SHOCKWAVE is the culmination of over five decades of work.
Originally founded as Professional Components Ltd by David Smith in 1965, our company was created to develop, build and supply safety products for NASCAR racing vehicles. We focused heavily on chassis suspension and driver safety, which eventually led to the shock mitigation technology found in all of our products today.
In the years since founding, Professional Components has developed and built safety equipment for a range of different uses, including ambulances, buses, submarines, boats, and for various marine applications such as weather buoys. With each new challenge, our capacity and understanding of marine safety environments has evolved, taking us toward new and fascinating uses for our technology, with a spirit of ambition, excitement and hard work.
In 2001, David Smith wanted to do something he had never done before: travel from his home on Vancouver Island up to Alaska in a 24-foot aluminum boat he built himself. But there was a problem. Dave knew that the waters in the North Pacific would be rough – and his hard-bottom boat was likely to do a number on his back during the long passage. So, like every great entrepreneur, he worked to solve the problem.
Dave’s solution was to apply his extensive experience building NASCAR chassis to building a prototype SHOCKWAVE Seat for his own boat. With the shock mitigation technology in installed, he set off for Alaska at a record pace. He was able to travel so fast, in fact, it raised the alarm bells of the US Coast Guard, who eventually caught up with him onshore in Alaska, following an unsuccessful attempt to catch up with him on the water.
After explaining he was not up to anything nefarious, the Coast Guard pressed Dave regarding their next issue: how was he able to outrun them with all the technology and resources they had at their disposal?
It was clear from that moment that SHOCKWAVE Seats could have a serious impact on marine safety and exploration. On his return trip from Alaska, Dave broke all previous speed records, travelling the entire length of West Coast Canada – 450 miles from Prince Rupert to Nootka Sound – in only ten hours. He stepped off the boat at home feeling tired and a little squirrely, but knew he had something important on his hands.
All of the lessons learned in the past came full circle with the development of the SHOCKWAVE seats. SHOCKWAVE was back dealing with the suppliers who’s great components and innovation won them many NASCAR championships with some powerful new allies in the mix.
FOX Racing is the leader in off road suspension technology. SHOCKWAVE is the only seat manufacturer who deals directly with FOX Defense Engineering. FOX and SHOCKWAVE redefined off road suspension into a marine environment with special shock absorbers developed specifically for SHOCKWAVE.
SHOCKWAVE didn’t stop there they sought out the best performance seat and upholstery manufacturers in the United States. Corbin seats produces high end motorcycle seats for every motorcycle manufacturer from Honda to Harley Davidson. The most well known seat manufacturer on the planet. Add to that an eclectic mix of whos who from Speedway Engineering, BSCI Energy Management Systems and other top vendors.
Since returning from journeying over the top of Canada, SHOCKWAVE Seats has grown to become a leader in shock mitigation technology. We currently provide the US Military LCAC Assault Craft Fleet with shock mitigation systems that help make it the premier marine force in the world. We supply recreational boaters, marine organizations, and multiple militaries and Coast Guards around the world with products that allow them to safely push into new and exciting places.
At the end of it all, we remain a small company dedicated to marine safety and adventure. We constantly take our own products into some of the most severe open water conditions on the planet and trust them to get our friends and families home safely – a commitment we extend to anyone who uses our products.
Following his record-setting trip from Alaska to Vancouver Island, Dave and his team at Professional Components went to work refining and developing SHOCKWAVE Seats for use in military and recreational crafts. The goal has always been to keep them reliable, lightweight and cost-effective, while also providing the best shock mitigation on the market.
It didn’t take long for SHOCKWAVE to become a leader in the industry – and to get noticed by some of the world’s premier adventurers. In 2010, British adventurer, writer and TV star Bear Grylls contacted Dave with an idea to do something amazing: travel in an open-hull boat through the Northwest Passage. After some coordinating, Dave agreed to bring Bear one of his boats, fully kitted out with an ICE suspension unit. But rather than barging it up from the closest point in the north, Dave decided to leave from St. John’s, Newfoundland to meet Bear in Pond Inlet, thousands of miles away.
It was the truest way to test SHOCKWAVE’s ability – and the technology proved itself. Through harrowing ocean conditions, ice floes, severe storms and unimaginably rough waters, SHOCKWAVE Seats got Dave and his crew safely into Pond Inlet where Bear was waiting, overwhelmingly impressed with how the seats performed.
After using Dave’s boat for over a week of travel and filming in the Northwest Passage, Bear had one more thing to tell him: “You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t finish the journey.”
And with that, Dave was off to complete the full passage, over 8,000 miles from St. John’s to Pond Inlet, through the Artic Circle and Northwest Passage, over Canada and Alaska and back to his home on Vancouver Island – a trip that broke almost every speed record along the way. It was all made possible because of SHOCKWAVE Seats and years of development, testing, hard work and a passion for adventure.