It was a beautiful sunlit day on the beach in San Diego. Long-time friends, Wes Horbatuck and Greg Orfe, lived to play in the water. Wes’s favorite watersport was surfing, Greg’s kayaking. That’s why they were at the beach. Except it was one of those “change of seasons” days in October—too cold for boardshorts, too warm for a wet suit. And that dilemma was the very beginning of their company, Driftline, and its flagship product, Drifties.
Drifties are the premier 2-in-1 boardshorts made with a specialized inner liner of wetsuit material and a stylish outer shell of polyester for watersport athletes, whether they prefer surfing, swimming, wakeboarding, paddleboarding or kayaking. The .05 neoprene liner keeps the athletes warm and comfortable, and it stays securely in place to protect “the boys” from chafing.
- For surfers, that half-millimeter cushioning prevents inner-thigh rash when you’re gripping your surfboard.
- For wakeboarders, the fit of the soft neoprene allows you to pop-up without exposing those (ghastly) ghostly upper thighs. Also, the outer shell moves smoothly across the neoprene so that there is no need to keep pulling it down.
- For those into paddle sports, the cushiony half-millimeter of buttery soft neoprene prevents “kayak butt” from the hard plastic seat. Also, it also protects from the chafing that can occur when sitting in a few inches of water for a time.
Driftline products are imagined and designed in San Diego by a team focused on technical innovation, bodily comfort, and athletic functionality and who employ sustainable resources and eco-conscious suppliers and manufacturers. Their shipping and packing materials (kraft mailers, hangtags, and handwritten insert cards) are made from 100% post-consumer recycled material. The kraft mailers are reusable due to the secondary adhesive strip for resending.
- Built-in 0.5mm neoprene liner
- Outer layer made of quick-dry, 4-way stretch fabric
- DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating that repels water, oil, grease and dirt and keeps wet fabrics from clinging to your skin
- Laser cut ventilation holes for breathability
- Silicone-dipped drawstrings
- Neoprene gusset and outer fly
- YKK rubber-coated zipper
Wes is a lifelong water “water bug” from a childhood in Groton, CT, where he learned to swim and snorkel, As a teen, he learned to surf and wakeboard and competed in regattas. Later, he worked summers as a watersports instructor. Greg was introduced to watersports later in life, when he was hired as a kayak tour guide, but he loved the water as much as Wes.
The two met as roommates at Elon University-Martha and Spencer Love School of Business with Wes studying finance and Greg strategic communications. After graduation, Wes went to New York University for an MBA, and Greg went to work in Washington, DC. Coincidentally, they both moved to San Diego, where Greg earned a graphic design degree from San Diego City College.
When they founded Driftline, the two friends found they made great business partners. According to Wes, he lives “in the clouds” jumping ahead to future projects, and Greg’s more pragmatic personality brings Wes back to the here and now and what needs to be done.
Wes and Greg began the process of finding a designer who would refine their idea, applying for a patent, finding a suitable manufacturer, and selecting colors and designs that would appeal to customers. They then tested Drifties on cool tropical mornings, in chilly East Coast waters, and on late summer days in Southern California and received rave reviews.
San Diego was a perfect launching pad for their marketing plan. Every weekend, there was a water-related event where potential customers could see Drifties in action. Until COVID-19 shut down all the events. Then they began an aggressive marketing campaign on Facebook, primarily targeting the two communities they knew best: Groton and San Diego.
Driftline in the News
Drifties were featured in Forbes Magazine Summer Gear Guide: Menswear & Grooming For Summer 2020 as innovative boardshorts that go “from a morning swim to an afternoon lunch date for athletes who live an on-the-go lifestyle.”