About this project
What is SurfEars™?
Designed for surfers, swimmers and other water athletes, SurfEars™ protect your ears without affecting hearing and balance. Measuring close to zero acoustic loss, SurfEars™ are by far the most sound translucent ear plugs out there.
With SurfEars™ you can easily keep a normal conversation and hear what’s going on around you without feeling isolated. Blocking out water, cold air, dirt & bacteria, SurfEars™ help prevent ear inflammation (swimmer’s ear) and abnormal bone growth in the ear canal (surfer’s ear).
Cleverly designed with changeable parts, SurfEars™ allow you to customize the plugs to fit perfectly in your ears. The fixation wings keep SurfEars™ in place even during extreme activities and heavy wipeouts, without the need of a safety cord.
SurfEars™ let so much sound through its easy to forget you’re wearing ear protection!
Evidence that it works
Independent tests show that SurfEars™ have far superior performance compared to similar products on the market. SurfEars™ show close to zero acoustic loss in the frequency range of human speech while the best competitor cuts away about 20-30dB. To give you a reference, 30dB is roughly the difference between the loudest and lowest volume setting on your smartphone. That’s a pretty big difference in performance!
Measurements were performed by an independent acoustics expert in a professional audio lab in Lund, Sweden.
Meet the team
We’re a team of professional product designers but also dedicated surfers with more than 20 years on the water. We know from experience that a vast amount of surfers and swimmers are suffering from ear problems, preventing them from enjoying their sports.
Our team has extensive experience from designing, developing and manufacturing high tech consumer electronics and sports equipment. Combine that with a great passion for water sports and countless hours on the water and you have the recipy for how to make SurfEars™ so much better than any other competitor out there.
Check out some of our recent projects on http://www.franklydevelopment.com
The project was kicked off in 2011 as a result of one of the inventors (experienced surfer with fully developed surfer’s ear) catching a serious ear infection during a surf trip to Morocco. Totally deaf on one ear, the ear infection lasted for a week and was a real pain to get rid of. It wasn’t the first time it had happened and surely not the last.
Having tried nearly all ear plugs on the market without satisfaction, we though it was time to develop our own product that really works. We needed the product to protect our ears from cold air, water, dirt and bacteria without affecting hearing or balance, which are import and aspects of your experience when surfing or doing other water sports. We thought it was important that the product allowed you to hear what’s going on around you and let you keep a normal conversation on and off the water. We wanted a product so comfortable to use that you could keep it in your ear for hours without even thinking about it.
Our passion project
This quickly became our passion project and generated loads of great ideas, concepts and prototypes. Throughout the process we’ve done a LOT of testing and incremental improvements. The plugs have been exposed to everything from icy cold winter swells in Sweden to tropical surf in Barbados. Our 3D printer (priceless tool for concept verification) has been running non-stop since project kick-off, and enabled us to do countless iterations of prototypes, eventually leading up to the final design.
Kicking off the project in 2011, we’ve spent over 1000 hours of design, development and prototyping which is a significant resource investment. Add several thousand dollars in prototypes and a huge amount of ours on the water testing the product, and we’re almost scared of summing up the project’s total budget.
No matter what, we think the result is quite amazing. And even more importantly, SurfEars™ will eventually help thousands of surfers, swimmers and other water sport athletes avoid ear problems and stay connected to their environment while enjoying their sports.
What's in the box?
Each set of SurfEars™ contain:
-A pair of SurfEars™, pre mounted with size M gels & support wings
-Two support wings, size S
-Two sealing gels, size S
-Two sealing gels, size L
-An awesome storage case
Please note that we're offering FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING on all products when purchased through Kickstarter. This is a unique opportunity which you won't find anywhere else!
As a complement for all you water athletes we're also offering a comfortable and stylish quick-dry T-shirt that works perfectly to use during any sport, on or off the water.
We chose to go out on Kickstarter for three reasons mainly:
1. Secure funding for the final tooling and production investments which are required to put SurfEars™ into mass production
2. Get some attention and make sure that as many people as possible know we exist and can benefit from this great product
3. Simply because we think Kickstarter is an awesome way to kick off a project!
Here's a small selection of pictures from the project to give you an idea of what we've been up to!
Risks and challenges
Our project team has many years of experience in project management, design and manufacturing of consumer products. We know the processes very well and also the risks involved.
The key challenges we see ourselves facing going forward are:
1. Production & supplier management
Making a working prototype is one thing but manufacturing the product in large volumes is another. Unexpected issues do pop up every now and then with risk of adding cost and causing delays in production.
With a background in companies like Nokia and Sony our team is used to handle projects of much larger scale than SurfEars™, literally managing production lines spitting out several hundred thousand products per week. We have the tools and processes to control the suppliers, the production output quality as well as the best possible experience to solve any potential upcoming manufacturing issues.
As always in R&D projects, the project schedule is compressed as there's a rush to get the product out on the market. We're luckily at the very end of the R&D process, but even at this stage there are many things that can interfere with the schedule: material shortage at the supplier or sub-suppliers, production quality issues, customs not releasing parts, faulty or late shipments and so on.
Again, we've done this on a professional level for a very long time (we have guys on board with 18 years in Nokia) and if anyone can handle it, we can!
With previous experience from retail we know how much work it takes and how hard it is to manage world wide shipments without eating up too much profit from the products sold.
We are working to set up a global distribution network with a few strategically located warehouses / fulfillment centers that will enable us to ship out world wide at a reasonable cost and manageable effort.
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