think there'd be no problem with a pintail. I'll get more photos up tommorrow- I just rolled in from Cabo so I'm beat right now, and yes - I scored.