INTERVIEWEE: DENNIS DUSSELDORP – DIRECTOR
KEY PRODUCT FOCUS: Please pick the three most exciting boards from your new 17/18 line and tell us about them.
The Bataleon line is undergoing a massive overhaul for the 17/18 season. We are introducing 3rd Generation 3BT™ featuring SideKick™ tips, four new models, and several key shapes are getting updated. It’s extremely exciting for us.
The WALLIE is a new jib board designed with progressive jib/park riding in mind. The innovative WALLIE TIPS™ allow riders to be more comfortable hitting manmade obstacles in the park and street due to the turned up tips. A new JIB 3BT™ complements this board’s outline and give riders a wider, more stable centre-base, while the minimal side-base uplift will prevent edges from catching.
THE CARVER is designed with riders like me in mind ;-). We got inspired watching our team carving on the Camel Toe and wanted to take that to the next level. The CARVER has our 3rd Generation 3BT™ with the new patented SideKick™ tips. Combine that with responsive camber and a balanced flex, and you have one of the smoothest carving boards out there. Ride it aggressive and hard or smooth and stylish; it will be a ride to remember.
THE SURFER is our 3rd Generation 3BT™ flagship model. The 3D shaping is unlike anything you have ever seen on a snowboard. The Corvette looking nose packs some serious uplift and features the new SideKick™ tips while the swallow tail represents a 60’s Cadillac. If there’s a board that can make snowboarding feel like surfing it’s definitely our SURFER.
Construction. Using any new inserts / edge tech / cores / sidewalls / glue / wood types / metals / bases / other materials? Or are you using this stuff in any new ways?
Materials influence how a board performs but only to a certain extent. You need quality shapes, cambers and flex patterns to create a snowboards real performance. We source the finest materials available, and don’t mess with proven materials like our selection of high-end ISOSPORT bases.
We are now milling our wood-cores in house, which gives us the ability to create unique cores exclusive to our brand. Our latest creations are the CoreCore Light (Swiss Paulownia/Poplar with Bamboo Stringers) and our Reactor Light (Swiss Paulownia/Poplar with Bamboo Stingers along sidewalls)
Where will you build your boards, any changes? What makes this production facility the best solution for you?
There are only a handful of quality snowboard factories left. We have decided to utilize multiple production facilities for the coming season. By splitting up our production, our suppliers are able to give their full attention to a smaller segment of the line. We are growing quickly and must acknowledge that with that growth we can no longer produce everything in one factory. We have 100% confidence that both our production locations have the right knowledge to produce according to our high quality standards.
Where is the price-point that’s working the best right now? Right at the top, at the bottom, or somewhere in-between?
The battle to offer the lowest price only has losers and anyone that does not understand that should be locked up…
We do not offer any boards under €400,- and we make sure that everyone in our supply chain has room to develop, innovate and invest back into snowboarding. Each year, we see the sales of our high end boards increase, telling us we have an intelligent consumer that appreciates innovation, quality and understands that trying to save €50,- on a board can never be compensated on the mountain.
We’re seeing a lot of small, grassroots snowboard brands getting traction again. How does this affect your brand, marketing & positioning?
First of all, we think this is great. It’s what the industry needs as these companies do things different and look at snowboarding fresh. We still approach snowboarding as a small, grassroots snowboard brand because, in the end, we are. We only make products that we ourselves ride. We ride as much as possible and avoid getting involved with investors and non-snowboarding people.
We do sell a good number of snowboards these days and are really appreciative for that, but deep down, we are still same guys we were 14 years ago stoked to be riding gear we make ourselves.
What inspired your topsheet & base aesthetics? Where is the trend here – muted, flashy, photos, what? Any cool collabs/limited editions?
Rather than trying to follow or predict trends, we design our graphics how we think looks best. We like a clean aesthetic, but what really influences the graphics of a board is the vibe of that particular model. We put the board first and then fit the art to that model. 90% of our design happens in-house and we work only with a few trusted friends from the outside. We don’t use artists that have worked with other snowboard brands in the past as it is important to keep the Bataleon look fresh and consistent. When you see a Bataleon, it should be recognizable as such, even though our art is always evolving. Our mission is to continually present a solid line that looks better than the season before.
Shops are asking for a two-year product life cycle to help sell boards on price longer. Any thoughts on this, or featuring any carryover boards in the line?
I can see where they are coming from. We are strongly against discounting, as it does nothing but devalue quality products in the consumer’s mind. At the same time, shops, brands and distributors lose much-needed margins when discounting products. Margin that they need to invest back into the sport we all love so much.
A 2-year life cycle for products is an option, but it’s not something I see happening anytime soon unfortunately. It would only work if all the brands cooperated and we know that many brands are run by suits far away from the snow who want to see yearly growth on an excel sheet.
Brands should produce what they sell instead of overproducing and flooding the market at a discount. Brands should stop trying to increase pre-orders by offering huge discounts to retailers. It is all short-term growth and will slowly kill the core retailers and the soul of our sport.
With this approach, we’d sell 90% of the boards at full price and everybody would get a healthy margin. Then we could release something new every season that pushes snowboard innovation forward and not need a 2-year lifecycle.
Doing splitboards? What are you doing to push this segment forward?
We have been asked to produce splitboards, and I believe we could sell a few if we did, but deep down, we are not splitboarders. No one at Bataleon camps in snow caves or starts hiking before the sun comes up to get a line. We could pretend, but we don’t like pretending. We’d much rather have a cappuccino in the lodge, take the first chair and hike some side country close to the resort. Europe is blessed with amazing terrain accessible in and very close to the resorts. I own a splitboard and I carried it around for two years and never used it… When I need to get someplace difficult I bootpack, snowshoe or just forget about it.
There are brands out there with great passion for split-boarding and and we prefer that they get the sales in that segment.