Suzy’s Sweat Shop was formed in 1982 by Sue Hornby. Sue paddled for GB in a number of disciplines; kayaking, single blade and expedition paddling, resulting in a range of experiences to help shape the products.
Sue started making her own clothing for competitions seeking to improve performance and comfort. This soon got noticed and paddlers started asking her if she could make kit for them – and so the Sweat Shop was born! It conveniently fitted around her competition training and work as a coach educator. One of the key products that is retained today are the Suzy brand pogies.
The birth of pogies… Previously paddlers had used a variety of solutions to cope with icy winter temperatures and the pain of frozen fingers - neoprene gloves, “crotch-less mitts”, Marigolds, even plastic bags. Sue had made her own neoprene mitts but was looking for something better. Then at an international event in Canada she spotted an American paddler who using pogies! Sue was quick to see the benefits – adapt the concept, design and was soon in production. Over the years the design has been refined – materials improved and new ranges added to the original “Forty Below”.
The range of products also included the famous Green Slime Throwbags. Working with legendary whitewater paddler – Peter Knowles – Suzy refined the first envelope style Green Slime Personal Throwbag – later adding the Target Throwbags - whose classic shape is now adopted by most brands. We are proud and pleased when paddlers come and show us bags that they purchased in the 80’s and which are still in use today (though we do ask them to check that the rope is still in good condition)!
Suzy on the River Thames near her home - using pogies of course!
About our Team
Sue Hornby is founder and still in charge! She has been paddling for almost 50 years and still likes to go out in a canoe or kayak on most days on the Thames in Molesey where she lives. Sue paddled for GB in WWR and Dragon Boat and has a fine collection of medals for her efforts. As a keen white water paddler, she was a member of the award winning River Fraser (source to mouth) expedition in 1981. She also led the first women's outrigger crew from the UK to compete in the Na Wahine O Ke Kai Outrigger Canoe Race. She now enjoys sea kayaking, open canoe, outrigger and just training on the Thames in a K1 or WWR.
Hazel Fisher does the hard work on producing the products! She lives in Cornwall in a fabulous cliff top house overlooking the sea near Widemouth Bay. Rocket (her dog) checks that Hazel doesn't work too hard making your pogies and ensures she takes regular walks to enjoy the sea air and views.