We had the good fortune of connecting with Wes Horbatuck and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wes, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Have you ever had an idea that keeps peppering your brain no matter the place or time? As a born entrepreneur, ideas can come and go, but if you’re lucky enough, there’s one idea that keeps coming back to you letting you know – this is it. That’s how we felt when we had the idea for Drifties™, our wetsuit-lined boardshorts. It wasn’t us asking ourselves “how are we going to do this?” but rather telling ourselves “we need to do this”. As watermen in our own respective sports, it all started for us during a Spring surf session at our favorite break in San Diego. Warmer summer swells had begun replacing the colder winter waters, leaving us thinking about how to gear up properly. It was that time of the year where it was too cold for boardshorts, yet it was too warm for a wetsuit. Our unmentionables were the first to agree. We realized that these multi-season transition periods in the water are not only problematic for surfers here in San Diego, but also for wakeboarders, swimmers, kayakers, and many other watersport athletes across the globe. We tried every solution out there, but none of them seemed to offer the right comfort, warmth, or chafing protection. It was at that exact moment that the idea for Drifties™ was born – a specialized inner liner made out of wetsuit material, connected to a stylish outer boardshort shell – giving us ideal support and flexibility in movement. This two-in-one option fills the transitional void and gives watersport athletes a comfortable, durable, and functional piece of apparel equipment to help overcome the challenges ahead.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Driftline was created in order to redefine how men take on their watersport, while wearing our patent-pending wetsuit-lined boardshorts. A lot of active watermen (including our former selves) wear a separate pair of compression shorts (spandex) under their boardshorts or won’t wear anything under the boardshorts at all. We were sick of the lack of support, the constant chafing, and not being able to find warmth in the areas that needed it the most. So we took the time to create a product that had never really existed before. While we are really proud of our most recent Spring collection of Drifties™, what motivates us everyday is the innovation and creativity around the product itself. Obtaining a patent isn’t easy and we put in the time and effort to make sure that our Drifties™ would not only be something that our community would want to wear in the water, but also something we would be proud of putting our names on. While it took about two years to conceptualize and create our patent-pending wetsuit-lined boardshorts, the successes and excitement outweigh the hurdles everyday. While we are a young company, just passing the 1 year mark, we still have the same goals to innovate and take on the water one moment at a time. We have gotten here by dedicating time to our craft, focusing on our goals, and building a product that can speak for itself in the water. While Driftline is a small and nimble company that lives and operates out of a one-bedroom HQ, we have big ideas and have no plans to slow down.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Fortunately, because of how much I talk about San Diego, a lot of my friends and family have visited over the years. I have learned that when people visit San Diego, it has to be the perfect combination of localism, tourism, and relaxation. Let’s say they are coming for a long weekend and arrived on a Thursday afternoon – the first stop would be grabbing a beer on or near the beach. Amplified Ale Works is always a must because they have incredible beer and food, plus you can sit outside and get a view of the beach in PB. After that we would walk the boardwalk (when it’s open) and catch up while admiring the landscape. Undoubtedly they would comment “I can’t believe this is where you live.” Thursday night would probably be a combination of drinking local 6-packs while having a little beach bonfire. Friday would start off with a morning surf (in our wetsuit-lined boardshorts, of course). For surfing, I am very partial to North County as it seems to agree with both me and my board, plus the crowds are much less. We’d probably Surf Beacons Beach in Leucadia for a couple hours and catch up over a couple sets – then obviously walk to Coffee Coffee afterwards. No morning surfing is complete without a breakfast burrito, and since I am a self-proclaimed burrito aficionado, I would take them to Juanitas to start the Friday off right. Once we have eased into the Friday afternoon, we would head East for a mini-brewery tour for happy hour. The first stop would be Juneshine, since we did our Driftline Launch Party there, and their drinks are killer! The second place on our tour would be Helia Brewing, since they have an incredible Hazy IPA and they are great people who love to stay active in the water. The final stop is always a “this looks cool” kind of stop. We make it up as we go and it never disappoints. Friday night would be spent downtown because Little Italy in recent years has become one of my favorite places on Earth. Barbusa would most definitely be dinner, which allows for good conversation while eating incredible pasta. Post dinner drinks will be had at Born and Raised and probably followed by Craft and Commerce – both of those places are sure to impress even the New York and San Francisco visitors. Saturday Morning (while it may be slightly tough because of the night before) would be a hike of Torrey Pines. Yes, it can be touristy, but it’s also a quick and fun hike that ends on the beach. With the hike getting our blood flowing, we are ready for the day’s adventure of hitting up Everyday California for some Kayak rentals and cave exploration. Greg (Driftline’s co-founder) used to be a tour guide there, so it always feels even more local and specialized when we are on the tour. Since Sunday morning is the day they leave, it will either be another morning surf and burrito (this time La Perla) or it will be coffee and relaxation. If it’s the relaxation route, grabbing a coffee and hitting the Self Realization Fellowship in Encinitas is a must. It’s peaceful, quiet, and gives you a good taste of the spiritual side of California. Taking the trip back south, you have to take the PCH and go over the hills in La Jolla and stop at Kate Sessions for a quick view of downtown – it is truly gorgeous and a good way to end an epic weekend.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
When you start a business you will undoubtedly have to lean on some people. But as you lean, you have to ask yourself – will these people allow me to keep leaning, will they let me fall, or will they push me back up so I can stand on my own two feet? My shoutout belongs to my parents, my sister, and my girlfriend. From being a constant support system, to fill-in sales people at events, to literally helping sew some product when we were having issues, they have been there. As successful people in their own careers, I have learned incredibly valuable lessons from them about interacting with people, driving innovation, and betting on myself. They have listened when I’ve needed to vent, shown me strong love when I needed support, and shared in my happiness when I’ve had success. So my shoutout goes to them – thank you!!
John William Zack Miller Vativ Media