“Shark Tank” is one of my guilty pleasures and has been since high school. There’s something about extremely wealthy people fighting over products that could make them more wealthy that fascinates me. And there was one product during Season 13 that definitely made me curious: The SUNFLOW beach chair. SUNFLOW promised a change to beach gear for the first time in years. And especially since the company claimed to have made $2.9 million in sales in a little over its first year and has a 96 percent satisfaction rating on its website, it must be doing something right.
The SUNFLOW chair has a couple of unique features. While lugging around your other beach gear like towels, sandcastle gear, and a cooler, SUNFLOW is easy to add on because it can be carried like a backpack. There are other beach chairs you can have on your back, but SUNFLOW does it with just a touch of a button (and folds back up easy, too). It can be a little intimidating the first time you do it, but once you understand how it works, it’s pretty easy to do and you could teach your kids to open their own. It’s also made with rust-free aluminum and soft fabric that’s difficult to submerge in water. That means if the tide suddenly gets high, your chair doesn’t suffer.
The SUNFLOW chair sits about nine inches off the ground. I found that a little low for my liking, but on “Shark Tank” the owners, Greg Besner and Leslie Hsu, mention that a chair that gets a little higher is in the works. One positive about being low to the ground? All the easier to feel the sand between your toes. I also liked that I was at the same level as my friend, who was lying on a towel beside me.
SUNFLOW’s beach bundle, which I tested out, has perks beyond the chair itself. If you buy the bundle, you get four other products designed to make your chair even more functional. There’s a sun shade that attaches to the top of your chair with a rating of UPF50+ and protects you from 98 percent of the sun’s rays — convenient for anyone concerned about sun damage to their skin. There’s also a drink holder attachment, so no more sand stuck to the bottom of your can or bottle after taking it out of the cooler.
Perhaps my favorite feature is the drybag attachment. I love to spend time in the water, but I’m always concerned about leaving valuables like my phone and keys that I wouldn’t want to get wet. I always think there is a secret agreement between all beach-goers that you don’t touch each others’ stuff. Otherwise, someone has to stand guard. It doesn’t lock, but placing my belongings in the dry bag gave me some comfort, of having my stuff out of sight and (hopefully) out of mind of anyone who would be interested in it.
And finally, the towel. It connects to the loops on the back of the chair so you can ensure it stays put and doesn’t bunch up when you sit. The towel is soft and lightweight, and I can tell there was some thought about making sure it wasn’t like your standard, last-minute-purchase beach towel.
Overall, the chair is functional and comfortable. But the one thing that’s difficult to overlook is the price tag. Compared to a backpack beach chair that runs between $30 and $45, the chair alone will set you back $198, and if you go for the beach bundle (which makes it all the more functional and enjoyable), the price jumps to $296, although you can buy the attachments you want individually as well. It’s hard to overlook that that’s a one-way ticket for me from California to Miami, where I could lay on a beach towel instead. And especially if you want to buy a SUNFLOW for the whole family, just know it’s a luxury item.
I think Kevin O’ Leary made the right choice when he decided to invest. If it’s within your budget, purchasing a SUNFLOW chair will make your beach day enjoyable without much hassle.