CHRISTOPHER FUHRHOP FOUNDER OF RESTUBE
We first saw the Restube at the huge German watersports expo Boot, in 2014.. The product looked ingenious, a compact self-inflating bouyancy aid that could be worn unobtrisvely in the ocean. Time has shown a genuine demand for Restube across many professional and recreational users. We spoke to Restube founder Christopher Fuhrhop to learn more about how Restube can work for paddlers.
What’s your recommended Restube product for standup paddlers?
Every Restube gives you more freedom and safety for SUP. For touring, people often use the Restube classic. Sonni Hönscheid likes the ultra compact Restube swim for racing. On rivers or when wave riding Restube Sports is the perfect choice as it got a very robust closing system. Professional SUP guides often wear Restube Lifeguard to be prepared for any rescue scenario.
The products and materials are obviously tough in the surf if they can deal with Sebastian Steudner’s day-job – what materials do you use for the construction?
What else would you expect from German engineers (laughs). All relevant components meet the European life jacket standard, such as trigger, CO2 cylinder, buoy material and production standards. We have high focus on quality and usability, that´s why we designed the whole system in close cooperation with diverse water sports enthusiasts and professional rescue operators. Today we triggered Restube over 18,000 times for testing and at events. Thousands of people use it on a daily basis and we receive a lot of feedback. All of this has helped to develop Restube to such a high standard. Sure, keep it away from your scissors like with any inflatable system, but you could drive over it with a car, it´s extremely robust.
Some countries and locations require paddlers to wear a PFD by law. Obviously not everyone is happy wearing a cumbersome PFD; is the PFD by RESTUBE an acceptable device in these situations?
As paddling has became more popular, some countries such as the USA, Canada and Switzerland, have defined the SUP board as a “vessel”, which means that the safety equipment rules for “vessels apply. In Germany there are no general rules for SUP, only at the Lake Constance. In Switzerland though for example you must have a swimming aid (small 50N life jacket) “on board”, meaning on your SUP. A normal Restube is only connected to your body with a leash once you trigger it. This gives you high flexibility but this also means it does not comply with the EU life jacket standard or US coast guard standard. To have a solution for those who need to follow specific regulations, we designed the PFD by Restube. The PFD by Restube is so far certified for Europe and all countries that comply with European standard.
What is the difference between “PFD by Restube” and your normal Restubes?
The PFD by Restube is a great product, although it does not have the versatile advantages of the normal Restube buoy compared to any PFD. It´s extremely compact stowed in its pocket and weighs only 200 grams – this means you really wear it all the time to have it at hand when you need it rather than just strapping it to your board.
Once triggered it’s more than just a float as you can wave with the 75 cm long buoy to get attention. You can drag the yellow buoy by the leash swimming or even dive through surf and hand the buoy over to somebody else to support with instant flotation. It´s always about your individual scenario whether a PFD or a Restube makes more sense. It’s about awareness of what you are doing out there and if you also want to help others if a situation may come up one day.
And on the subject of using them overseas, what’s it like to fly with Restube products?
The CO2-cartridges contain compressed gas and are “dangerous goods” by definition. The good news is our cartridges are that small that they are allowed to be taken on the airplane. So you can easily travel with your Restube as checked luggage or carry on luggage. You find all information on what to do in the packaging and on www.restube.com – if you have any question, let us know.
Where did the inspiration for the Restube inflation technology come from?
Some years before I invented Restube, I had a bad situation when kite surfing at the Atlantic coast in France. I was swimming for ages, got tired and freaked out… After this experience I spoke to many people that had also experienced some kind of bad situation in the water, but it is a silent topic people don’t really talk about. I reflected on why I was not wearing anything which could have helped me and it became clear then that there was nothing out in the market that was small and robust enough that I would be willing to wear all the time.
And is Restube the first product you have been involved in manufacturing or do you have a background in this area?
We engineered Restube as students out of university. And yes, I did build some other stuff before. Anyway, after two diploma thesis and years of hard work, many analysis and testing, one day voilà! We sold the very first Restube. Today, 100, 000 have left the factory and we’re only just beginning.
You have a very solid cache of brand ambassadors from Germany and neighbouring countries, would you be interested in hearing from
potential team riders from the Anglophone world; should our readers get in touch with their applications?
As our headquarter is based in Germany we naturally have a big crowd here in Europe. But for sure our international Restube family is open to grow! If anybody is interested in joining us and help to spread the message: contact us!
What exciting partnerships are in the future for Restube?
There are a lot of things coming up in the future, technology-wise as well as cooperations. Over 70 SUP, kite, swim and triathlon events have Restube is a mandatory tool and we see this steadily increasing.
We launched RESTUBE READY some time ago, it’s a small connector patch which allows you to connect Restube onto the equipment or garment directly. Some brands have already launched their RESTUBE READY products in the market but a lot more is in the pipeline.
With 35 lives saved with Restube so far and giving 100,000 people a better time around water it is still just the beginning for us. Thinking of the motorcycle, bike or ski helmet – it took 20 to 30 years to get through to people’s heads (literally). For us it is very much the same. We want to increase awareness for water safety – this is the number one goal for us at Restube. We need your help to make this happen! SUP International