Spank Industries Founder talks about his incredible journey, from surfing in South Africa to building an MTB component dynasty in Taiwan.
First things first…
I’m Gavin Michael Vos, President of Spank Industries and Fratelli Industries. I’m from South Africa, and have been living in Taichung for 20 years.
How did you first become involved with the MTB industry?
Actually, I started BMX racing as a kid. I got out of that at about the age of ten when I got heavily into surfing. Surfing led me to retail sales work in the watersports and outdoor pursuits arena. One thing led to another and we had the windsurfing industry crash in the early 80’s, mainly due to the rigs becoming too expensive. Following this, a lot of the windsurfers went over from sailing to triathlon, that was when triathlon had just started budding. At the time I was working for a lifestyle sports store called Beachbreak and we started up a bicycle division that was selling triathlon wetsuits and time-trial bikes. This led to building a bike workshop in order to service the products. Then, in 1987, I bought an 18-speed ‘fat tire’ off-road bicycle that was on display at a booth at a surf retail show in USA. I thought, „Hey, cool, a big BMX bike with gears!“