With over 25 years of personal experience as a fishing guide in Montana and Florida, Austin Lowder has spent thousands of days exposed to a diverse range of elements. Others may also attempt to make such a claim, but with Austin fishing and guiding are on a different level. Tom McGuane's article in the July 2004 issue of Sports Illustrated depicts Austin as a relentless, sight-fishing guiding master who braves the elements when many would simply choose to stay home.
These long days out in the wild have taken their toll on Austin's skin. Frequent trips to his dermatologist are now a necessary part of life. Wearing ball-cap style hats and hooded shirts have always been go-to’s before getting on his skiff or drift boat; however Austin still saw the overall problem as not being solved. In various combinations, his face and neck were still exposed to UV rays, biting insects, harsh winds, and ocean spray. There had to be a better, all encompassing solution.
Austin knew a well-designed mask could tackle all these problems, however it would need to be light-weight and comfortable enough to wear all-day long. Shortly after speaking with a few people in the outdoor industry, Austin decided that if he wanted to get a mask made correctly, he was going to have to spearhead the project himself. Thus, in 2018, Austin developed an early prototype and Riff Masks was born. After establishing a commercial product with technical design and pulling together production and marketing teams, Austin sold the first Riff Mask in July 2020. The purpose of Riff Masks is to ensure a future for outdoor enthusiasts working and playing in both everyday and extreme environments.