SurfEars – The story
The project was kicked off in 2011 as a result of one of the inventors (experienced surfer with fully developed surfer’s ear) catching a serious ear infection during a surf trip to Morocco. Totally deaf on one ear, the ear infection lasted for a week and was a real pain to get rid of. It wasn’t the first time it had happened and surely not the last.
Having tried nearly all ear plugs on the market without satisfaction, we though it was time to develop our own product that really works. We needed the product to protect our ears from cold air, water, dirt and bacteria without affecting hearing or balance, which are import and aspects of your experience when surfing or doing other water sports. We thought it was important that the product allowed you to hear what’s going on around you and let you keep a normal conversation on and off the water. We wanted a product so comfortable to use that you could keep it in your ear for hours without even thinking about it.
Our passion project
This quickly became our passion project and generated loads of great ideas, concepts and prototypes. Throughout the process we’ve done a LOT of testing and incremental improvements. The plugs have been exposed to everything from icy cold winter swells in Sweden to tropical surf in Barbados. Our 3D printer (priceless tool for concept verification) has been running non-stop since project kick-off, and enabled us to do countless iterations of prototypes, eventually leading up to the final design.
Kicking off the project in 2011, we’ve spent over 1000 hours of design, development and prototyping which is a significant resource investment. Add several thousand dollars in prototypes and a huge amount of ours on the water testing the product, and we’re almost scared of summing up the project’s total budget.
No matter what, we think the result is quite amazing. And even more importantly, SurfEars™ will eventually help thousands of surfers, swimmers and other water sport athletes avoid ear problems and stay connected to their environment while enjoying their sports.
Meet the team
We’re a team of professional product designers but also dedicated surfers with more than 20 years on the water. We know from experience that a vast amount of surfers and swimmers are suffering from ear problems, preventing them from enjoying their sports.
Our team has extensive experience from designing, developing and manufacturing high tech consumer electronics and sports equipment. Combine that with a great passion for water sports and countless hours on the water and you have the recipy for how to make SurfEars™ so much better than any other competitor out there.
Check out some of our recent projects HERE.
We chose to go out on Kickstarter for three reasons mainly:
1. Secure funding for the final tooling and production investments which are required to put SurfEars™ into mass production
2. Get some attention and make sure that as many people as possible know we exist and can benefit from this great product
3. Simply because we think Kickstarter is an awesome way to kick off a project!
Here’s a small selection of pictures from the project to give you an idea of what we’ve been up to!
Our 3D printer running hot, here printing a test ear.
Test ear used to check form & fit
SurfEars’ creative director in action field testing (okay, he enjoyed it!)
We even 3D-printed our own prototype molds
Which enabled us to try many design concepts in short time
A fast and effective way to verify product concepts
Some early sketches on the support wing
First silicon parts coming out of the prototype mold at the supplier
Eventually leading up to the final version of SurfEars™
And the awesome storage case