We saw the episode on TV and were super stoked to see a surf brand get funded (spoiler alert). Had to talk to Steve and Ang to get all the details.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Where are you from? Surf your whole life? How’d you get introduced to the ocean?
STEVE: I grew up in South Africa, actually Cape Town, on a small kind of cove/bay called Hout Bay- translated roughly into wood bay. That’s where I got my first love of the ocean. Since before I could walk I was down at the beach, my mum used to take us down just to kind of hang out and it was easier for her to take control of us, by just letting us run wild on a beach then keep us at home. Those are my earliest memories- I was too young to do stand up surfing, and neither of my parents did that, so it was more up to us. Handboarding to skimboarding- really anything we could get our hands on we were out in the water, it’s freezing cold water though. That was my first kind of experience of being by the ocean.
Then when I was about eight or nine we moved up the coast to Durban. Which is a very famous – South African surf spot. Famous surfers like Jordy Smith and Shaun Tomson are all from there. It’s a place where a lot of surfing happens, because the water’s a lot warmer. There was a lot more of being in the ocean and actually enjoying myself- and actually not freezing to death. So that is where I got into stand up surfing and that’s kind of where Slyde started to take shape as a business. It’s really where I got into board design too, I just started to rip apart old surfboards and stuff to make handboards, that was way back in the very beginning though as a kid.
ANG: I’m from the East Coast, from a little town called Westerly in Rhode Island. I grew up skiing in the winters and spending the summers at the beaches, going sailing on my Dad’s sailboat. I was always an athlete playing everything from soccer, basketball, to volleyball. Then after high school I went to college up in New Hampshire where I studied physical education and health education. Right out of college I worked for AmeriCorps which led me to the bay area. I was working for a non profit teaching kids in low income schools physical education and health education. I ended up driving across country three times to California. Each time I fell in love with California more and more, finally making it my home in 2011.
How’d you start? With so many board shapers what inspired you to take a different approach and get into handboards?
STEVE: Knowing the fun I had as a kid bodysurfing with fast food trays, flip flops, anything I could get my hand on, I saw an opportunity available to create a business out of my passion. Slyde released its first handboard in 2011 as an innovative new way to experience the ocean, while being easy on the wallet, and spreading stoke.
Having never handboarded – can you give our readers a description of what its like?
As our tagline suggests “it’s epic wave riding in the palm of your hand”. The added use of a handboard allows the bodysurfer to get more speed, control, and lift out of the water. It’s the feeling of surfing (that smooth glide across the wave) but requires no skillset, it’s fun for everyone.
When did you realize there was an actual business (meaning you might be able to make some money)?
When I was in my early 20s surf traveling around the world, I met surfers that all had the same story as me, bodysurfing waves with food trays, flip flops, frisbees, etc. They all had happy experiences with their self-made handboards, and I knew I wanted to pass along those happy experiences to people all over the world. At the time, there was no brand associated with the sport, so I went to school for Product Design and moved to California to start Slyde. To start an entirely new market, we have invested a lot of money, so I always had belief that Slyde would be profitable and we work tirelessly to ensure it.
What’s the coolest part of your job? Worst part?
The coolest part of our job is the ability to work together as a couple, building a life and business together is always exciting. That being said a small business has it’s challenges, you’re doing everything yourself, always working, every hour of the day because it’s your business.
So Shark Tank! We’ve seen Hamboards go on (and have success) what’s it mean to your business?
Since being on Shark Tank sales have grown by almost 300%!!! The company already has surpassed $180,000 in sales it made last year. The funding enabled us to move its operations out of it’s one bedroom apartment into an office/warehouse in San Clemente, and hire 2 full-time employees.
In addition to the traditional sharks they had a celebrity guest Ashton Kutcher – wow! Is he going to be part of the business for real?
Yes, Ashton Kutcher & Mark Cuban have been actively involved in Slyde’s business, providing invaluable insights and connections. We’re extremely grateful there investment and involvement.
What’s next for Slyde?
On the business side, our future goals include a new kid friendly hardboard, the re-release of our popular Phish Handboard. And on a personal side we’re excited to announce that we have a baby grom girl due in November. The possibilities are endless, and we couldn’t be more stoked.
Holy smokes a baby! Congrats!!! Well, our entire team is stoked for you and your continued success. To all of you out there who are interested in Slyding into a wave check them out @ www.slydehandboards.com
Photo:Tags: body surf, shark tank, slyde, slyde handboards