For this latest installment of our SUP Company Spotlight series, we caught up with TRIPSTIX founder, Stefan Klare. A German paddle board company that is truly pushing the boundaries of inflatable SUP design, TRIPSTIX has developed an innovative new patent pending technology that is changing the way people think about inflatable stand up paddle boards and surfboards…
How were you initially introduced to the sport of stand up paddleboarding?
My passion is surfing in general! Germany does not have many waves, but luckily we have plenty of river waves (standing waves) in Munich. As paddleboarding is a great expansion to classical surfing, I was hooked immediately.
What ignited the spark in you to get involved in the industry?
I originally wanted to use our technology for classical surfboards. But, as the need for transportability is much higher for SUPs, I decided to start with SUPs and deal with inflatable surfboards in a second step.
How important have good employees been to your success?
In my opinion you need three things to be successful in business: A unique idea, a good team, and stamina. Thus, a good team was very important!
If you had a chance to start your company over again, what would you do differently?
Not much! All mistakes I made were very important for developing the skills I have today.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Since I am an engineer, I always focused on the development of the product. Hence it was the greatest challenge to learn all of the other aspects of creating a business, especially putting together the right team.
How many hours a day do you work on average, and what does your typical day look like?
If I don’t sleep, I work. And if I don’t work, I surf! But, since I was able to turn my passion into a business, it does not feel like working! A typical day: 50% communication (emails, team, partners, etc.), 50% development in the workshop, 20% surfing and testing the product.
What motivates you, and who has been your greatest inspiration?
I am a freedom-lover and the worst thing for me would be working 9 to 5. Being able to structure my day as I like and make decisions on my own is motivation enough. Only dead fish swim with the current! It is hard to name my greatest inspiration. One of my favorite surfers is the autistic surfer, Clay Marzo. He is so direct and does exactly what he wants. That’s very inspiring!
How do you define success?
If you don’t regret anything, your life was a success!
What do you enjoy most about being involved in the SUP industry?
I just love to work in a casual industry where a handshake is more important than a contract. After finishing my PhD I immediatelly sold my suit. Now, the only suit I wear is a wetsuit!
Where do you see the paddleboarding industry in 10 years? 20 years?
Let me answer this question for the two performance disciplines: Race, and Wave. I think it is very likely that Race-SUP will become an Olympic-discipline in the future. Wave-SUP will become more and more popular. I have the impression that many surfers discover the Wave-SUP as an extension to their quiver. It is a great option for smaller waves or flat days! I also prefer the SUP for big fat waves as catching fat waves is much easier with the SUP than with a shortboard!