Michaela Anderson and the Aqua Weed Stick
If you’re a boat owner you’re no stranger to this scenario…
It’s been a long, enjoyable, day on the water and all you want to do is get the boat on the trailer and head home to relax. But as you pull out of the water you see that the entire trailer is covered in weeds.
State regulations are continuing to grow stricter as more emphasis is placed on stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species like Eurasian Milfoil. Boaters are spending more time at the ramp just trying to make sure every last weed is off their boat and trailer before leaving and that typically means climbing under your boat in a wet, dirty, parking lot to reach those impossible to get-to areas on your rig.
Champions Tour Angler Michaela Anderson described this exact scene as she recounted one cold, rainy day at the ramp in which it took her over an hour to properly remove all the vegetation from her boat and trailer.
Climbing back into her truck, wet, dirty, exhausted, and frustrated, she had finally had enough. “That was the day that I was driving home and thought there just has to be a better way to get weeds off your boat and trailer.”
After getting home and recruiting her now fiancé Justin Kofoed, an engineer, the two got to work and the idea for the Aqua Weed Stick was born. “We just wanted people to be able to focus on the fun of being on the water and not have to worry about the process of cleaning their boat off,” said Anderson.
The prototyping process began in late 2017 and Anderson purchased a 3D printer to help speed the process up. The ability to instantly change designs and rapidly produce new models was key in the testing phase of the Aqua Weed Stick and by early 2018 Anderson had a couple working prototypes to test on real weeds. “Our biggest time snag was starting this process so late in the year, during the winter we didn’t have the opportunity to really test our designs on real weeds so once spring rolled around we were really able to find a prototype that worked well.”
Once the product was ready, Anderson and Kofoed had to get a business established, something neither had ever attempted. “It was definitely a process learning all new things about how to actually get a business set up,” Anderson recounted. “Neither of us knew anything about it beforehand so lots of Googling and reaching out to different resources for help to really understand the process of how it all works.”
They also went through the patent process which was another completely new experience and their biggest obstacle. But after nearly seven months the patent was finally submitted in June of 2018. “We actually wrote our own patent so that took a lot of research and time learning from different resources like podcasts, YouTube videos, you name it, we even ended up at the library checking out books on how to go through it all.”
By the end of July, with rigorous testing completed and a product in hand that she was happy with, Anderson took to finding a manufacturer that could bring the Aqua Weed Stick to life. “We wanted to go with injection molding to make sure that we had a product that was durable and would last through the abuse it would take banging off trailers, riding around in the back of trucks, and being dropped on the landing.”
As September rolled around, the business side was complete, and inventory was ready to be bought, the Aqua Weed Stick officially launched. “We were really excited to bring the product to market at the end of the season in 2018 here in Minnesota and get some photo and video of the product in action.”
Now in their first full year of business, Anderson has focused on spreading awareness about her new tool, attending sport shows across the Midwest as well as meeting with local counties and lake associations to try and partner up to make saving local waterways and abiding by the rules an easier process than ever before.
“The general feedback has been good, counties and lake associations have been looking for a tool to help and people understand the need to remove the weeds and protect our lakes but it can be a pain. This product makes that process easy and that’s really what we are all about, making weed removal a quick and simple task that everyone can do.”
The Aqua Weed stick comes in three different models; just the head which can be screwed on to any broom handle or paint stick, or two different extendable models for easy storage and transportation.
The best way to purchase the Aqua Weed Stick is to go online to www.aquaweedstick.com, although Anderson is working on getting into local retailers as well.
You can catch Michaela on the Champions Tour this season and make sure if you see her on the water that you ask for a demonstration of the Aqua Weed Stick, a tool for every boater.