How a Bundy inventor came to rub shoulders with royalty
"THE thing we need as human beings is something for kids to do," says Bundaberg inventor Demetrias Rejtano as he reflects on his 2WheelBoard.
"In our generation, everything was balance.
"We had skate and surf boards and kids needed to be creative to make things happen on those boards.
"The next generation of kids don't really have something for them, and there's so many opportunities on this board."
That's possibly why Mr Rejtano says parents in the United Arab Emirates were so impressed with his recent visit.
The board is said to feel like a mixture of a surf board and snow board - while eliminating the need to find the correct terrain to use it.
The board's soaring popularity led to a royal invitation for Mr Rejtano to visit the Big Boys' Toys event in Dubai last November.
Out of 200 displays at the event, about 20 stallholders got to brush shoulders with Emirati royalty, and Mr Rejtano was one of them.
"The trade show went really good," he said.
"On the first day, the royal family walked around and no one else is allowed to walk around."
The royals, he says, are likeable characters full of personality.
"When they go to shake hands it feels like they're going to high five," he said.
"They all talk really good English and really good American English."
"They asked investment questions and where I'm going with the product.
"We had the rulers come and get our pamphlets, they have their servant buyers.
"They might want us to do a demonstration for them or a private demonstration."
When the concreter and dad dreamed up the 2WheelBoard he never thought it could lead to where it has.
"Nothing like that was in my vision," he said.
The enthusiastic inventor pioneered the idea two decades ago while brainstorming ways to help support his family.
When the NewsMail spoke to Mr Rejtano in June last year, he was struggling to keep up with demand for his boards and not a lot has changed.
The trip to Dubai, he says, has led to calls for him to even make appearances on TV - something he's putting on hold for now.
"Until I get my boards ready and product ready I don't want to do too much of that," he said.
"We went over there to find an investor."
"The plan for this year is to get an investor, get a new factory built and start selling to all those countries."
He said Dubai, and Abu Dhabi where he stayed with son Utah and partner Kelli Barlow, were stunning.
"It was amazing, it was a beautiful place - definitely an eye-opener," he said.
"It felt so safe, there was nothing to be afraid of.
"Everyone's happy and doing their own thing."
He visited the massive Dubai Mall, which was so big he only made it through one floor and a quarter of another in a day.
"You walk out and look at the Burj Khalifa, it just blows your mind how big it is," Mr Rejtano said.
The only downside to his adventures in invention, he says, is a shortage of Australian investors.
"It's a shame inventors like us have to go overseas to do something," he said.
"I hope I can keep going in production and hope I can make some jobs here.
"I just have to keep going."
Mr Rejtano says he's holding out for the right investor.
"If I want something I make it happen," he says.
"I don't know how it happens, but it happens.
"Sometimes you've gotta work to make it happen, and sometimes it just happens."