Entrepreneur and SOURCE Mag alumni, Russell Field has launched a new surf traction company based out of the English North East. A lifelong surfer, Russel’s engineered the SurfDek product to offer maximum grip and has done so through extensive R&D. Offering good terms on small MOQs, custom pad options and a product that straddles both surf and kite categories, Russell gives us the details.
Please tell us about the history behind SurfDek and about its launch.
SurfDek came to fruition in early 2021 when I started working with a local company in the North East of England to test a new material that performs well in the marine industry. The idea was to apply the material for use in surfing and strapless kitesurfing. After testing it, we quickly realised this new material offered a leap forward in surfboard traction and offered the potential to bring a great product to the market. The website was launched late last year and the brand came to life. You can now purchase through our website, as well as a handful of retailers across the UK.
Who’s on the management team and what are their backgrounds?
Currently, I am spearheading the business. I have been surfing since a young age and kitesurfing strapless with a surfboard since 2005, which has seen me compete nationally in years gone by. Professionally, I run a marketing agency with a number of clients in the action sports industry and have a background in sales. I have a team of testers throughout the country who are helping me with the project.
Walk us through your design process?
There are two major components to the business; our pilot product SurfDek Hex Pad packs and our custom and bespoke OEM offering. When designing the Hex Pad packs it made sense to use hexagons. You can easily cover any area of a board to your preference, due to their modular nature. There is nothing new about using this shape in surfboard traction however, when combined with SurfDek’s new material, you get a brand new style of performance.
From our state-of-the-art design centre in Tyne and Wear, fully bespoke traction pieces can be created to meet your needs. We use a computer-aided machine that can create half/full traction pads (tail pads, front deck pads, full surfboard deck pads) to specification for any type of board. This can include your branding/artwork/logos using laser engraving.
Tell us about the materials you use?
In your hand, our brushed PE/EVA material looks smooth, but when you get it wet you can really feel what its benefits are. Unlike traditional deck pads, there is no need for diamonds, stripes or pyramids (although we can still produce them). This creates an even better feel under your feet, whilst still maximising grip. Some of our initial feedback has been that the pads seem thick, as we use 3-5mm materials. After testing, everyone agrees that your feet sink nicely into our pads; it’s what makes them work.
We have had really positive feedback so far from testers of the product and it’s great to see surfers and kite surfers starting to adopt SurfDek pads on their boards in our home market. Recently one of our customers said to me after trying our hex pads, “You know, it makes you realise that regular deck pads are kind of slippy”, which made me smile. Being able to move your feet to trim your board is obviously important. When we talk about maximised grip, we mean when your feet are engaged.
What sets you aside from other brands on the market?
Our pads work on all board types – Epoxy, PU, Wood and Foam. They also bond extremely well to second hand surfboards and our Hex Pads easily blend into un-even, pressure-dinged decks. You often hear of other products currently on the market losing performance with continued use. We have tested our new material rigorously with no deterioration. It’s safe to say there has been a huge increase in surfer numbers worldwide. Our industry is thriving and SurfDek Hex Pad packs are a perfect add-on sale for beginner soft boards. Unlike our international counter-parts, we can offer short lead times and low minimum quantities.
What can we expect from SurfDek in the upcoming years?
At the moment we are continually testing new variations of the product, working on 1-2-1 projects and some collaborations for bespoke and custom pads. We are working on a couple of kick tail options (currently in testing), so you can expect our portfolio to rapidly increase as SurfDek expands. I’m looking to get heavily involved in sponsoring surfing/kitesurfing events, as we continue through 2022. We will be holding beach demos across the country and focusing on expanding our athlete teams.
Get in touch if you want to talk traction. [email protected]