Sometimes finding the inspiration to start your own business can happen in the most unlikely places. For Fred White, that inspiration came from listening to a Joe Rogan podcast. Rogan talked about how much he loved “floating” and all the amazing things that come from doing it. He explained that “floating” was an experience of total relaxation in your own personal weightless environment where all five senses are free from external stimuli. You “float” effortlessly atop a shallow pool of dense epsom salt water, creating a zero-gravity-like sensation.
Of course, this sparked White’s curiosity and after trying it out he decided he wanted to share this experience. He started to talk to the company that built float tanks and how it could expand. He eventually moved up the coast to Venice where the company was located and partnered with Float Lab to to help it develop a tested and certified float tank. After a few years, Fred brought his tanks to San Diego and opened fl?t downtown on April 10.
Q: What inspired you to start fl?t?
A: I was receiving a lot of benefits from floating. It really aided with my health issues from being a college football offensive linemen. I suffered from many physical injuries as well as concussions and floating was and is a very important tool for me in repairing that damage.
I wanted to open the first float business that was in compliance with all health and safety codes and standards since there weren’t any out there. From my research the reason this industry, which has been around since the 1950s, has never been sustainable or a part of the popular culture is due to the fact that there weren’t any float tanks that met the city and state building and health code requirements. fl?t has broken this boundary and has set the bar for what a commercial float facility is required to be, by bringing the best and most hygienic float tanks to downtown San Diego.
Q: What’s the biggest misconception that people have with “floating?”
That it is going to cause a claustrophobic response, which it never does. Our float rooms are huge (7 feet tall, 5 feet wide and 8 feet long), well ventilated with medical grade air purifier. The tanks are so large that your extremities do not even touch the walls while you are floating and therefore the environment feels infinitely vast. Every person who has come in with concerns regarding claustrophobia, never actually experienced any feelings of claustrophobia during their float. In fact, many have said that they had to keep touching the wall to make sure they were actually still in the float room.
Q: If you were a superhero who would you be and why?
A: Jake or Finn from the show “Adventure Time.” Being either would fulfill my dreams.
Q: Besides floating, what are your other favorite ways to relax and relieve stress?
A: I love to train/spar Muay Thai and boxing and have done so for about five years. It’s one of the few things I do that puts me in the present moment and keeps my mind from worrying about the future or past. Ironically, for me it’s a very “zen” activity.
Q: Best part about doing business in San Diego?
A: SD is such a health-minded community that people are open to new avenues to improve their health and have a new experience.
Q: When floating, what’s your perfect album or artist to listen to?
A: Before I float I like to listen to some music that settles me down or I listen to talks by a few different thinkers/philosophers, such as Alan Watts. Since you float in an environment that is free from sound, I have no choice but to listen to my breath and my heart beat, which has been very beneficial.
Q: Three things you would take on a deserted island?
A: 1. A high powered telescope. Astrology has always fascinated me plus staring into space would be enjoyable way to pass the time. 2. Hopefully I could convince a woman to join me because I do not think a volleyball is going to cut it. 3. I probably should leave this one open for “her” if I want #2 to happen.
Amber Mesker is an entertainment and lifestyle reporter for DiscoverSD. She loves providing readers updates on Hollywood gossip, San Diego fashion and cool weekend events. You can follow Amber and laugh at her fun, crazy life at @ambermesker