WMFG has the cliché garage innovator turned accessory brand background story: A kiteboarder can’t find good kiteboard traction for his board, figures out how to make his own, kiteboarder’s friends encourage him to sell homemade traction, kiteboarder starts a small brand with no business plan and jumps in with both feet. Along the way WFMG designed a groundbreaking better pump, launched the brand at Surf Expo in 2016 and is now 60 dealers strong in the USA with distribution throughout Europe.
You were one of the first companies to release the latest generation of tall high output pumps. How are these pumps different from conventional pump technology and how do yours compare to competitors?
WMFG was the first brand to get the tall (24”) pump onto the market. We were an early partner with the new manufacturer that most of the kite brands have started buying pumps from and we worked closely with them to get the new, taller pump tested and on the market as quick as possible. This new manufacturer is producing the best kite pumps on the market right now, with the best quality valves, gaskets, gauges and fittings, and is genuinely committed to innovating what was for a long time a very stale part of our sport. WMFG has a really close working relationship with this manufacturer and works with them on new product ideas and gets the manufacturer’s new products to market as quick as possible. An example would be WMFG’s new threaded Boston Valve. We brought this idea to them, they made us samples, we tested them, and we’re introducing it on our new Pump 2.0T.
What other features have you added that make the 2.0 T pump different from what’s out on the market right now?
The new Pump 2.0T is out now and has some pretty significant improvements on the original 1.0T. The pump now comes with the new threaded Boston valve which offers a really sick thread-on valve attachment for Naish, Ozone, Airush and any other kite with this type of inflation system. We also added the Mega Flex Hose, which is a super flexy, durable hose that’s easier for travel, storage, and fits kites better. There’s also a really cool new one-way two-way switch that’s super functional, and makes inflating the smaller kites to higher pressures incredibly easy. Like the 1.0T and 1.0R pumps, the new WMFG 2.0T will fit more kites than another pump on the market and we’re really stoked with how it turned out.WMFG also offers some interesting options in traction. Why should surfers consider traction over wax, and what should buyers know about types of traction before buying?
The first part of this question is quite simple. If you have a board you both kite and surf on or if you’re only riding cold water always with booties, then wax is a good option for you. But for everyone else kiting on surfboards, say anyone who ever rides barefoot or ever rides medium to warm water and never surfs on their board, there’s nothing but upside from using traction. To start with, there is no time wasted, hassle, or mess like when using wax. But more importantly, pads don’t wear off during your session; unlike wax, traction stays grippy the entire time. So that being said, the vast majority of kiters will benefit from putting deck pads on their boards.
Not all traction is created equal. Minor adjustments in foam thickness, density, and groove pattern have really significant impact on the grip and performance of the pad. It required a lot of testing and took a ton of samples to get the WMFG pads to where they are now and we feel we have a really good combination of grip, durability, and fit. For the outline, we made about 15 different sample shapes to get the Classic Traction shape right, and it fits from both an aesthetic and functional perspective to just about every traditional shaped surfboard really well. When the Tomo-shaped Firewire board came out we made the new Stubby because the Classic set that fits traditional boards just didn’t look right. Same with the Onesie; we put a Classic set on a Shinnster and just hated how it looked so we made a new pad. So while the grip and function of the pads is really important, we need them to look good too.
It’s surprising how bad the stock traction is on a lot of production kiteboards. The most common groove patterns on deck pads have a front and back to them (like a saw blade) and it’s crazy how many production boards have their pads on backwards or sideways. There’s also tons of brands putting super dense pads on their boards that are really slippery and just not functional. Whether you’re using wax or traction, if you’re riding strapless, nothing is more important than having good grip while retaining a solid feel for your board and at WMFG we put a ton of time and WMFG Six Pack Traction in Teal effort into getting our traction right.
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