In this episode of the Views From The Bus podcast, Bob Rief is joined by Tony Finn, the Founder of Liquid Force. Tony is one of the most disruptive and unique marketers and is virtually known by everybody in the global world of action sports business. 20 years ago, Bob met the stranger Tony and he is certainly the best example of openness, friendliness, and positive energy of anybody he’s ever known.

Podcast Highlights

4:00 – Is Tony the father of Wakeboarding?: “It’s actually not true because there were a lot of people wakeboarding before I started Skurfer. What I did do though, was we were the first people to successfully market a board that you stood sideways on behind a boat.”

7:00 – When Liquid Force became an idea: “Jimmy and I just started talking to each other because his red line design boards were actually better designed than mine. They were better than what Skurfer had to offer, but the thing was, he’s an artist and he wasn’t a good marketing person. So I sold a lot more than him, but I always thought his boards were really good. So me and him started becoming really good friends and we were just hanging out one day and we said, dude, we got to make this happen. “

9:29 – From failed marketing class to business: “So I had a marketing class at the time and at San Diego state and I worked super hard on this business plan to create the brand score for and marketed and everything. I made a presentation to my class and my professor said, this is the dumbest idea ever. This will never happen. What is wrong with you?“

14:00 – Wakeboarding vs Water Skiing: “I’d had a very aggressive marketing campaign where we ran ads in water skiing mag. There was no internet then. So I just went straight at the people and then some people would call and be pissed.”

17:21 – If SDSI was available during Skurfer: “if there was a SDSI or I knew some people like you or that I had better mentorship when I was like 22, trying to figure out how I was going to do everything, I could have done a lot better.”

23:40 – Using social media for speed: “Now you have an idea, you put it out in 15 seconds, like everybody knows about it. That’s one of the positive things about social media that you can get your message across like super quick and effectively.”

25:08 – Retailers working with Manufacturers: “Smart retailers know how to get involved with the right brands and they’ll help you promote your brand. And just like I’m telling all the manufacturers, you be nice to your retailers because they can do a lot for you and help them help you.”

28:35 – Developing product for cable parks: “We developed a really super cool product directly for cable parks. So basically it was like a snowboard on the water and that was able to keep them durable and hit all these obstacles. And that was what really grew Liquid Force into the number one brand in the world.”

33:30 – Starting on “I ended up getting on the advisory board at and working there in the sales and marketing department. And I really, really love it.”

40:18 – Advice for young entrepreneurs: “If you have something cool, make it happen. Believe in yourself, don’t take no for an answer and then be nice. Be nice to everybody, be nice to your customers, and be nice to your competitors. Then just go for it and have fun.”