Merage school alumni launches surf-skate startup

“This thing shreds!”
“This is sick!”
“So unbelievably stoked!”

This is the praise rolling in from skateboarders across 30 countries who love UCI alumnus Patrick Dumas’ invention: a simple adapter that makes skateboarding feel more like surfing.

The adapter went from prototype to patented technology to internationally marketed product with the help of experts and funding available through the Wayfinder program at UCI Beall Applied Innovation – an incubator that connects UC-affiliated startups with resources needed to launch, grow and succeed.

Dumas learned to ride the waves growing up in Huntington Beach, California, and took up skateboarding at UCI. Like many skaters, he craved the tighter turns and faster curves of surfing on waves, but that feeling required pricey specialty skateboards.

One day, after a friend bet he couldn’t do it, Dumas set out to create a skateboard adapter for less than $20. Using scrap metal and a few screws, he built his first Surf Adapter.

Patrick Dumas with skateboard
Studying business information management – a cross-disciplinary program of both The Paul Merage School of Business and the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences – Dumas understood business fundamentals. But he knew he needed help to take his startup, Waterborne Skateboards, to the next level.

Through the Cove, Applied Innovation’s headquarters, Dumas connected with Wayfinder, learned how to pitch and secured investments from the Cove Fund. Most importantly, he gained mentors such as Ken Fairbanks, an Innovation Advisor at the Cove.

“The biggest resource at the Cove is people – entrepreneurs and investors,” Dumas says. “These are people who have spent time in industry and who know how it works.”

Cove advisors helped him raise $42,000 on Kickstarter, and today, sales of Waterborne’s Surf Adapter continue growing exponentially, fueled by a partnership with Australia-based Penny Skateboards, which sells millions of units in 60 countries. Penny recently launched a new line of boards featuring Waterborne’s patented technology.

“Waterborne Skateboards has long surpassed all of my initial expectations for scale and success,” says Dumas, who didn’t have to worry about job hunting when he graduated. “And it’s all thanks to mentorship from some key individuals at the Cove.”