Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ROLLING WITH AN IDEA; Entrepreneur Seeks Success Via Skateboard Lights

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ROLLING WITH AN IDEA; Entrepreneur Seeks Success Via Skateboard Lights

Article excerpt

Byline: Roger Bull

NEXT

IDEAS - INNOVATION - ACTION

Chad Sandiford was somewhere in the Midwest.

"Joliet, Indiana," he said. "No, wait. Illinois."

It was another day on his tour across the country, complete with a rock band, marketing his invention: Bright lights that go on the bottom of a skateboard.

Third Kind lights (yes, he got the name from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind") came from the mind of a 28-year-old who has spent much of life on a skateboard and just didn't want to get a normal job.

Sandiford grew up in Atlantic Beach and did all the things so many teens did then: Surfed, skated. In high school, he and his friends had a backyard ramp. They were all involved in getting the Oceanside Rotary Club Skate Park built.

"We used to skate 19th Street," he said, "but we got sick of the neighbors all calling the police. So we started a petition and the Rotary Club built the park."

He graduated from Florida State University in 2008 and went to work in the Toys R Us management training program. He left after four months.

"I had $468 and some change," he said, "so I bought a one-way ticket to Hawaii."

He kicked around there for a while, working in restaurants and eventually came home. But he knew he wasn't interested in a corporate job.

The idea for the lights came to him, he said, when he sat hung over in Al's Pizza.

"I'd seen lights that people jerry-rigged themselves in their garage with lights from Auto Zone or wherever," he said. "But they were all pretty crappy."

In September 2012, he started work on it. He had no technical background, didn't even have design programs on his computer. He worked with basic paint programs and talked with companies that specialized in LEDs.

The key, he said, is positioning the battery so that it doesn't stick down so far it interferes with the ride.

"That's what makes it patentable," he said.

He has two design patents with a third pending.

By spring he had his first prototype. By fall, with financial help from his family, he had 2,000 units made in a Chinese factory that he found online. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.