Mr. Krups product testing his own material.
Ballet: A Surfer Owned Grip Co We Love
Aesthetic designs with functionality in mind.
Surfing's nothing like ballet, most of us look like shit when we do it, but this grip will at least make your board look nice. Plus, Ballet is a great name for a brand. In this instance, it matches the aesthetic nature of the new, mostly grip focused company conceived by Jamie Krups and Seb Raubenheimer.
Practically, there's probably no need for another grip company in our little market. But with a desire to design and obvious interest in surf Seb and Krups thought they may as well try their luck on a surf accessory based brand.
"Seb and I had been flirting with the idea of making something for a while, something surf related." Jamie told me over the phone. "Then we settled on grips... they seemed easy enough compared to the alternatives.
"We spent a bunch of time scouring Alibaba and fired off a bunch of emails to people. Eventually we found a manufacturer we liked the look of and then the process started."
Seb in flight, likely ruminating over their latest mould.
As it turns out though, creating a grip from scratch isn't as simple as Jamie makes it sound here. Like with any product, you need to cop a few samples before going into production. And having never made grips before, Jamie and Seb had to go through multiple samples before they were happy with the end product.
"We had to make a new mould for every sample we made. Those moulds aren't cheap to make either and after four we still wanted to make one more change before making a bunch of them." Krups continued. "We didn't have enough money to make another mould and get more samples though, so we just bit the bullet and went out and made them before we even saw what it looked like."
"Luckily we were stoked with it [laughs]."
Isn't she lovely? Isn't she wonderful?
Ballet Grip Co., the long name of their brand went live with their site—House Of Ballet, click and peruse—on New Years Day. In their first range, White Swan, they've released an all white, three piece grip pad. It has a slight raise for your foot's arch, and other than that, it's a grip pad, they're all pretty similar functionality wise. In addition, they've gone plastic free with the packaging—even the delivery bag is biodegradable. Each grip is packed in a B.G.C labelled pizza box and shipped with love from Jamie and Seb.
"We just wanted to make something that looks nice on a good board. No bright ugly colours or weird graphics. Just something clean and simple." And that's exactly what they've done. Even our own creative, Shinya Dalby, coughed up some coin despite being without a new board.
House of Ballet also have a nice little black tee to add to your never ending shirt collection, and a tote bag to carry your groceries in (it's not one of those shithouse cloth totes either, it'll hold a few kgs of avocados and almond milk with ease).
To celebrate their first capsule they're holding a release party this Friday in Chippendale, Sydney. From 6 til 10pm at the Goodspace Gallery (on the second floor of Lord Gladstone) House of Ballet will provide free drinks, music, and a decent excuse to get back on the horse after spending the obligatory week sober after New Years.
Come along, grab a beer, buy a new grip, and if you've always hated my writing, make it known by wrapping a schooner around my dome.