By Kristina Houck
Carmel Valley resident and entrepreneur Michael Sick developed a product he said beachgoers use surfer lingo — and his last name — to describe.
“‘Sick’ was not always cool, but when people see this they say, ‘Oh man, that’s sick!’” he said.
Sick describes the Surf-Grip as a “bodyboard for your hands.” The lightweight foam paddle with a handle allows bodysurfers to have increased buoyancy and velocity when catching waves.
“Not everybody can go to the beach every day, so when I go to the beach I want to have a good time regardless of what the waves are,” said Sick, 58.
Tired of hauling bulky bodyboards during family trips to the beach, Sick, a father of four, longed for a more portable product that could be used to improve his bodysurfing ability.
Using pool noodles and ski pole handles, the New York native experimented with several prototypes before the bodysurfing tool was manufactured in Southern California. Sick has sold roughly 3,000 Surf-Grips since the product launched in 2009.
“If you’ve got a bunch of kids, a cooler, umbrella, chairs and four bodyboards, these are a whole lot easier,” said Sick, who also heads Sick Consulting, a marketing and consulting firm.
Also a fitness device, Sick noted Surf-Grippers can use one or two simultaneously when working out.
“This is a way to get a little bit more active experience and really ride the waves rather than dodging the waves,” Sick said.
Pacific Beach resident Trevor Moore learned about Surf-Grip from a friend three years ago.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before, so I was excited to use it,” said 23-year-old Moore. “It was something new and I was able to catch on quickly. I think it is going to become popular to all people whether they’re new to water sports or are experienced surfers and grew up in the water.”
The Surf-Grip currently sells for $14.99 plus shipping online and is also available at Rusty Boardhouse in La Jolla, Green Room Surf Shop in Ocean Beach and Wind An Sea Surfboards in Mission Beach.
To learn more about Surf-Grip, visit www.surf-grip.com.