Our lives have always been surrounded by water. Magda grew up swimming 4-6 hours a day training to become a 3-time collegiate National Champion at Auburn University while I, with much less acclaim, grew up fishing, swimming, skiing, hunting and doing everything I could to be on the water. We love the water so much, that less than a year after college we both decided to move to Destin, FL together. As life goes, we made the move, got married and found great careers.
Destin is not your typical 'Florida' It's a smaller town, more connected to Alabama than Miami and with a 'slower' pace. The local culture has influences from all over, but it definitely has its own style and flavor. Old school charter fishing boats, kayaking, water-skiing, surfing; water is the epicenter of the Destin lifestyle, which fit us perfectly.
We first tried stand up paddling in late 2008 and loved the "idea"…but hated the product; both form and function. All of the boards we tried were the same thing but with a different name. They were all basically giant, unstable, surfboards. It was around that time that I looked at Magda and said, "We can make this better; we can make a board that stands apart."
I wanted a board that was stable enough to fish from, yet paddled efficiently. A board that could hold a cooler for my beer. A board that was simple, fresh and fit our lifestyle. A board that virtually anybody at any age could paddle with ease. It needed the capabilities of a boat with the simplicity of a board. And, it needed to look good...really good.
So…we left our successful careers (Magda was a financial advisor and I was a Mechanical Engineer) and started making our boats, or what we decided to call "BOTE". All we had for funding was a cashed in 401K worth about 7 Grand, a pocket full of credit cards and a shit-ton of hard work ahead of us.
BOTE has become our life. From business to product we live it every second of every day. We call it our second child! We've been lucky enough to be surrounded with people and employees who share in our passion for the product. Many of them have been with us since day one. Luckily there are a lot of other people who also think our boards are great and because of that we've become a nationwide wide brand guided by our mission: "Stand Apart through industry-shaping innovation, fresh ideas and simplicity to create a product that defines a lifestyle."