In this piece of our Product Insights, we would like to introduce the Portuguese brand Van der Waal. Back in 2019, we met Martim and his team during the ISPO in Munich and today we would like to give you some more behind the scenes facts about Van der Waal. In the following interview, Martim tells us a bit more about their story.
Who is the team behind the brand Van der Waal?
I started Van der Waal with an old friend, Afonso. We have known each other since we were kids and as he is working in production, so I started to talk with him about my idea. So we naturally started this together.
Afonso is no longer with Van der Waal but since then I have had the help of friends. Joana, also an old friend, help me a lot with some store deals, distribution orders. And in 2020, Eduardo, my cousin, joined Van der Waal helping us a lot with management and all business aspects.
How did you come up with your idea of the traction pads?
Well, I broke my board and ordered a new custom one. I was so in love with my new yellow board that I didn’t want to cover it with wax or a traction pad. So I started to think about how could I have a grip solution that was clear. Talking with Afonso about this he said he could manage a solution, so we started to try out materials, testing shapes, and so on.
The funny thing is that at the beginning I just saw it as a personal feature just for myself. But with the interest of friends and other surfers in the water, I noticed that this could be a product. And then the Van der Waal clear grip solution was born.
How are your products produced?
I can’t tell you everything (hehe) but we started to work with some existing products on the market. Later, when Van der Waal started to sell, we made a partnership with a factory in Europe to produce for us what we were aiming for.
The traction pads are available in various packs suitable for shortboard as well as longboards. If you don’t find what you are looking for, we can also offer you a custom stack of pads!
Do you have any new ideas in the design process that we might see in the near future?
We are super happy with the 3rd version of the grip, which is so far the best one based on all the feedback we received. I think we finally have achieved what we were looking for since day one: high grip levels and low harsh to skin and wetsuits.
In 2020, we have launched the SmartSticker, which is a new and cool way to find lost surfboards. It is a simple waterproof NFC sticker that allows some good-hearted soul to identify your lost or stolen board (aka stick) and return it to you. It works on any kind of board: surf, skate, snow… you name it.
Additionally, we are currently developing a SmartSticker Pro version, where shapers and board manufacturers, can manage their board info and apply SmartSticker under the glass. At the same time, there will be a version dedicated to rental services, schools and wave pools.
How is the surf scene in Lisbon and what are your favourite spots?
What I love more about Lisbon is the proximity to so many surf spots: Praia Grande, Ericeira, Costa da Caparica, Carcavelos, and so on… all at a 25/30 minute drive. But to be honest, right now almost all beaches are really crowded. On the one hand is great to see so many people surfing, on the other hand you know how frustrating can be to share the waves with so many people 😉
The Van der Waal Product Line
The Van der Waal grip is a clear non-skid alternative to surf wax which is available in various packs in order to fit almost any kind of surfboards. The hexagons are 1mm thick transparent anti-slip texture and with the included guide piece and instructions you are ready to surf!
For more information about the Van der Waal brand please feel free to check out their website www.waal.co
Thanks to Martim and his team for giving us these insights!