Chasing your dreams does have its awkward moments. Remember how I said that I wanted to be an artist when I was younger? Well, the artist gene decided to skip me when I was born, so aside from being able to draw things with my foot, I have pretty much zero artistic skills. In fact, it took the bank teller 20 minutes to read a piece of my writing today. However, I like to think that I am indeed creative, and one of the things I enjoy doing is inventing things. I’ll save the story about the Ares 300 (the first paddlesport training equipment I made) for another time, because it’s all about the cork now!
Let’s be serious for a second. If you were given 20 pieces of cork and someone said to you, “Go at it”, you’d probably do the same thing. Okay, so I blew about 4 bills on cork wedges (*sniffle*) but it wouldn’t be worth it if I didn’t learn anything! In addition to soaking LaunchPads in water, sitting and grinding on the LaunchPads, throwing them around my living room, doing full squats on them, and rubbing coffee and sugar into them, I decided to see how difficult it is to puncture them.
So there I was at 2 o’clock in the morning, topless and in sweatpants, hunching over a waste bin. While most people my age would be post-partying and in the same position, I was using a pair of dull scissors to push some holes through a cork wedge. You can see how much fun I am in real life.
Here’s the issue. Most paddlers only have 2 hands, and they have to carry the following:
There needed to be a way to attach the LaunchPad to the paddle or bag for easy carrying and transport. BUT HOW?
I first poked a hole through one corner and threaded a ribbon through, then hung it over the T-Grip of a paddle. It looked messy and dangly (and in the sport of spandex, we don’t like dangly) so I knew I had to change it up. It took considerably longer than one would imagine to decide to poke TWO holes rather than one, and center them so that they fit over the paddle. I’ll admit I’m a bit slow.
Okay, awesome. We have 2 holes but nothing to thread through them. After some trial and error and more deep thinking over some oolong tea, I decided that:
It was 3am and I was about to give up. Luckily my very smart friend from Australia suggested… what about Velcro?
Sometimes, the best solution was the most obvious one all along.
My next prototype that came in had 2 clean slits cut through them, centered on one side. This allows LaunchPad to fit flush against the paddle (if the lip is facing away from the paddle) without swinging around or damaging the lip portion of the pad. LaunchPad doesn’t need to have a paddle threaded through it and can be on and off the paddle securely and efficiently. I gave it lots of really good tugs and it was definitely secure!
After a short eBay search, I ordered some bulk Velcro straps that are used to tidy up loose wires. They came in 2 weeks later and were actually half the length I was hoping for – I don’t read specs well at 3am – but I just put 2 together and they turned out fine. And, LaunchPad can also strap to backpacks or PFDs in a split second. I also purchased some higher quality coloured ones that people can purchase for $1 more (which is at cost).
Now… to fine-tune the design and it is set to hit the shelves!
Please feel free to share this link to your fellow paddlers. You may just save a back or two!