We’re a small, family-owned business built upon a shared love of paddle sports and a reasonably healthy thirst for adventure. Sometimes our adventures take the form of an excursion — a paddle along the scenic rivers and lakes of northern Vermont, where our company is based, or along the coast of the Bahamas, where we spend as much time as possible. And sometimes our adventures are inspired by an idea that just has to be brought to life – or we can’t sleep at night.
What we love most about an adventure is you never know where it will take you, who you’ll meet along the way, and what you’ll learn in the process. And that’s the story of OBLIO, which, stroke by stroke, has turned out to be the perfect adventure. OBLIO designs and manufactures innovative paddle-sports equipment to help you get more out of your paddling experience. Our products are designed to improve your balance, efficiency, and overall enjoyment on the water. Because making a good thing better is what we’re all about.
We’re active people who love to explore the great outdoors. So stand-up paddle-boarding seemed like a natural fit. But as much as we wanted to love it, there was something missing. Unlike the other sports we enjoy — kayaking, rowing, hiking, and biking, stand-up paddle-boarding lacked rhythm and balance. Switching the single-bladed paddle between hands — five strokes on the right and three on the left, felt unnatural, even awkward. We just couldn’t get in the groove. A double-bladed paddle seemed like the right idea. We tried the few that were on the market, but the ergonomics weren’t quite right. So we came up with the concept of a rotating grip that resolved the ergonomics issue, providing freedom of movement by relaxing the posture of the wrist, elbow, and shoulder.
While researching the idea, we discovered Scott Bucknell in Hawaii, who was already two years down the road of developing the same product. He had secured a patent and was in the midst of creating a prototype of “the next generation” rotating grip.
So we reached out to Scott to find out if he needed any help bringing his product to market. And that’s when Scott told us his story. Months earlier he had been involved in a devastating motorcycle accident, which left him paralyzed from the waist down. As a paraplegic, this once active outdoorsman no longer had the ability to enjoy the sport he worked so hard to perfect.
After making our initial connection, we spent time with Scott in Southern California and eventually entered a business relationship together, which has enabled us to continue the exciting work Scott began.
During the development of the OBLIO paddle, we discovered that the same rotating-grip concept could be applied to the other paddle sports we love. Rotating grips that affix to the shaft of a traditional kayak or canoe paddle greatly increase your range of motion and reduce stress on your shoulders and elbows. When we first tried it, the rotating grips felt so natural and the motion so fluid, we wondered how we did it the other way for so long. And that’s how the BOLT was born.
We’re anxious to see how the rest of the story unfolds. It’s been quite a journey so far. But one thing’s for sure: OBLIO is built on innovative ideas and the tireless work of great people, a foundation that will enable our young company to continue growing and doing amazing work. We’ve found that sometimes good enough isn’t really good enough. You can always do it better. Our goal is to make the sports we love more fun and rewarding for everyone.
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