The America’s Cup may be over, but the downstream benefits it provided to Kiwi small businesses is not. One Christchurch business has been so inundated with orders it’s now had to move to a bigger production house. “It was amazing to see all the boats in the harbour with our seats on them. We were really proud,” says Mattijs van Vugt, Shark Seating marketing manager.
Shark makes hydraulic suspension seats. “This will take all the pressure from the waves that goes into your back or your knees in the suspension so you have a more comfortable and importantly safe ride.” Shark kitted out more than 30 Coastguard, Police and organiser boats. So when you saw the chase boats whizzing behind Te Rehutai on the Waitemata Harbour, there was a piece of Kiwi ingenuity keeping people safe.
“The reason they would use it is because they’re trying to keep up with a yacht that’s going above the waves and not getting those impacts, whereas they have to slam through them up to about 50 knots,” says Paul Zwaan, owner of Shark Seats’. The seats are designed, produced and assembled in Christchurch but the international exposure now means their client base is worldwide. “As a result of that awareness, we’re now selling to other Coastguards, Police and Navies around the world and a lot of boaties and tourist operators,” says Zwaan.
Customers like the Australian Army and Malaysian Coastguard are now ordering hundreds of seats at a time, which is why the business has now moved to a 400-square-metre warehouse in Christchurch. “It’s very important to show that as a Kiwi brand we can stay strong using the America’s Cup brand,” says Van Vugt.