Joining us on the podcast today is Pat Langley founder of Vaikobi. Pat left a successful career building a large Sailing technical apparel brand to strike out on his own and address what he saw as a big gap in the paddle sports market. Designing technical apparel for the paddle sports athlete. Pat recognized that most of the major brands were focused on either white water or touring gear and no one was  serious about developing clothing that was optimized for paddle athletes pushing their heart rates to the max on the water.

When I first laid eyes on the Vaikobi gear in late summer of 2013 I knew immediately that this was a brand TC SURFSKI would get behind. Without having a chance to try the gear, the style alone was in a league of its own.  But of course, upon using the gear I quickly realized the function was even better. Pat and his team have done an amazing job evolving the line-up and as we go into our 5th season representing Vaikobi I’m more excited than ever. While it is great to talk about the gear, it is even better to hear the full story behind how it came to be. In this podcast we cover:

  • Pat’s beginnings growing up in Sydney Australia as a competitive sailor with salt water in the veins
  • A short stint sailing in Japan after University and then starting his first real job in the Classic Sports Wear space
  • Moving from Sports wear into working for a large technical sailing apparel brand
  • First thoughts on starting a paddle sports apparel brand
  • Ripping off the corporate band-aid and plunging feet first into a small start-up business
  • Coming up with the name Vaikobi – (teaser – in the Polynesian Language Via = Water and Kobi = God, but Pat and team only put this together after the name was decided)
  • What Pat and the team sought to accomplish with the launch of their first lines of apparel
  • Why Pat and team take a conservative approach to new product development and focus first and foremost on function over style
  • Launching the first PFD to address a need in Australia for high visibility on the water
  • The process of getting a PFD certified by the different international agencies and why they are not US Coast Guard Approved
  • Packing up, renting the house for a year, and taking the family on a year long trip around the world to visit dealers and customers and experience the different surfski markets first hand
  • Insights and experiences meeting all the various surfski characters around the world and seeing first hand how the markets and paddle cultures are different but also the same
  • Improvements coming in the new vCold range just released
  • Some uses for the vCold range you may not have thought of (hint: it might have to do with Nordic Ski Racing)
  • The all new PINK PFD launching in June
  • Pat’s secret to success:  listen, adapt and evolve
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