WMFG started as a little side project by former SBC Kiteboard advertising sales manager Matt Aiken. He was on the strapless surfboard thing pretty early, but being from Toronto and riding the Great Lakes he was never going to surf his boards, so he always put traction on the front foot. With nothing purpose-built for the front foot area on surfboards he did what most riders do; take surf traction pads, turn them around backwards, and hope for the best. The results weren’t always pretty but they worked. When the brand of surf traction he was using stopped making pads in white, vanity became the mother of creativity and he started looking to source his own foam.
“This all started because I was so tired of my boards looking so messed up with pads that never really fit the board’s outline,” says Aiken. “I’d looked at after-market SUP pads, but they were usually the wrong shape, kind of thick, and sometimes really slippery. I’d ordered a few square pieces of foam from a supplier in the Gorge to cut my own shapes with, they were decent, then I tried this interesting product used for lining the interior of boats; it had some real potential, but wasn’t quite right. It all changed when I spoke to my board builder John Amundson and he gave me the contact for a guy in China who made some samples for him. After a couple of emails and some Skype chats I had a dozen different sheets of foam delivered and I started testing deck pad material full time. Ever day I’d have some sort of comparison set up, one type of foam on the front right foot, a different one on the left”.
After two more seasons of testing different foam thicknesses, groove patterns, depths, and orientations what began as a little arts and crafts project became a brand. WMFG launched their line of traction at Surf Expo this September and will also have a full line of kiteboard and SUP pumps. Check them out at WMFG.co.