- Published on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 20:34
- Written by Super User
When Rachel Westphal developed her first PeacePad™, the Midland, Michigan Native was not much different from her peers. She was a 16-year-old near earning her driver's license, who enjoyed spending time with her friends and on the ice.
Rachel started figure skating at the age of five, and entered her first United States Figure Skating Competition within a year. Behind all of her beauty and grace, she also had the exceptional athleticism and brute determination it takes to be a competitive figure skater.
At age 11, Rachel suffered an impact related hip injury that sidelined her from the sport for more than a year.
These types of injuries in the sport are common, as skaters are working on the complex moves and jumps figure skating is known for. Athletes can and do fall from 4-5 feet in the air, at speeds of 10-15 miles per hour, wearing thin costumes and nothing additional for protection.
Her injury and time on the sidelines prompted Rachel to seek out safety gear that would enable her to practice new skills fearlessly, and with reduced risk of injury.
"We tried everything from bubble wrap to foam pads from other sports," Westphal said. "but none of them gave the flexibility and performance that a skater needed."
One evening at the dinner table, she asked her dad, an Engineer, about making a figure skating specific pad, with better performance than what she could find.
"That was the idea that got the whole thing rolling", notes her father.
Rachel got took this conversation from an idea to a plan, and is now the CEO of a large corporation. LiveKuhn® (meaning "Live boldly") and PeacePads™ were born.
She borrowed against her college savings and designed a pad that flexes with the skaters' muscles, fits comfortably and does not interfere with the athletes' performance.
It took a year of testing ideas and materials to perfect the design for hip and tailbone pads using a unique space age material that absorbs more than 97% of impact shock. This material is custom formed into molds designed by computer modeling specifically to fit a figure skater's body, and is the same material used on the International Space Station.
Rachel's products are all made in the USA, keeping the production local is something she feels is important.
"I want to help other skaters by giving them a product that really works," Rachel said, "while at the same time making it cool to be safe."
She has already made big impacts on the sport, with sales of the product reaching from the United States to Australia. The use of PeacePads™ have even expanded into other sports including Horseback riding, Skateboarding, Longboarding, Motocross, Mountain Biking, Skiing and Freestyle.
For more information on Rachel's pads, visit www.livekuhn.com or on Facebook at: facebook.com/Livekuhn.