KTP with Red Paddle

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership  (KTP) is a partnership between a business seeking expertise and an academic institution, who supervise a recently qualified graduate or postgraduate known as a KTP Associate to work on a specific project that facilitates innovation, wealth creation and helps to embed a new capability within that business.

Disruptive innovation from day one

Red Paddle Co. were one of the first companies to challenge the accepted practice of rigid stand-up paddleboards (SUP), introducing an inflatable alternative in 2008. They have operated at the premium end of the inflatable market ever since and, inevitably, now face increased competition.

Red Paddle Co. initiated a KTP with the University of Plymouth to employ KTP Associate, Rudi Geraghty, for assistance in identifying areas of disruptive innovation that would lead to advanced, next-generation inflatable SUP products. This innovation would differentiate their products and create a compelling customer proposition by using enhanced materials, manufacture and design techniques.

How Red Paddle Co. benefited from the KTP

Red Paddle Co.’s key components were analysed, re-designed and optimised from the ground-up. Rudi developed a new, structured design process and toolbox that has been shared across the design team and given the company an enhanced, more efficient design capability. This capability has already led to a number of new and optimised components that Red Paddle Co. are currently taking to market.

The partnership was strengthened by the knowledge and expertise from the team of academics and access to the advanced facilities and equipment, which included SUP stability testing in the University’s COAST Laboratory wave tanks, paddle blade design analysis, and rapid prototyping.

“We have enjoyed being part of the KTP. Not only was it a chance to help a new graduate get vital industry and real-world experience, it also gave us access to a much wider set of resources and knowledge than we would have otherwise been exposed to.”  –  John Hibbard, Co-Founder and CEO Red Paddle Co.

How the University of Plymouth benefited from the KTP

Professor Roberto Fraquelli and Dr Rich Pemberton, academics at the University with a wealth of expertise, applied their extensive knowledge to solve current, real-world problems that could also be used as valuable learning material to inform undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

During his time as KTP Associate with Red Paddle Co, Rudi delivered on time-sensitive commercial products while introducing a new design approach and advanced analytical techniques to the company’s existing design team. His knowledge expanded greatly, reinforced with courses and training activities, which has strengthened his leadership, communication and team working, and enhanced his time and project management skills. The KTP has equipped him with a greater understanding of the commercial factors that affect new product development, which will no doubt benefit Rudi as he embarks on a design-based MPhil qualification.

The University of Plymouth can support your marine business

The University’s mission is to develop long-term, strategic partnerships with marine businesses to help with product and performance testing, workforce development, and ongoing research and development support – using public funds where possible, and student projects and PhDs to assist with the development of new products and services.

For more details on the case study above, read other KTP case studies and to learn how Maritime UK SW partner University of Plymouth could help you, visit