In the intimate world of freeride and freestyle jet skiing, the advancement of technology has never had a more palatable impact. Lighter metals and hull materials abound, all with greater strength than anything ever offered by the original manufacturers. Aftermarket ski shapers and builders are marching forward well beyond that of what the OEs could have envisioned only a few short years ago. One such company – Free Form Factory Inc. – has been at the bleeding edge of this movement and recently opened its doors to The Watercraft Journal to reveal a partnership for 2017.
“We’re an advanced manufacturing company,” Free Form Factory’s founder and CEO Jordan Darling explained. “We not only create the technology, but prove it out on the water.” For those unfamiliar, Free Form Factory (FFF) designs and develops unique plastic standup hulls using a patented thermoforming process and proprietary materials. The hull pieces are then mated to an aircraft chromoly, TIG-welded chassis that acts as the ski’s substructure. The result is a never-before-seen modular freeride ski whose external and internal components can be interchanged exceptionally faster than any previous design. The plastics used for the hull and deck, known as HULKLITE is remarkably durable.
The manufacturer has been in business since 2014 , when Darling – then a 24-year-old graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology studying mechanical engineering and material sciences, first developed the idea of the modular design and unique hull material. An active action sports enthusiast (motocross, ski, snow, etc.), Darling first went to work on a prototype in 2013, as he witnessed the athleticism of freeriders surpassing the technology available to them. Although pleased with the prototype, Darling knew he needed somebody who could really push the FFF design to its limits.
It was at the 2015 Wave Daze event in Virginia Beach, where Darling befriended the Lawlor brothers, Brandon and Randy. The two were already established freeriders, having earned championships both domestically and internationally. The two immediately recognized the potential in Darling’s design and came to join on as FFF’s first Factory Team riders.
Since then, FFF has added Bryan Bourassa, as well as Danielle Lawlor and Skyler Darling. “It’s disruptive,” Darling declared. “We’re building something very unique with some very unique technologies. Our team of riders have been crucial to our research and development process. We use them to test the durability of our skis to see what breaks first and then improve on it.”
Now residing out of Sacramento, California – having moved to the Sunshine State in June of 2016 – Free Form Factory is also busy outside of the world of freeride jet ski development, fulfilling several commercial military contracts in the in-between weeks and months. “Our goal is to develop and prove technology that has never been used elsewhere before,” Darling commands. “We’ve got some new amazing, disruptive [there’s that word again – Ed.] products coming out in early 2017.” Yet, one major reveal Darling could go into detail about was Free Form Factory’s recent partnership with industry-leading truck bed deck system manufacturer Truckboss.
“I first talked to Kent at Truckboss at the 2015 Blowsion Surf Slam and then again at the IJSBA World Finals,” Darling recalls.” It wasn’t until I had recently gotten a ticket in California for driving over 55 mph with a trailer (a law which I don’t think exists anywhere else in the country), so I had screwed together a truck deck, for over my bed out of wood, in preparation for the 2016 Blowsion Surf Slam. The two then reunited at this year’s Blowsion Surf Slam. Kent was staying in the same hotel as us, and gave me a bunch of crap about my wooden truck deck. “There, Kent asked if I’d like to become Truckboss’ first dealer in California.” In addition to selling the truck deck systems, Free Form Factory is also building out Truckboss installers and dealers in Northern California for 2017, having become proficient in the various arrangements of the brand’s modular design.
Together, the two companies are aiming to change how freeriding is done by providing enthusiasts and professionals the up-most in technology buillt from quality materials, and providing most intuitive, inventive designs. When it comes to modern warfare, the name of the game is superior technology. He who can come to the field of battle with the superior equipment, more advanced weaponry and wield the most efficiency of time and energy will always reign supreme – and in the pairing of Free Form Factory and Truckboss, no two have ever been more poised for domination.
Cover image courtesy of Denise Knudson Photography