"I have a young daughter who loves to ride ski biscuits, and I water ski myself, so I know how vulnerable you feel when you are out on a busy lake waiting for a boat to pick you up. The majority of life vests are quite dark in colour, and are usually submerged when the wearer is in the water. The only visible part of a person in a body of water is their head, and even if the hair colour is light, it becomes much darker when wet, and therefore very hard to see. Given the speeds that watercraft travel at, there is a need for swimmers etc, to be seen from a suitable distance. I started to think about ways of improving our visibility on the water and figured that someone else was bound to come up with something that would help. Over time I realised that there was nothing being done to make us stand out on the water, despite being plenty of products available for land use.
I researched the market and finding nothing available to highlight someone's position in the water, I decided to design something that would not only make people stand out on the water, but would be relatively affordable. The hi-vis yellow-green colour has already been adopted in other safety clothing and in signs warning of the presence of non-motorised traffic, such as school zone signs and pedestrian crossings, so it seemed logical to start with that. When a swimmer is in deep water, the only thing visible is their head, and as caps are widely accepted by all ages and are often worn rear-facing, I decided to design a cap that would be suitable for use on the water.
The Oi Sports Cap is made from hi-vis, moisture-wicking, quick-drying, UV resistant material with retro-reflective detailing to make it suitable for use in low light or in the dark (although this feature is more for land-based use as you must not water-ski between sunset and sunrise). As it has been specifically designed for water use, neoprene has been sewn into the seam to allow suitable floatation so it will not be lost due to sinking.
The primary focus of Oi is to provide quality, hi-vis safety products that are aesthetically pleasing. I want to help keep New Zealanders safe, and understand that in order to do so, the products not only need to be available, they need to be utilised. I want all people, especially our children, to USE the products, not hide them away in shame.
By providing the opportunity for schools and organisations to use Oi products to raise funds, we are helping to meet the two needs of safety and fundraising, with limited effort.
It is my dream to see as many Oi Sports Caps on the water, as there are hi-vis vests being used for land-based activities."