Following a chance meeting with Virgin boss Richard Branson, UK product designer Ross Kemp was flown to Australia to test out his one-person motorised lifesaving craft with Bondi Beach lifeguards who offered some sound feedback ahead of the product launch later this year.

During his final year at Loughborough University, industrial design student Ross Kemp worked tirelessly on a design of a rescue craft, which was inspired by his lifeguard training.

“It was from that lifeguard training that I started developing my alternative to a jet ski, which would be cheaper, more sustainable, faster and easier to operate helping to conserve the lifeguard’s energy for the actual rescue,” explains Kemp.

His design, which he called Asap, is an electric motorised watercraft with a market both in the lifesaving and leisure industries. For beach life guards, the advantage of Asap is that it’s easy to launch and only requires one person to both operate and perform the rescue at sea.

When Kemp left university he didn’t just want to shelve the idea so alongside a full-time job as an industrial designer, he continued working on the Asap design. In a competition to win funding in order to take it to the next level, Kemp met Richard Branson who imparted some sound business advice as well as offering to fly him and his craft to Bondi Beach in Australia for testing.

Having further refined the prototype, Branson was true to his word and in December 2013 Kemp packed his suitcase and carefully wrapped up his precious cargo and headed to Australia for a five-week jam-packed tour of Australia’s east coast.

Starting in Sydney Kemp couldn’t wait to get to the famed Bondi Beach as he’d heard that with over 20,000 visitors, the Bondi lifeguards perform a number of daily rescues. If he could prove his prototype to them he knew he was on to a winner. Luckily on the day he was there, the testing of Asap was filmed by the Bondi Rescue TV cameras, which will feature on its hit program soon.

“Returning back to the UK I am still pinching myself that my Australian adventures were all real! I had loads of fun touring the east coast visiting everyone from the one lifeguard manned One Mile Beach to filming with the guys on Bondi Rescue,” says Kemp.

“We are now busy making the final tweaks to the design, based on everyone’s feedback, then aim to manufacture the first batch of products in time for Australia’s next summer.”

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