In 2012, the startup RESTUBE was founded by two mechanical engineering graduates from Karlsruhe who have always loved water sports. While kitesurfing in open waters, Christopher Fuhrhop found himself in a tricky situation in which he wished he had some small, lightweight, and personal water rescue equipment.
The rest is history: Both he and Marius Kunkis wrote their theses on the new product and were promptly awarded by the federal government and the EU “Exist” grant. Many successes followed and soon they were finalists for the founder competition sponsored by the German magazine Wirtschaftswoche, the James Dyson Award, the ISPO Brand New Award, and the ISPO Gold Award 2014/15 and 2016/17.
The incentive for RESTUBE was from being in a critical situation in the water. A fall while doing water sports and the disorientation and panic that comes with it. How can such a situation be avoided? Founder Christopher Fuhrhop came across this question when he had experienced such a situation.
“It all started as an idea during my studies, and I couldn’t get rid of it!” Studying mechanical engineering suddenly made sense. Soon, a team formed between Marius Kunkis, Christian Schwarzkopf, and Christopher Fuhrhop. The idea grew with support from the University of Karlsruhe and many others who believed in the project.
Since fall 2010, full-time work lead to a small and handy water rescue system. “RESTUBE sports” was released in the summer of 2012. The product was awarded the “brand new award” at the sports trade fair ISPO as well as by the federal government. RESTUBE was named one of the best startups by Wirtschaftswoche and won the James Dyson Award. The rest is history: From long distance swimmer Bruno Baumgartner, windsurfer Florian Jung, professional stand up paddler Sonni Hönscheid to kitesurf instructors and lifeguards at DLRG (the German lifesaving organization) – the simple idea created freedom and enthusiasm. And the RESTUBE team continues to grow.
In 2014, two versions were available (classic and sports). Since 2015, four different versions are now available. Three for self-rescue (basic, classic, sports) and one for rescuing others (lifeguard). The “basic” has the fundamental functions and is therefore perfect for all water activities, e.g., with the family, as backup on a boat, or while fishing and kayaking. The “classic” can be worn vertically and has almost no drag while swimming. It is perfect for swimming, triathlons, or any type of water activity. The “sports” version was developed for high impact sports and is therefore perfect for kitesurfing, windsurfing, surfing, or SUP. It can of course also be used for any water related activity.
Plans and ideas for the future are vast, and the possibilities are endless: Whether for personal use as a safety backup in the water, as an extra form of safety during water sports, as demonstration equipment at safety training and workshops, or as a basic companion on excursions and tours. The young RESTUBE team is scanning the market and diligently running tests at their own development facilities to further design, sew, and connect. The aim is to raise awareness of the issue of security in the water and providing more freedom to swimmers.