Jon Chase grew up on the shores of Bald Eagle Lake and now lives on White Bear Lake. He’s always taken advantage of proximity to lakes by engaging in water sports.
As an adult, Chase, 40, and two friends, Chris Altringer of Forest Lake and Andy Nintzel of Grand Rapids, have particularly enjoyed wakesurfing, which is surfing behind a boat without a rope, riding the wave.
There was one problem with that sport, which the trio saw as a great opportunity. They have turned it into a successful business venture.
“It was difficult to create a wave,” Chase said. To do so, they had to “weigh down the boat with water ballast and friends, and drive the boat in circles.”
Many of the newer wakesurf boats, costing $100,000 or more, were equipped with integrated surf gates to create wakesurf waves, Chase said.
But older boats didn’t have that equipment. Seeing a niche in the market, in 2016 the trio developed what they call a retrofit wake shaper. It’s attached with suction cups to the side of older boats, and it creates that much-desired surfable wave.
They call their company NautiCurl, a combination of nautical and curl, referring to the shape of the waves.
“Our product allows you to have an older boat and place this on it, rather than spend 100 grand on a new boat,” Chase explained.
Their wake shaper has been selling well throughout the USA, Australia, Europe, South America, Japan and Asia, Chase said, primarily online at NautiCurl.com. It costs $239 to $259.
Chase got into waterskiing and kneeboarding growing up, and eventually competed in wakeboarding. Altringer and Nintzel are also lifelong water enthusiasts, he said.
Chase was a hockey and soccer player for the Bears, and played hockey at Hamline while studying Mechanical Engineering. He finished his degree at the University or Minnesota.
The wake shapers, made of aluminum, are manufactured at a metal fabrication shop and a painting shop in Wyoming, MN.
Over the years, NautiCurl has expanded its product offering to include wakesurf boards for kids and adults, inflatable swim mats, dock lighting, ropes, boat accessories and clothing.
This year, they introduced a new wake shaper called the FLEX, designed to attach to narrow areas on boats, where traditional wake shapers were unable to attach.
“NautiCurl plans to continue to innovate in the lake and boating market over the coming years,” Chase said.