Who are we and what do we do?
At Pontoon we are a multi-sport custom teamwear apparel company with our roots based in Rowing. We combine the latest innovative fabrics with a detailed knowledge of garment construction to create garments engineered for performance for Schools, Clubs, Colleges, Corpotates, and Universities. We cater for a range of sports including Rowing, Cycling, Paddling, Dragonboats, Netball, Martial Arts, Rugby, Hockey, and many more. We continue to evolve based on how we are informed by the performance of our garments and our customers feedback to continue to expertly craft team-wear and lots of other good stuff.
What motivates us? The Pontoon Philosophy
At Pontoon we are proud of our continued commitment to innovation, we believe this is the reason we have a legacy of partnerships with many institutions that have lasted over 15 years, including suppling Rowing NSW during their continued dominance of the Kings Cup and interstate regatta over the past 10 years.
We strive for customer happiness and satisfaction with our garments as our absolute priority and we welcome both positive feedback and constructive criticism.
We feel great pride when we see our garments on bodies of every shape and size.
We believe in promoting positive role models for children and adults and therefore ensure that our website and social media images portray a range of healthy and real men and women.
We design and create high quality customised teamwear, casualwear and sports apparel for everyone. Comfortable yet innovative.
What’s the story?
Initially conceived by Peter Willis in 1999 while rowing at Sydney Rowing Club, Pontoon existed simply as a way to make some pocket money by selling rowing suits to members of his squad, who at the time were fed up with the limited and expensive options found elsewhere. Soon after he would come to supply the club, as well as several Sydney AAGPS school rowing programs. Pete was soon joined by his brother Josh, and in 2006 Pontoon was incorporated and began as a rowing specific custom teamwear brand.
After the Willis brothers finished their respective rowing adventures and took on Pontoon full time, it quickly became clear to Pete and Josh that it wouldn’t be enough to be simply another rowing suit manufacturer producing basic rowing suits out of cotton lycra (the main fabric of choice of other rowing suit suppliers at the time). It was clear the appetite for more technical fabrics and innovative garment construction was growing as shown by the clear advances of sports like cycling and triathlon. This led Pete and Josh to source the first of many of their technical fabrics - Supplex Lycra. Armed with Supplex, at the time, the latest in fabric technology and a refurbished flatlock sewing machine they created the ‘Olympic Rowing Suit’ a single display only rowing suit that was shown at the 2006 National Rowing Championships in Lake Barrington, Tasmania. The overwhelmingly positive feedback and excitement around ‘The Olympic’ was clear, and the Willis brothers established their core philosophy to always be at the forefront of fabric and garment technology.
In 2008, after achieving success with their technical garments in Australia, Pontoon moved into the UK Rowing scene, with Josh basing himself in Putney in London for the next 4 years. Pontoon had quick impact, fulfilling orders for London Rowing Club, Thames Rowing Club, Exeter University, and Warwick University, culminating the in the supply of all training and race day kit to the 2010 and 2011 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. It was during this time the Willis brothers developed their online Kit Designer, a tool for customers to design and buy their kit directly on the Pontoon Website, as well as the Team Order Portal, a hosting service for clubs where they could set up their own club shop for garments to be purchased by club members.
In 2014 Pontoon began its expansion into canoe and kayaking, developing a pair of specialist paddling shorts as part of the wider range of team kit Pontoon exclusively supplied to Australian Paddle Team, it again wasn’t enough for the Willis Brothers to simply pass rowing kit off as paddling kit, and they committed to develop a specific range of paddle kit for the Australian Team, and paddling alike, this included Paddling Shorts, Kags, and Spray Decks. However it was in 2014 that Pontoon became a true multi-sport custom teamwear supplier with their first College and University wide supply arrangements, including the full supply of casual and sportswear for the University of New South Wales for all sports competing in the Australian University Games in 2015.
As of 2020 Pontoon continues to maintain the highest of standards when it comes to custom teamwear. Our intention today is just as it was when Pete and Josh started this journey together, with all of Pontoons’ garments combining the latest in fabric and garment construction, and innovation at that core of everything Pontoon does.