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About SurfMariner

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  • Birthday 05/18/1954


  • About Me:
    Started Van Staal Engineering in 1987. Created the first Van Staal reels in1993 ran the company successfully until 2001. Started ZeeBaaS in 2005 as a new surf reel brand with great success (THEN!) . Started 3-TAND fly reels successfully in 2010. Started the Subaqua spinning reels successfully in 2015. Sold the Subaqua spinning reels and Vonaqua fly reels to Zebco to add to the Van Staal brand. Currently started a new series of reels as the Visser Reels brand. Ready to launch Spring of 2020
  • Interests (Hobbies, favorite activities, etc.):
    Designing, Engineering challenges, Fishing, watches
  • What I do for a living:
    Managing my current company Visser Reels. New development efforts will be implemented soon for designing new spinning reels that will surpass anything I have created before. It will be the accumulation of more than 25 years of design knowledge that will be reflected in the new reels.

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  1. Time will tell if the new reels are what I am saying they are. As you well know it is a long road from concept to proven design. Many issues with the VR are not design issues, They are quality issues! Many times in China manufacturers take a short cut without the knowledge of the customer. I have a huge amount of experience with this and have stopped many issues in its tracks before they shipped those reels to the USA. We have taken this problem out of the hands of the Chinese manufactures since we do our own assembly and QC all parts and processes before they even reach the assembly bench. Regarding our exposure, this is a slow roll out, we are producing limited numbers and do not want to overpromise a lot to our dealers. Creating a lot of hype is not what our plan is now! After we get our footing, there will be plenty of time for that. The first production is already sold out due to pre-orders we have gotten. The other big difference is that I will be back permanently in Connecticut and always accessible to address concerns and fish hard myself hopefully with some of you! That will be fun and live the experiences for myself as well.
  2. Yes, the VR is also my creation. That reel certainly can be used to swim out to the rocks in my opinion. Initially Van Staal had to explain the new VR when it came out because they did not want to lose sales of the VS so they promoted the reel in a lower class than the VS. Regarding our new VISSER Reels, we will promote it in a higher class than the VS or ZB because of the way it is build, sealed and tested! I am fully confident that it will meet those expectations. Thanks for the great questions!
  3. Thanks guys I really appreciate the honesty and the potential support for the new brand. Like I mentioned I will be back in the USA for the most part and plan to make a lot of time available to see all our dealers and hope to see and meet many of you! A forum like this is great, but there is nothing like having a discussion directly with reels in hand knocking it around. ged asked the question about the comparison, I do not want to discuss too much negative details about my previous designs, some of you have invested a lot in those reels and we all know they are great reels. Lets just say that this is an new plateau, with higher speed retrieve ratios while maintaining power, lighter weight, easier to service and the ability to retain oil. Oil has a big advantage over grease, not only to lubricate the internals better, but also the insides stay very clean so service will be easier. If an seal does fail, then you will know that quickly.
  4. Basically it started with a clean sheet of paper, so the design is actually very different. from the Subaqua or VR. Different than the BM as well. Of course you will see some of my design hints to past designs. I guess that is kind of a signature. Many of the features are detailed out on the website with more details to come as the new brand evolves.
  5. Thanks very much for your response, Initially we will only service reels at our product development center in Connecticut. As the brand evolves and availability is more wide spread, we will certify other service centers. Regarding testing, These reels will be able to take the hard use very well, I do not think that I would build a lesser reel than the VS or ZB since they are also my creations. The new VISSER Reels took more than two years of development. I analyzed every aspect of the requirements and goals I set out for these reels. That does not mean that it is going to be 100% given how hard some of you use the reels. In a perfect world, Yes! But the world is not perfect, we can only strive to get there. So to answer this question, given that two brands can do pretty well out there! I am confident that our new reels are going to be the next higher level for performance and durability. I will be back in Connecticut in a couple of months and am fully accessible for anyone that is purchasing or plans to purchase or has tough questions for me!. We have a very talented group and we will backup these new reels like no other. The full service video will be ready around the middle of July! Right now it is extremely busy getting our production streamlined. Hope in about 6 weeks to show some videos of the reels working the surf. Thanks!
  6. This is Rob Koelewyn, If anyone has any question, you can get the correct information directly from me! I see a lot of speculation and much misinformation! Being the manufacturer I am not sure how much I can say on this forum, but you can contact me here or on our FB page. Thanks!
  7. Thanks Mike, I really appreciate that!
  8. Agreed, when I am ready, I will post it here!
  9. I am hoping that some of you might help me to find pictures of some of the early VS300 reels with a solid rotor cup from more than 25 years ago. I build them for a very special group of Surf Fishermen, that purchased around 35 VS300 reels, specially engraved by me personally with their names. Steve Campo at that time came to my shop in Fairfield to pickup all the reels I had engraved for guys like Guppy, Ben Russo, Stephen Weitzen and many more. I can never forget those early days building the Van Staal Reels and growing the brand. That group of guys plus many others were very instrumental in the evolution of the Van Staal reels and they deserve much credit for that. I would be very interested to see how many we can find. Any help will be much appreciated!
  10. I know this is an old post, I think that it is great you are comparing the two different generations. I see that you have one of the first VS300 reels. I am hoping you might help me to find pictures of some of the early VS300 reels with a solid rotor cup I build for a very special group of Surf fishermen, that purchased around 35 VS300 reels specially engraved by me personally with their names. Steve Campo at that time came to my shop in Fairfield to pickup all the reels I had engraved for guys like Guppy, Ben Russo, Stephen Weitzen and many more. I will post this question on a little later on the main forum also, it will be interesting to see how many I can find!
  11. I know this is an old post, in my search I just came across it, and I would like to take the opportunity to let everyone know that this coming spring I will have an new reel series out. More Information about the new reels will come near the end of this year. You can certainly PM me, however some things we need to keep very closely guarded for now!
  12. I have fished the reels of course, but have not cranked it under water. The reels have been tested and submerged for extended periods of time by Van Staal's test lab. I am very confident however since there is only one seal for rotation. all the other possible entry points for water have static O-ring seals. Craig and other fly fishermen's field testing gave me great feedback to tweak for improvements before it was put out on the market . Thanks for your comments about the FR35. I was looking for pictures of that reel because I am putting together an website of all my historic product designs from the last 25 years. I hope you will let me use those pictures!
  13. Wow, I just have to reply to this post guys!!! This is Rob Koelewyn, Yes this reel I designed more than 20 years ago. It was the first Van Staal fly reel I did. It was followed by the C-Vex, then Trydent, 3-Tand, Vonaqua fly reels and now the new VF series fly reels for Van Staal. Came back full circle! The Van Staal VF fly reel series is the absolutely best ever with its single seal to keep it fully waterproof, 4 ball bearings to keep it solid and super smooth, and best of all the drawbar drag system that pulls the drag stack towards the frame (like a cork reel), unlike all other fly reels that push the drag stack away from the frame. My newer designs all have the RK-Design logo so you can be assured the reel was designed by me. Thanks very much for posting this picture of the FR35 this means a lot to me!
  14. There is no deadline, but only one reel purchase is allowed.
  15. You assumptions are very close regarding the sizes. To clarify the special gears from other posts, there are no problems with the gears! it was a delivery issue I was referencing.