Fritz Walter: The man behind the umbrella

2015-11-12 06:00

BORN in 1960 in Walvis Bay, Namibia, Fritz Walter grew up with the sea on one side, the desert on the other and regular exposure to extreme climate conditions.

As a young boy, growing up with an adventurous spirit in a harbour town, his main activities were boating, fishing and diving. These foundational experiences formed his life, as well as the products that Woodline has become so well known for.

After completing studies in marine engineering, Walter headed off to Alaska where he worked as a professional fisherman in the Bearing Sea for two years.

On his return to South Africa, he was a self-confessed professional beach bum: living to wind surf, dive and cach fish. But then he got bored and ventured into the machine tool industry specialising in timber and metal fabrication.

Woodline was started by Walter in 1989. The company started out manufacturing wooden frame umbrellas with a staff compliment of two people.

The combination of marine life skills and a passion for engineering excellence has lead to a range of products and materials starting with the traditional timber centre pole umbrellas right up to the la-test addition of a marine range.

Apart from Woodline Shade Solutions, Walter owns 13 other businesses, which include Commercial Marine, Solar 2000 and Fish Technology.

He is also an avid cattle and game farmer.

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