The Minds Behind True Rec Kayaks E-mail
Monday, 23 September 2013 00:00

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Malcontent kayak anglers usually make the best inventors, and for Chris Peterson and Glenn Gippner, this credo sums up their version of the American dream. Dissatisfied with the market's current offerings, the pair of childhood friends set out to design, build, and bring to market a boat that met their collective needs as fishermen, divers, hunters, and spearfishermen. Operating under the name, True Recreation Kayaks, the pair combined their diverse skill sets, and came up with the Dive Fish Paddle, or DFP. The boat features deploy-able pontoons, a prioritization of stability, and storage capabilities aimed at a wide demographic of sportsmen.

According to Gippner, "Like a lot of people, we just don't fish off of our kayaks. We also like to dive, hunt and go camping. The whole idea around the DFP came after Chris (who is an avid diver) was looking for a kayak to use to dive off shore. He really couldn't find anything that offered 'easy' access in and out of the water, as well as ample enough storage." Peterson added, "The origins of the DFP kayak started out as the DS1 (Dive Ship one) kayak for diving. Being that there was not much out there for the diver or spear fishing specific user, we sent out to design one. The original design was of a semi-submersible kayak designed to allow easy access to all waters by means of partially submerging. The original view was to create a 'tree stand-like' position for spearing fish in heavy kelp areas of the ocean. Being that both Glenn and I are former Marines, we saw other potential applications with the handicapped and the Wounded Veterans Program. It was a complex yet simple design that used valves, plumbing, and an air cylinder to cycle the submersible. During the prototyping of the DS1, we had discovered the vessel was hard to stabilize when in the submerged position, so we added stabilizer pontoons made out of PVC and insulation foam to control the craft; when the vessel was in the horizontal position the pontoons gave amazing stability, so much so you could stand on it, and most importantly, FISH!"

A thirteen foot long chunk of plastic, is, however, an expensive item to produce, and the duo's entry into the market has been met with a bit of financial difficulty. Gippner stated, "Kayak molds and the other tooling necessary are very expensive. We attempted crowd funding with the hopes of being able to go into production and still maintain complete control over the company. Since that wasn't really in the cards for us, we are now hoping to partner with an investor who has the same passion or at least understands where we are coming from and what we are trying to achieve. We are working very hard to make this possible in order to get into production and deliver the DFP to the market." Public curiosity, however, seems to be on their side. Adds Gippner, "Getting interest in the DFP really hasn't seemed to be that difficult. We have received a lot of interest from individuals, as well as both big box and small retailers. We attribute this to the well thought out and unique design. Most of the comments we receive center around the 'you thought of everything' response, which is very motivating to us. We are very confident that we can compete with the larger brands."

Indeed a lot of thought has fueled the design of the DFP, and this mental energy is largely a product of the two men's backgrounds. Gippner has spent years in the construction industry, and, after working his way up to project manager, has overseen several multi-million dollar developments. "I have always had the dream of being self employed and experiencing running individual large scale projects from start to finish was really an eye opener of what I was capable of," said Gippner. "Partnering with my longtime friend, Chris, a very talented and brilliant designer, added the missing piece and gave us a very competitive product right out of the gate."

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In perfect complement to Gippner's managerial skills, Peterson does, indeed, bring to the table a wealth of experience from the design world. "My past experience with aviation, personal watercraft, and the study of mechanical engineering has a direct influence on the development of the DFP kayak. I've been involved with aviation my whole live, working with corporate jets, rebuilding planes, and manufacturing turbojet conversion kits for agricultural aircraft. The knowledge I gained working with complex aviation mechanical systems gave me the confidence to build and design kayaks. My love for personal watercraft came into play halfway into my aviation career; taking a break from aircraft, I started building and repairing PWC at a reputable repair shop. The knowledge I gained about hull design and handling for PWC influenced the outcome of the hull design of the DFP kayak. The combination of aviation, watercraft, and mechanical engineering knowledge all made it possible to design one amazing kayak, and future kayaks to come."

Gippner and Peterson are currently searching for an investor to help bring their dream to life. To learn more about the boys and their invention, head to the True Rec website.

 

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