Shark Wheels first got our attention through their Kickstarter funding campaign(Watch campaign video here) . The self titled square skateboarding wheels raise almost $80,000 reaching 8 time the funding it originally sought. With over 800 sets ordered, it is a commercial success even before the first production batch was made. With less than a month left before the wheels ship out, Andrew Yeung [longboardism] got the opportunity to chat to its inventor and company founder, David Patrick.
The man behind the wheel
Patrick isn’t your usual skate entrepreneur with some spare garage space and a dream. He has a strong business background managing multi-million dollar companies. On top of his Chief Technology Officer (CTO) role at Shark Wheels, he is also CTO of 4sphere, a clean tech company focused on developing alternating wake turbines. Both Shark Wheels and 4Sphere are portfolio companies of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.
How does a wake turbine inventor end up designing longboard wheel?
Talking to Patrick, we found out that the shark wheels originated from the shape of 4spher’s wake turbine. He tells us how, during its design, one fourth of the spherical turbine’s dropped and rolled away and that’s when they realized that the shape was in fact also a wheel.
Taking this idea forward he started Shark Wheel and, after trying his wheel concept for different applications (bicycle, quad bike, etc…), in November 2012 began pursuing the skateboard wheel option. The initial prototypes were for trick wheels but after experiencing issues (thought to be linked to the geometry) R&D moved to the bigger and fatter longboard wheels. Turns out the real problem wasn’t the geometry but the urethane formula. The problem was solved when the company teamed up with AEND industries and Labeda.
Fast forward to June 2013 and after perfecting and refining the modular design in CAD, Injection molding the finalized design with industry standard urethane, the kickstarter campaign launched.