PARAPHERNAUTICA

Passage Maker - - @Rest -

Man­ag­ing Ed­i­tor, Brian K. Lind, looks at how you can ex­pand your float­ing sur­face area and your ac­cess to the wa­ter with this in­ven­tive in­flat­able swim step.

Bil­lion­aire in­vestor Mark Cuban bears wit­ness to all sorts of sales pitches on his show, “Shark Tank.” One of the worst pitches ever might have been the one given by Stephan Aarstol, who choked dur­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion and went silent for over a minute. But Aarstol re­cov­ered, and by the end, Cuban was per­suaded. Cuban agreed to fork over $150,000 to ac­quire 30% of Aarstol’s com­pany, Tower Pad­dle Boards. And Cuban has got­ten quite the re­turn on his 2011 in­vest­ment. By mid-2016 the com­pany was on course to net $10 mil­lion in profit.

It was cu­ri­ous, then, to see the com­pany launch a Kick­starter cam­paign in mid-Jan­uary. It was even stranger to see the cam­paign’s mod­est goal set at $30,000.

This new prod­uct, a float­ing dock/swim­step, was in­spired by the ex­pe­ri­ences of Tower Pad­dle Board’s de­sign team, who found them­selves al­ways skip­ping the dock or board­ing lad­der and just us­ing their pad­dle board, tied be­hind their boats—or to the dock—as an in­ter­me­di­ate step to get out of the wa­ter. Uti­liz­ing the same de­sign skills that have made their pad­dle­board line so pop­u­lar, the de­sign­ers came up with an in­flat­able “swim step,” 5’ x 10’ and com­plete with a faux teak deck to sim­u­late a real swim plat­form.

While orig­i­nally de­signed to aid get­ting on and off a dock and onto a pad­dle­board or kayak, the raft is ac­tu­ally a great ad­di­tion for boaters seek­ing to cre­ate more space right at wa­ter level. Eas­ily stow­able and quickly in­flated with a foot pump, the plat­form is rated for up to 1,000 pounds, sturdy enough to sup­port a cou­ple of beach chairs or as many as five adults. If your swim step is small or blocked by a dinghy davit, the rigid raft will pro­vide a per­fect ex­ten­sion of your boat, whether you want to soak up the rays or use it as a wa­ter toy board­ing plat­form. Or both.

As far as we can tell, though, is it’s not Jaws-proof.

$500 via Kick­starter www.goo.gl/G4vLds

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