Co-founder Pete Saari talks to Boardsports Source about role
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 3 September, 2014 - Lib Tech’s award winning surfboards are to be distributed in Europe from this Autumn, with an HQ setup in Munich. We’ve spoken with co-founder Pete Saari to see what sets Lib Tech apart from their competitors and for all the news on their new European operation.
What were the reasons behind Lib Tech launching into Surf?
Mike Olsen (co-founder) and I love surf and have been building boards and surfing in Washington since we were kids. Mike had taken the last ten years and focused primarily on surf materials research, construction and shape refinement. Lib Tech doesn't enter a new category without adding something significant and we wanted to make sure we did this with surf. The hand shaped custom, personalized and experimental shape aspect in surfing is unreal. (We have that customizability in our hands in snowboard prototype building, which has allowed us to come up with our serrated Magne-Traction edges and Banana technology rocker camber designs).
What traditional surfboards glaringly lack is durability and environmentally friendly materials and processes. Traditional surfboards are fragile and toxic. Mike focused on improving materials and durability while at the same time improving feel in the water, and our process really stands apart from anything else out there in both these areas. We use environmentally friendly non-ozone depleting foams, recycle all foam offcuts and we have eliminated all sanding steps. There is no exposure to resin and the resin system we use a very safe one. The construction we use is still very tough.
The boards were voted the best travel boards by Outside magazine. When you travel you can just throw a Lib Tech in a bag and not worry about it. I don't wrap or pad my boards in any way and I can always count on them being good to go when I get somewhere. Lib Techs are much stronger so you can bring one board on a trip and not worry about it breaking where as with a traditional polyester board you can pretty much watch your board disintegrate on you. Performance-wise the boards feel great; they have a unique ride that is neither like polyester nor epoxy. They feel fast, smooth and lively.
Who are the key people in the Surf Program?
Mike Olson has been heading up our surf program. Jeff Henderson helps him with CAD/shaping and running the day-to-day. Annette Veihelmann and I work on all the design, branding, print material etc. Jami Davis heads up our surf marketing and Ryan Carlson out of Huntington Beach is our Pro/Team Coordinator/Social medial manager. Dan McNamara heads up our sales program.
How has the launch of Lib Tech surfboards been in the USA?
We had a great launch. Mike and the crew have had their hands full keeping up with demand as we scale up our production facility and manage the details of transitioning from a prototype facility to a more production-based focus. As I mentioned we were voted best travel board by Outside Magazine and nominated by SIMA for surfboard of the year.