Mastering Boardmasters

September 30, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 

This summer, just hours before the gates were due to open, the ever-popular Boardmasters Festival was cancelled due to severe weather warnings. It was a big blow (sorry for the pun!) to Spring and our client, Hydro Flask, who had exciting plans for the surfing and music event.

So how do you turn news like this into a positive result for your client? Our very own event-extraordinaire, Abbie, was on hand to make sure it was a success.

Why did you choose to attend the Boardmasters event on behalf of Spring?

“We attended Boardmasters because vacuum insulated drinking bottle brand, Hydro Flask, is becoming super popular with the surf market, no doubt thanks to the fact Hydro Flask sponsor the World Surf League in the USA. Attending Boardmasters, a festival which celebrates surf and music, was the perfect way to target those consumers.”

What were your plans for the event?

“Our biggest pull was the fact we were giving away a massive 400 bottles over the weekend through our ‘beer pong’ game. The queue to play the game was never-ending! On top of this, we were selling on the stand and we also offered MyHydro for the first time in Europe, which allows consumers to personalise their bottle with a different colour lid, strap and boot.”

How much time and effort had you put into your planning?

“Attending large events, especially for the first time, always takes a lot of planning. We started preparing for Boardmasters a year in advance (August 2018) and then preparation was continuous from then until the actual event in August 2019. Time spent planning increased in the final months prior.”

How did you find out about the cancellation news?

“We found out about the cancellation in the middle of the night after receiving an email from the Boardmasters team. Strangely though, we’d actually heard from a hotel concierge that they were going to cancel the day before it was announced due to the impending weather but brushed this off as a rumour. Little did we know…”

What was your first reaction…and then your second!?

“Sh*t! was my first. My second was a mash-up of thoughts about my next steps: phone the volunteer staff, let the UK sales agent, Matt, know, get in contact with our van driver to see if he can come early… It was definitely a moment of sheer panic! Thankfully, I’d just taken up yoga so took a deep breath, did a forward fold and let Leonie from Hydro Flask in Swizterland know (who had also come over to help) before making calls. Once we were up and dressed, we headed down to the festival site to find out what was going on.”

How did your prior planning help you to react positively?

“Everything was very organised, from saving phone numbers to having a Gantt chart with all the details of the festival on which it made it really easy to give people the heads up. I think it’s fine to have a moment of complete panic so long as you can pull yourself together and get on with it afterwards.”

How did your plans change?

“The music festival was cancelled completely but the Fistral Beach site, where Hydro Flask was positioned, was opened on the Wednesday and Thursday – then closed Friday until Sunday. We made the most of the two days at the Fistral Beach site and had what the organisers called ‘the busiest stand at the festival’.”What did you get out of the day in the end?

“We met with lots of really great consumers, saw some awesome surfers and also made connections with other brands who attended the event. We had huge queues of people lining up to play our beer pong game and we even got rid of 200 Hydro Flask bottles per day! It was a really successful event for the two days that we were there, and we loved every minute of it.  The sun shone for the first two days with the storm hitting at 5 pm on Thursday night – just as we were packing down.”

Would you go again? “One million per cent.”


Aquapac to the Max

September 30, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 

Aquapac, innovators of waterproof cases and bags has welcomed back Massimo (Max) Malavasi, one of the Company’s original founders.  His return as Co-CEO coincides with the re-appointment of Spring PR to handle the PR for the brand in the UK.  One of Spring’s tasks is to support Aquapac with the relaunch of the brand’s website and provide content for a new blog entitled The Expert Centre.

We wanted to find out what brought Max back and where he sees the future of waterproofing…

As one of the original founders of Aquapac, where did your inspiration come from to launch the Company?

“Two friends of mine had an idea to waterproof a Walkman (remember those?) when they first came out in 1982. We were in our early 20s, keen windsurfers and one of them asked me if I wanted to start up a company. Listening to music while you windsurf? ‘What an amazing idea!’, I thought. It was a lightbulb moment. 

“We took a very basic prototype made of wood and polythene and developed it. We sold it to Boots and Currys but they didn’t sell through as the design wasn’t good enough, even though it worked. 

“It did lead us to exhibiting at the London Boat Show in 1984. There, our first successful product emerged; a hand-held VHF radio which we still sell today in lots of different versions. When Sony launched the waterproof Walkman several years later we knew our idea was vindicated.”

What has brought you back to Aquapac?

“I left the Company in 1999 after running it for 16 years. I was tired and needed a change. I sold most of my shares (but kept 10%) to my successor in 2005. He decided to retire this year and I felt there was unfinished business. We bought him out and now wish to fulfil the potential of Aquapac.” 

How has the Company changed and developed in the time you were away?

“The team here at Aquapac have done a lot of good work, many of whom have been here for 20 years plus. The main changes are the width and scope of the 

product range. We have a wide range of waterproof cases and bags including duffles, rucksacks, daysacks and totes. I’m still getting my head around the whole range!

“Our core business is still 100% waterproof cases for phones, VHFs, tablets, cameras. We have also branched out more into specialised cases for the TV and film industry as well as some medical products. 

 “When we launched the Aquapac range in 1994, we were pioneers. There was really only one other company globally which we competed with and they were only focused on waterproofing cameras.  I have come back in 2019 and we have over 40 imitators and competitors. We have spawned a whole mini-industry.”

What are your hopes for the future of the Company and are these different from the original aspirations?

“We believe we have a great brand in Aquapac and it’s hard to think it’s been 36 years since launching. We are working on a number of new projects and 2020 will hopefully be an interesting year for the Company as we plan to launch about 20 new products.

“We want to make even better products which are both more practical and sustainable from design to materials to manufacture and for use by our customers. Bottom line is we want to satisfy our customers more and be more respectful of our planet. Our cases are designed to be used again and again.

“Next year will see also a whole new professional range of products. We have always been originators and pioneers and that’s what we intend to keep doing. Our mission is to find new solutions, make quality products and treat our customers well.”

What’s your favourite way to pass time on the water?

“I’m a bit older now but I like dinghy sailing and also sailing with some of my friends who own yachts. I whitewater-rafted again after a long time this summer which was a blast. I can see myself getting into kayaking and I’d like to explore some coastlines, especially around Cornwall and Scotland.”

What’s your favourite Aquapac product and why?

“Our VHF cases. Our first one was created back in 1984 and called the AQ2. It was our second-ever product and is now a family of products.

“In September 1982, I went windsurfing in Morocco with friends. I was swept out to sea when the wind changed 180 degrees and started to blow a gale. My friends swam out to help me, one successfully, but we couldn’t get back to shore due to the strong wind and current. We were at sea for 6 hours and blown about 7 miles out in a huge swell. We were terrified as there were no boats or anyone around so I began to despair. A ship carrying butane called the Butacuatro from Bilbao in Northern Spain, on its way to the Canary Islands, passed just 200 m away and stopped to save our lives.

“We were lucky, very lucky. It only twigged in late 1984 that what I needed was a hand-held VHF radio in an AQ2 to call for help that day. That’s why these cases have always been special to me. In 1988, a yacht owner came up to me at the London Boat Show and said our cases had saved his life when his boat capsized. I have heard that a number of times over the years.”

Have you ever dropped your phone down the toilet?!

“I dropped my phone down a toilet only two years ago. That was expensive! Otherwise, I am lucky enough to have a pretty good collection of Aquapacs, so this doesn’t happen very often. I’ve taken photos with Aquapacs on the Barrier Reef, in the Alps and lots of amazing places. Lots of great memories.”

LifeStraw: Doing Well By Doing Good

September 25, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 

Spring client, LifeStraw, has been distributing aid to Hurricane Dorian victims. Managing Director, Alison Hill, personally travelled out to the Bahamas as the water situation began to look dire for those living there. Dorian is said to have been the most powerful tropical cyclone on record to strike the Bahamas, and is regarded as the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. LifeStraw will be providing lifesaving filters to the communities in need giving them access to clean drinking water.

This work is in addition to LifeStraw’s Give Back programme – where for every product purchased, LifeStraw provides safe water for an entire school year. It’s a project implemented directly by LifeStraw. By the end of 2019 LifeStraw will have provided one year of safe drinking water to more than 3.3 million students, helped 1870 schools and delivered 12,220 water filters.

LifeStraw Home is their newest product to hit UK shelves in January next year. The Home is a water pitcher that you fill up with tap water, stick in your fridge and it’ll filter all the baddies out (microplastics, bacteria, parasites, heavy metals) but keep the goodies such as potassium, sodium. 


Did you know that we could be ingesting five grams of plastic every week because of polluted water. A recent study commissioned by the WWF entitled ‘No Plastic in Nature: Assessing Plastic Ingestion from Nature to People’ was carried out by the University of Newcastle in Australia. It suggests people are consuming around 2,000 tiny plastic particles each week – adding up to approximately 250 grams a year. With the largest source coming from drinking water.   

You can donate to LifeStraw’s Hurricane Dorian fund by heading to their website https://www.lifestraw.com.

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