December 8, 2022
  • December 8, 2022

Covid makes waters choppy for Lake Taupō start-up

By on January 17, 2022 0
Taupō Watersports James Kells demonstrates the jet ski technology they use, which they claim makes their jet skis some of the safest in New Zealand.

BENN BATH DOOR / Stuff

Taupō Watersports James Kells demonstrates the jet ski technology they use, which they claim makes their jet skis some of the safest in New Zealand.

A Taupō startup hoping technology will give them an edge over the water has found that Covid-19 can take and give.

It swept their customers away, just a month after launching their first business, Doughboats Lake Taupō in 2019.

He also handed them Adam Dooly, their partner in the new jet ski venture Taupō Watersports.

Dooly, originally from Washington DC, worked with couple James and Laurel Kells on their Doughboys business.

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When Covid closed the border gates, it also kept Dooly – who has nearly a decade of experience in the water sports business – in the country.

He was a natural fit to join their latest company.

Laurel, a nutritionist, said she and her engineer husband, James, came up with the idea of ​​starting a tourism operation almost a year before Covid-19 emerged.

“We naively got into tourism,” she said.

“We ran the business for a month, three weeks, before Covid hit. We didn’t even get off the ground.

She said once Auckland’s last lockdown ended, they saw an immediate upturn in business, prompting them to double down on their stint in the tourism sector by launching the jet ski business.

Key to this decision was the discovery of safety technology which the trio say makes their jet skis some of the safest in New Zealand.

Adam Dooly, Laurel Kells and James Kells, owners of Taupo Watersports.

BENN BATH DOOR / Stuff

Adam Dooly, Laurel Kells and James Kells, owners of Taupo Watersports.

Sitting in one of their ‘dough boats’, a small round electric-powered boat with a picnic table in the middle – they are the only ones in New Zealand – they hesitate to name the technology and d where they got it. .

However, James is happy to describe exactly what he can do for them.

“The hardware plugs into each jet ski’s computer, so we can always see where the skis are at all times, that governs the throttle, so we can control the skis at all times, we can also create a geofence,” he said.

“We control the speed of the skis, even if someone presses the accelerator hard, they will still go well and slowly [when moving into the lake from the Marina].

“I never wanted to start a jet ski business without this kind of technology.”

They said he had to pass Maritime NZ first, getting the all-clear before allowing them to take on the water.

“These are the safest jet skis on the lake,” Laurel said.

Although they admit that Covid-19 has made their launch more difficult than they would have liked, they are convinced that they are well placed for the future in a place that Laurel, like Dooly from the United States , said love.

“When Covid hit Immigration NZ extended my visa,” Dooly said.

“I was like, why come home?”