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Meet Kristian Rauhala of H2O Audio in Solana Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristian Rauhala.

Kristian, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
H2O Audio was founded in 2003 in San Diego, California just as a new era of digital music and portable MP3 players began to give people outstanding audio quality on the move. As avid watersports lovers, we wanted to extend that use to the pool and ocean. We now lead the field in waterproof headphones and iPod accessories, creating products with superior underwater sound.

The bright spark behind H2O Audio is Kristian Rauhala, an entrepreneur with a knack for turning his passions into businesses. A fervent athlete—mountain biker, surfer and Ironman triathlete—he knows a thing or two about endurance and watersports. And understands how high-quality audio can elevate your workout.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s been a bumpy ride. Along the way, we took an investment from a local Private Equity company Steelpoint Capital, and ultimately the people behind the funding started to affect the business. This led to a number of issues and eventually the company was closed down in 2015.

This is when I re-acquired the H2O Audio brand and assets and re-started the business we founded in 2003. We are now back on our feet and innovating a lot of new products. We love what we do and nothing can replace the passion and determination of the founders. Investor money is not always smart and can lead into many issues.

Please tell us about H2O Audio.
Designed by athletes for athletes, we originally developed H2O Audio products for our own use. Over the last ten years, we have perfected a line of waterproof headphones and cases guaranteed to give swimmers and watersports enthusiasts the best possible sound experience. We stand by them as the best on the market.

Mission: Some say music tames the beast, but we all know music helps you channel it. Runners and bikers have long recognized the benefits of training to music, be it to banish boredom, maintain cadence, help you relax or focus the mind. At H2O Audio, our raison d’etre is to design and build products that give water-based athletes nothing less than an exceptional audio experience. Your Sport – Your Music!

I’m most proud when I see random people using our product in the pool, paddling or surfing. We get a lot of feedback from our customers how we have changed their lives by bringing music to swimming.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would be more careful in selecting the partners and financing for the business. Many times, Venture Capital or Private Equity guys do not understand the business as deeply and/or are driven by other factors (greed!). I have seen this lead to some many disasters, not just in H2O Audio but many other companies too.

What keeps us going is the great customer feedback and the fun of developing something we love.


  • Our waterproof headphones start from $49.99
  • Fully Custom Molded headphones start from $159.99
  • Waterproof iPhone cases are $79.99

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Barry Paulk

    March 8, 2018 at 12:21 am

    Happy to see you back in the picture. I was one of your early investors with ThePasadena Angels. How can we get official information on the demise of the company for tax purposes?

    Barry Paulk

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