SHOCKWAVE Marine Suspension Seating 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 led to the Marine Suspension and Shock Mitigation technology found in all of our products today.
In the years since, Professional Components has designed and manufactured safety equipment for a range of different applications, including ambulances, buses, submarines, boats, and other marine products such as weather buoys. With each new challenge, our capacity and understanding of marine safety has evolved, taking us toward new and innovative uses for our products.
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.
The success and speed of that initial journey couldn’t be ignored. Dave realized he’d developed something that could have a serious impact on the marine safety industry while also changing what was possible on the water – and so he focused his energy into designing the next phase of SHOCKWAVE Seats.
Over the years we have developed products for a range of uses, but they are all focused on marine safety and protection from the shock of wave impact. We supply the US Navy Seals, Canadian Coast Guard, German Special Ops and several other elite marine and safety organizations around the world. The SHOCKWAVE S5 is our newest product and is designed to bring our military grade products into the recreational market, providing unmatched marine suspension and safety to boaters of all distinction.
All of the lessons learned in NASCAR led to the development of the SHOCKWAVE Marine Suspension Seating, where we’ve combined the skill and experience with innovation and a commitment to safety.
We deal directly with the best suppliers in the world, including FOX Defense Engineering who provide us with shock absorbers specifically designed for a marine environment. All of our materials exceed military standard and we manufacture our products at our facility on Vancouver Island, Canada. We use the best performance seating and upholstery from famed Harley Davidson seat manufacturer, Corbin, for the SHOCKWAVE Corbin2 – and we work with the best boat builders and designers to find unique solutions for all marine requirements.
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 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.
The best way to understand how marine suspension products respond in extreme conditions is to test them in real world environments. In 2010, at the behest of adventurer Bear Grylls, SHOCKWAVE Marine Suspension Seating founder, David Smith, set off on an adventure that would not only prove his product, but also set records along the way and change what is possible on the water.
At the time of the adventure, Grylls was looking for a boat that could support his team as they navigated through the Northwest Passage. It promised to be a rough section of water and he’d heard about a unique Canadian company that was doing interesting things with marine suspension. He contacted Smith and asked if he’d be willing to ship a boat to the Arctic for this treacherous journey. At the time, David was just finishing development of an Integrated Control Environment (ICE) and was eager to prove his product in real world conditions.
Instead of shipping the boat north, Smith chose to bring an ICE-equipped boat to St. John’s, Newfoundland, and then travel up into the Arctic Circle to meet Grylls and his team in person. It was a dangerous and ambitious mission. He refit a 22-foot, open-hull RHIB with an ICE module and modified the hull and bilge to carry extra fuel – and he was going to have to travel through ice, fog and fast moving tides.
Dave and a small crew set off from St. John’s, Newfoundland and almost immediately ran in to trouble. The fog came in heavy and the ice floes were moving fast – and unpredictably. But the ICE performed perfectly and the team was able to race through the danger with only a minimum of stops along the way to Pond Inlet.
Once Dave reached the destination, Grylls encouraged him to keep going – all the way around Alaska, through the Bering Sea and down the Pacific Coast of Canada. Always up for an adventure, he set off from Pond Inlet and travelled the entire way around, completing a navigation from East to West coast of North America through the Arctic Circle – something he attributes to the durability and capacity of the SHOCKWAVE ICE.
The Northwest Passage journey was a true proof of concept. No one at the time had ever considered doing what Smith had done – and he was wildly successful. Following the journey, there was no doubt that Marine Suspension was an important next phase for marine safety. The ICE and other SHOCKWAVE Marine Suspension Seating products were adopted by the US Navy, Coast Guards and countless other organizations who work to increase mission capacity while providing better support and safety for their crews.