After struggling one day to maneuver his kayak to a dock at Osgood Beach in Salem last summer, Carter Lamb of Marblehead finally stood up and paddled ashore.
The 8-year-old saw it as a simple solution. And as his parents and family friends watched from the beach, they saw it as a revolutionary idea: a lightweight hybrid of kayak and stand-up paddleboard, made just for kids.“We’d call it the Kypad,” said Carter’s father, Gunner..
Later that day, Lamb searched the Internet along his wife, Kristen, and Patricia Cregier, a Salem resident and friend of the Lambs who was also at the beach with her children. They couldn’t find anything like their idea online.
“Clearly, we were onto something,” said Cregier.
The trio started working to develop their product, and met with board manufacturers who could execute their plans.
“We researched materials, worked on a logo, met with attorneys, [and] created a prototype,” Cregier said.
They eventually launched Kypad Inc. with Gunner and Kristen Lamb as owners and cofounders and Cregier as chief executive, president, and cofounder. They partnered with Jen LoMedico, a Marblehead native and mother of three who lives in Orlando. LoMedico, now the vice president of operations at Kypad, was one of the architects.
This past January, Kypad introduced its first board at the Surf Show in Orlando. Cregier described the feedback as overwhelmingly positive, with a level of interest greater than they could have imagined.
But aside from creating a new product, the team sought to accomplish something bigger. Most of their children have dyslexia, a developmental disorder that often makes it difficult to read, write, or learn the same way as others at school. The Kypad team wanted to create something that kids of all ages and abilities could enjoy.
“It is truly dynamic and unique, in that any child can use this board,” Gunner Lamb said. “Whether they are physically or mentally challenged, just afraid, insecure, or a super athlete.”
According to the company, the boards are lightweight, about 10 to 12 pounds, and easy for kids to carry and transport. Each board has a seat and footwells and can be used while sitting or standing, making it suitable for a child of any ability. An attached coiled leash can be strapped to the child’s wrist for safety. Kypads are made from a very high-density foam and fiberglass for durability and to prevent leaks.
The company’s ultimate goal is to be able to donate a portion of its proceeds to organizations such as the Dyslexia Foundation, and bring awareness to that organization’s programs. In the meantime, the team is working with vendors and distributors to get the Kypad on the market.
“The Little Harbor Boat House in Marblehead has embraced us because we are a small local company. They will be selling and renting our boards this summer,” said Gunner Lamb.
The boards will sell for $899 or $999, depending on size, and are available to preorder at Kypad.com, or by contacting Gunner Lamb directly at info@Kypad.com. The team said it is looking forward to what is ahead, and are excited to see Kypad grow.
“Our greatest hope is that the easy maneuvering of this unique board will foster a sense of independence and strength in every child,” said Cregier.
“Every time we sell a board we think of our own kids, because that’s how it all started,” added Gunner Lamb. “We’re really excited. It’s kind of a dream come true.”