Each week DoubleUP Wakeboards executive Tim Runyard will answer a couple of questions relating to the business side of the wakeboard industry in order to allow the wakeboarding public learn more about that side of the sport.
Question: There are a lot of rumors going around about DoubleUP. First, are you going out of business? Second, if not, then are you being purchased by someone? If so who? Finally, how does this affect doubleUP, and what can we expect going forward out of DoubleUP?
Tim Runyard: This is a very good question, and fortunately, I finally have the answers. First of all, let me give some details about DoubleUP.
DoubleUP was started in the summer of 96 by Greg Nelson, Jerry & Artie (FLF Films) and a guy named Robby Myer. It was there idea to start a different kind of wakeboard company. One that was owned and operated by people who actually wakeboarded and were personally involved in the sport. Unfortunately, these guys needed money to get DoubleUP started. Austin Hearst was involved with FLF Films as a majority owner, and decided to put a small investment into DoubleUP to get it started.
Austin wasn’t completely sold, and I was brought in to finalize all the budgets and business plans. This occurred in the following November. At that point, Austin committed to fund DoubleUP, with the intent to find a new investor, or teammate as soon as possible. Well, after numerous failed attempts to find the right partner, and 4 years later, we finally have been able to find the right teammate.
So, to put all the rumors to rest. NO! DoubeUP is not going out of business, and never was. YES, we have a new investor, and have teamed up with a company called Wet Tech. Many of you probably have already heard of Wet Tech. They make wakeboard and waterski accessories, and have been in the industries for 9 years. Most recognizable, is team rider “The Mikker” who is always seen wearing Wet Tech vests and ride tops. Wet tech has also been instrumental in making our bags, vests, & ride tops, and this is where our relationship began.
The DoubleUP/Wet Tech merger will affect us all in many ways. The most important for DoubleUP, is the financial stability, and long term focus Tom Sexton (Wet Tech President & Owner) brings to the table. As a long time player in this industry, Tom is familiar with the cash strain a seasonal business can have on a company. He’s used to the quirks of the industry, and has been successful over the last 9 years. These are important qualities to have as we continue to grow, and need more capital.
Wet Tech also brings a large product line of it’s own to the table. In addition to the DoubleUP and Hardline lines, as a group, we will be able to offer Wet Suits, Dry Suits, CGA Vests, bags, Gloves, Shorts etc. to help us round out our lines. Also, Wet Tech brings an off shore manufacturing know how that DoubleUP has not had in the past. This will ultimately enable us to sell a wider variety of products to our retailers, and allow the consumer to get a better selection of DoubleUP products.
Some other benefits include: A bigger, better equipped office and warehouse which should increase efficiency dramatically, a larger customer base to draw from, more buying power, more selling power, increased Marketing efforts, and more resources to draw on for product innovation.
What can you expect out of DoubleUP. Well, one thing for sure, is that DoubleUP is here to stay, and is just getting stronger. I would expect that you won’t see much of a change out of DoubleUP. The core group is still together, and working harder than ever to keep things going strong. You can look for more product innovation going forward, and for us always to stay true to our roots, and continue on with what we’ve worked so hard to develop over the last 5 years.