They say that no great idea can get off the ground without passion. For Coconut Creek resident Doug Schultz and Oakland Park resident Justin Rietema, it was a mutual love for being on the water that turned these friends into entrepreneurs and business partners.
“I had a boat in 2009, with a couple other friends,” Rietema recalls. “We always used to jump in the water and put our life jackets on upside down, and float.”
They called it Float Club and spent many weekend hours floating. But they knew there had to be a better way than with their makeshift solution.
“The life vest upside down—it doesn’t work very well,” Schultz says. “There’s foam everywhere. It’s constantly trying to fly out from underneath you. Trying to get up on the boat ladder is a nightmare.”
The friends, both of them landscape architects, turned their skills toward creating a flotation device specifically designed for their weekend fun.
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Doug Schultz, co-founder of H3O Sports, which appeared on ABC's Shark Tank in October 2017, is a first-time entrepreneur who patented an innovative new life vest motivated by his dissatisfaction with all the existing products on the market.
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Justin Rietema and Doug Schultz are landscape architects by trade, but boaters at heart. So the Fort Lauderdale area residents spent six years developing a life-saving flotation jacket, called the Human Bobber, in the hopes of achieving financial independence.
They took a major step in that direction when they successfully pitched their invention on ABC-TV’s Shark Tank program, winning support from two nationally prominent entrepreneurs.
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ABC’s Shark Tank Sunday, October 22: Two Landscape Architects to Pitch Human Bobber Floatation Aids for On-the-Water Fun
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The inventors of the Human Bobber line of multipurpose personal flotation devices will make their national television debut Sunday, October 22 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC’s Shark Tank.
“Our goal has always been to provide consumers with multi-use floats and life vests that make their time on the water more enjoyable”
Florida-based Justin Rietema, 34, and Doug Schultz, 38, will pitch the Sharks on the Bottoms Up, a dual-purpose life vest that can be inverted and worn like a pair of shorts, and the Scuttlebutt, a saddle-like float that also can be used as in-water lounge chair or kayak seat.
Rietema and Schultz are landscape architects by trade who founded H3O Sports in 2011, growing their business at night and on weekends. Schultz is a father of three boys under five and Rietema is expecting his first child in November.
A pivotal milestone came in 2016, when the Bottoms Up received U.S. Coast Guard approval as a type III flotation aid suitable for rescues in calm waters. The duo next set their sights on Shark Tank.
After applying online and mailing in product samples, they attended an open audition in Miami, where a producer recognized the Bottoms Up and Scuttlebutt.
Schultz said, “The producer told us that he sent our products to friends with a lake house who absolutely loved them. Needless to say, they passed us straight through to the next round.”
When Schultz and Rietema got the email that they were scheduled to film the show, they had a hard time believing it.
Schultz added, “Before we went in, we decided that instead of targeting one investor, we would be open to all of them since each Shark brings a different approach and set of skills to the table.”
While these two entrepreneurs can’t reveal the outcome of their time in the tank, they have no regrets about their experience.
“Our goal has always been to provide consumers with multi-use floats and life vests that make their time on the water more enjoyable,” Rietema said.
The Bottoms Up and Scuttlebutt are available online at HumanBobber.com. Follow the company on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @humanbobber.
Hi-res image available at DisneyABCpress.com
For H3O Sports
Marielle Sologuren, 954-776-1999, ext. 226
Justin Rietema and Doug Schultz want the Sharks to float them some cash when they pitch Human Bobbers, their multi-functional personal flotation devices, in episode 825. The pair started the company in 2011 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Their products are life preservers – with a twist.
They can be worn as a vest for water sports and converted to wear like a pair of shorts. This lets people “sit” in the water. This is great if you need to work on a boat while it's in the water or for just lounging. The Human Bobber also doubles as a comfy kayak seat. It's essentially an upside-down life jacket/water seat.
For boaters, the Human Bobber is a Coast Guard approved life vest. The beauty is, guests on the boat can also use it as a personal floatation device, so there;'s no need for extra “toys.” The vests convert to a chair-like float or, when worn like a pair of pants, lets you become a literal Human Bobber. They sell for $65 – in line with pricing for a quality life vest. They also sell a beverage bobber – a life vest that lets your drink safely float – for 18 bucks.
Do you like it on top as a vest for active water sports? Or do you like it on bottom for passive recreation floating in your pool or off the back of your boat? Whatever way you like it, Human Bobber has a position for you. Find your favorite position today at www.humanbobber.com #humanbobber#bottomsup #howdoyoubob #whatsyourfavoriteposition #boats#coastguard #approved #instagood #instagram #island #summer#beachbody #beachbum #bikini #bikinibody #paddleboard #kayaking#fishing #fun #sun #sundayfunday #lake #lakelife #boatlife #fashion#blogger #viralthread #lakeoftheozarks #wakeboarding #standup #paddleboarding #waterskiing #islamorada #sandbar #travel #explore #explorer #islandlife