Robert & Jody JOHNSTON: Inventors of Paddler

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  • Tell us something about yourself, your background:

Jody and Bob Johnston are the parents of a son (Harley) who is diagnosed with autism. Jody is a former flight attendant who is extremely creative, always thinking of solutions to problems. Bob worked in marketing for 20 years before becoming a financial planner who specializes in working with families of children with special needs. Bob’s story:

  • Can you tell us about the product you invented with a brief explanation:

Paddler: Swim assist belt

  • How/Why did you start inventing. What set you off?:

Bob was speaking at an autism conference and Jody took Harley to the indoor pool at the hotel. Jody had always strapped a life vest to Harley for protection at his swimming lesson while the swim instructor used a pool noodle for support during his lessons.  She did not bring Harley’s life vest on the trip, so she bought a pool noodle at a local store. But it kept floating away from Harley in the pool. At Harley’s next swim lesson, Jody found a discarded life jacket, ripped off the strap and threaded it into the pool noodle. And, viola, she had a prototype! While using Paddler at the local pools, other children seemed attracted to it. And parents started asking where they could get one for their child. Paddler is developed for general market use. Paddler is the only product on the market that supports all four strokes (Breaststroke, Backstroke, Freestyle and Butterfly) without inhibiting movement while allowing the swimmer to “swim-roll-swim.” 

  • How did you get from idea to finished product?:

After considerable prodding, Bob hired a local patent attorney, and within one year, we had secured a patent and trademark. Bob developed a product pitch and negotiated a License agreement with an internationally recognized innovator in the swim industry. Paddler is licensed to Kiefer Aquatics, and is available through Kiefer, Amazon, The Lifeguard Store, and All-American Swim.

  • Website links
  1. Search: Paddler
  2. Search: Kiefer Paddler
  3. Search: Paddler
  4. Search: Paddler

–End of Interview–

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