Dryworld Industries co-founders Brian McKenzie

Dryworld Industries co-founders Brian McKenzie

BUSINESS BEAT: Dynamic duo keep heads (and feet) above water

Rugby pals make waves with waterproof athletic shoe cover

Anyone who plays outdoor sports in Greater Victoria has no doubt faced the soggy shoe syndrome.

Whether involved in soccer, rugby, baseball or other sports requiring cleats, the prospect of slogging through a wet field or competing in the rain is very high.

Matt Weingart and Brian McKenzie, longtime rugby players who work together by day at Rocks Stonemasonry, have spent many hours thinking about and discussing how to solve the problem as they bash and shape rocks.

Ultimately they came up with Dryfeet, a rubberized boot-style cover that fits over cleats and eliminates the discomfort and shoe breakdown that are products of playing in the wet. The concept came from cycling, Weingart says, adding, “Brian and I played for years on cold, wet fields.”

The partners developed the product between hammer swings, with the help of a manufacturer on the mainland. They’ve foregone playing this season to focus on developing their business, known as Dryworld Industries.

Gaining a licensing deal with a professional league is among their goals. Current clients using Dryfeet include players in the Canadian Football League and National Football League, NWSL women’s pro soccer league and Britain’s Aviva Premiership Rugby.

With their initial product having grabbed a bit of a foothold, the pair have turned their attention to other drywear products, such as a top that not only keeps the wearer dry, but helps lift them into a more biomechanically sound position. They’re also looking at drygear applications for baseball, football and running.

“We’re driven by the fact we’ve created something that benefits athletes,” McKenzie says, noting they don’t have many moments where they’re not thinking of, talking about or selling the product or idea.

Adds Weingart: “Our vision is to be the Apple of the sporting goods world.”

Dri-Foot is available at Spank-It Sports, Soccer World and online at dryworldindustries.com.

Downtown hotel a business winner

Condé Nast Traveler magazine readers have spoken and placed Victoria’s Magnolia Hotel and Spa on the 2013 list of 20 top hotels for business travellers. As part of the magazine’s 16th annual business travel awards, the Courtenay Street hotel tied for 10th spot on the list with the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg, Germany and the Hotel Deluxe in Portland Ore. Reader comments cited the Magnolia’s “great location, steps away from Victoria’s harbour,” its updated rooms and service that goes “above and beyond.” The Magnolia was the only hotel in Canada to make the list.

Harbour Air adds land-based plane

A new charter service called Tantalus Air is the latest offering from successful seaplane operator Harbour Air. Based at the Victoria International Airport, the airline’s newly acquired Pilatus PC-12 is an eight-person aircraft that will be used for land destinations across the Pacific Northwest. The bonus is, clients chartering the plane can also fly into areas with short runways and gravel landing strips. Harbour Air is marketing the service as an affordable option for business and recreational charters. See harbourair.com.

Cider farm open house set for this weekend

Apple Day and the annual harvest are being celebrated Sunday (Sept. 29) this weekend at Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse in Central Saanich. The free, family oriented event allows visitors to explore the orchard and take guided tours on the hour with owner Kristen Jordan. Visitors receive a glass of sparkling cider and entertainment from musical act The Sweet Lowdown. Tickets for food items and other beverages will be available to purchase. The open house runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2487 Mount St. Michael Rd. See seacider.ca

Who’s making waves around Victoria

Camosun College’s board of governors have elected longtime board member Marilyn Pattison as its new chair. Vice-chair since 2011, Pattison succeeds Kyman Chan, who served in the role since 2009 … With the purchase by Seafirst Insurance Brokers of Bob Lane Insurance Services in Langford, Shawn Fehr has been named office manager and will continue to specialize in commercial insurance. Scott Mennie has also been hired as a commercial instance broker … Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence director of operations and community engagement Andrea Carey has been seconded for a two-year period to ViaSport as director of ViaSport for Life. PISE staff members Ben Syme, Lindsay Player and Jodi Hensel will be elevated from co-ordinator roles to management positions.