What better motivation for designing a product than really needing it yourself.
That’s the case with Chris Ryan.
He’s a surfer and like many other surfers and distance swimmers and divers, he suffers from surfer’s ear, badly.
The condition is down to extra bone growth called exostosis which traps water in behind the ear canals, causing infections.
Like Chris, some end up needing surgery and it nearly always does the trick.
Sadly for Chris, it didn't.
"The surgery in this ear did go well, then the right ear didn't go well, then corrective surgery didn't go well either."
He’d tried all the ear plugs already on the market and felt none of them was quite right, like many who complain ear plugs are easy to lose and are uncomfortable and totally block your hearing.
"I used to think that's only for old guys, didn't even try it."
But Chris is working with local experts to create a product to solve his problem.
Without any engineering background at all he designed a product himself, one he hopes will take the surfing world by storm.
"I had to figure out how to make sophisticated membrane that transmits sound but doesn’t let water in."
The product is nearly ready and he’s got a ultra-cool Kiwi teenage surfer, Luca, on board to promote them.
Chris hopes the product can help him carry on his passion well into his seventies.
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