INTERVIEWEE: DAVID SMANIA (PRODUCT MANAGER)
KEY PRODUCT FOCUS: What are the two most important boards in your 16/17 line? Why? Tell us about them.
Team and Guerrilla board are the most important boards since they are the ultimate pro choice. The Team is a really appreciated all mountain stick because of its versatility, you can land big jumps with precision in the park or slash the powder in the steep backcountry. The flex is an excellent compromise also thanks to the hybrid fiberglass. The Guerrilla is a real snowsurf, a never ending fun board. Its distinctive shape allows the rider to use a shorter board (quick and reactive) in the backcountry while keeping an amazing floating in the powder, it is impressive to see how it allows you to perform freestyle trick and at the same time to be precise in the steep slopes.
Are you using any new inserts / edge tech / cores / sidewalls / glue / wood types / metals / other materials? Or are you using this stuff in any new ways?
No, we haven’t had a revolution in this sense as we are still sticking to the traditional and best construction in wood-core sandwich. The main release is the introduction of the die-cut technology on the sidewall, which allows the vibrations coming from the edges to be better absorbed and gives more freedom of choice on the aesthetic side. We also introduce a new base, a fusion of extruded and sintered base that breaks the trade-off between performance and cost. This allows us to have our mid-range boards as fast as the expensive sintered ones.
Where is the pricepoint with the biggest demand for you? Right at the top, at the bottom, or somewhere in between?
It is increasingly becoming middle to high range. We are not offering super expensive boards, our target is also the heavy user and our goal is to provide performance boards at an interesting and affordable price.
Where are you building your boards, any changes from last year? What makes this production the best solution for your brand?
This year we decided to move the production from Asia and now we are producing all the boards where we were used to making just the high end boards in Tunisia. The production site is well trusted (more than twenty years experience) and all the materials are coming from Europe. For our brand this is the best solution since quality level is aligned with the European one, but we can also be more competitive in price in this way and the location is not so far from our HQ which is great for development, graphics and QC.
What’s new in rocker? Any different bends than last year? Where’s the demand at on this?
We are always evolving a bit on the cambers. Actually, it is a kind of recipe as you can put camber where you need pop and stability, flat where you want forgiveness and rocker for catch free. It is always a pay off between reactivity and forgiveness, but in this way you can find the mix that is perfect for you considering your riding style and level.
What inspired your top sheet & base aesthetics? Where are trends going – muted or flashy? Any cool collaborations or limited editions? Please provide details of artists & subjects.
We don’t stick to a particular mood, we are characterising the aesthetic based on the riding style (more flashy for park, more muted for the all/mountain and freeride). Anyway if we have to find a central idea, boards are more clean and sober. There isn’t any particular collaborations, except for the pro model of Kohei Kudo drawn directly by himself, because we have two great graphic designers internally in the product team that are good and passionate riders too.
Are you doing splitboards? Is this market increasing, decreasing or staying the same for you?
No, we don’t offer splitboards in our collection. For sure it is an interesting market for certain brands, but we still prefer to use the snowshoes and enjoy the ride of a one piece stick under our feet. The feeling on the torsional axe of the splitboard is still not at that good level and the flex is not so fluid with the steel in the middle of the board.