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COVID-19 and O’Brien: In the midst of everything going on, O’Brien Watersports is still up and running. As some of you know, our headquarters are based just outside of Seattle in Snoqualmie, WA and on March 23rd the governor mandated a stay-at-home order. Prior to the announcement, we made the necessary changes so that we are capable of working from home, which is what we’ll be doing until the situation improves. All of our daily operations are still functional with the exception of customer service being able to receive phone calls (if you leave a message, they will call you back). Alternatively, we recommend that you reach out to them via email at CustomerService@obrien.com for faster and more efficient assistance.

For anyone who has placed orders recently, there is no need to worry. We are still capable of processing and shipping orders from our warehouse in Texas and will continue to do so until further notice. As things change, we will do our best to keep you informed. Until then, stay safe and we can’t wait to see you back out on the water.

About Hydroslide

The first commercially available water ski kneeboard was Knee Ski, co-invented by Mike Murphy and Bud Hulst in 1972. Hulst had a background in surfing, manufacturing kneeboards for wave riding under the name of El Paipo. Murphy had been a professional show skier. The original Knee Ski was made from molded fiberglass, like a boat hull, and was neutrally buoyant. Each Knee Ski had a flat neoprene pad covering the entire deck, and a Velcro strap.

In 1973, John Taylor, a former Knee Ski employee, decided to make and sell his own boards under the name of Glide Slide. Taylor took a new approach, blow molding a plastic shell and filling it with foam. Unfortunately the teardrop design was unstable, and Glide Slide faltered as the 1973 oil crisis slowed the water sports industry.

Danny Churchill, quarter mile speed ski record holder in 1974 and former Glide Slide employee, bought the company in the wake of the oil crisis. Churchill redesigned the Glide Slide to make it more stable and renamed the product Hydroslide in 1976. Churchill is most commonly known for popularizing the sport through advertising and promotions in the newly released full color water ski publications of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

In the early 80’s Churchill sold Hydroslide to toy giant, Kransco. Kransco eventually decided do exit the watersports category. At that time Swimways purchased Hydroslide and moved production to Virginia Beach, VA, where they made the rotomolded kneeboards until December of 2001. Swimways sold the Hydroslide brand and all related molds and assets to Nash Manufacturing. Shortly thereafter, Nash began manufacturing kneeboards in Fort Worth, TX. Nash expanded the Hydroslide brand to include many other categories of watersports items beyond just Hydroslide kneeboards. In September of 2017 Motion Watersports bought the Hydroslide name and related assets, adding the brand to the group of watersports companies.