Interviewee: Dennis Dusseldorp – Director
KEY PRODUCT FOCUS: Please pick the three most exciting boards from your new 18/19 line and tell us about them.
We put a lot of focus on the women’s segment of our line for the 18/19 season and have updated most of the women’s shapes to 3rd generation 3BT and added two new models; the Spirit and Storm.
We updated the outline on our best selling women’s board and added 3rd generation 3BT with Sidekick to emphasize the beloved features of the FEELBETTER. It’s a friendly and forgiving board, yet there for you when you need it. Riders of all experience levels will progress with confidence thanks to its soft flex and catch free characteristics. Why feel good when you can FEELBETTER?
The SHE.W has been a team favourite since its introduction. We’ve added 3rd generation 3BT with patented Sidekick and completely upgraded the construction with our C.S.T. core upgrade; a hollow carbon tube milled into the underside of the woodcore for extra pop and performance. The SHE.W feels most at home in the park and is able to tackle everything you throw at it, be it small jibs or big jumps.
New 1819 is the Bataleon Storm. Having followed women’s snowboarding closely the past years, we noticed an increased number of women charging the whole mountain and wanted to build a suitable board for them. Featuring an all new woodcore with a carbon tube milled into the core and a precured carbon layup for added stability and precision riding on edge. This board is going to take women’s snowboarding by storm!
Construction. This is the place where you can talk to us about the new ingredients in your boards, and how you are building differently. We’re interested in anything new in inserts / edges / cores / sidewalls / glue / wood types / base material etc here.
We have updated 80% of our woodcores this season. We have increased the responsiveness and riding dynamics by strategically placing hollow carbon tubes inside the woodcore. This unique technology allows us to target different riding characteristics and get the most out of our boards.
On top of that, we developed a technique in which we pour our sidewalls into the woodcore before the core is milled on a number of models increasing the bonding for a more accurate sidewall/core connection.
Where are you building, what factory in what country? No wrong answer here. What makes this production facility the best solution?
We design all our boards in Amsterdam and test our products with the team at the BATALEON MOUNTAIN LODGE in Austria where we have a unique terrain to test our products and inventions right at our doorstep. We currently produce boards at the SWS facility in Dubai and at the brand new TITAN facility in China. Both are great to work with and ready to take on every challenge we give them.
Which price point is seeing the most action at retail? Premium, bottom or in the middle? What do the people want?
We see that brands that have a real passion for snowboarding are gaining momentum and the end consumer recognizes and supports these brands more and more. It is becoming increasingly easy to get info online from sources that you trust (other end consumers) and innovation/passion is being rewarded.
It seems that pricepoints are getting stretched in both directions. More people are willing to pay premium for premium products. At the same time, we see a push for lower pricepoints, but we shouldn’t forget that when pricepoints are pushed too low, everyone from the brand to the retailer loses.
Bataleon has a loyal fanbase and end consumer that acknowledges our innovative approach and is willing to pay for that. We just released the SURFER LTD which retails at 1200,- It might come across as expensive but feedback and reviews prove that for the money you do get a board that unmatched. Higher pricepoints allow us to push the envelope of whats possible in 3D production. Our boards are more complicated to produce then your average flat board, but we still try to keep prices fair to the end consumer.
What people are willing to spend depends on how deep they are into snowboarding. Bataleons customers tend to be very committed, but we offer boards for every kind of rider including those that just ride a couple of days a year looking for a deal. This season we are introducing three ‘price friendly’ boards: the Spirit (womens all mountain), Chaser (men’s all mountain), and Blow (jib/park) to cater to that part of the market that doesn’t want to spend more than 400 euros on a snowboard. Of course, these boards are fully packed with our 3D shaping knowledge and will perform up to our standards.
Unusual shapes are gaining wider consumer acceptance. Doing anything unseen next year in shapes? Asym/double swallow/reverse sidecut/triple ender etc?
We could argue that all our boards have been “unusually” shaped since day one due to our clear commitment to 3D shaping. Outline-wise we have always been forward thinking. We do however refuse to sacrifice functionality to looks and we never lowered our standards to produce something just for the sales (read reverse camber) We prefer to start a trend rather than follow one.
We were one of the first to move away from the round tips and the Camel Toe (launched in 12/13) is a prime example of creating a board that appeals to a trend (shorter and wider), but works better than anything else that is in that trend. The Surfer Ltd we introduced last season is a continuation of that. It represents the pinnacle of 3D shaping and if you take a closer look at the 3D curved swallow tail you will understand that this took a lot of experience and effort to create.
We are stoked to offer a second Surfer model next season that will be priced at 699. On the other end of the price spectrum, we are introducing the Party Wave which is set at 399. The Party Wave is a short wide ‘fun for days’ board designed with our years of 3D shaping experience. It’s bound to outperform all of its competition with similar outlines thanks to third generation 3BT. The outline is just an outline. What really makes it work is the entire shape
We’re interested in graphic themes running through your line. What is your art department feeding you for next year? Flashy, muted, landscapes, patterns, photos, what?
Bataleon has had a integrated art department doing all the graphics since day one. We make little use of freelance graphic designers and prefer to keep our looks focussed and continual year after year which is what in the end creates a stronger brand in our opinion. That said the art work is always spot on. Danny Kiebert, our creative director, does a great job and we’re always happy with what he comes up with. It’s hard to pin a theme other than that it looks truly fresh and Bataleon all the way
What is your latest innovation in splitboards?
We don’t do splitboards. That’s for Splitboard committed companies, guys that really have a passion for it should get these sales.
What the hell can we all do to make more normal people want to snowboard again?
The best years for snowboarding were the years where it was still seen as rebellious, different and not something your/our parents would always support. This is what attracted the youth. I do realize that those days aren’t coming back, but I do see that the rebellious kids from back then are now picking up snowboarding again after their careers took off, families were started and finances allow it again. It will be these riders that will save snowboarding and put it onto the next generation when they take their kids snowboarding. We do have a responsibility to keep snowboarding cool, exciting and fun which shouldn’t be so hard.
I do believe competition formats should change and style should be rewarded. It’s really hard for beginners and average snowboarders to relate to what they see as ‘mainstream’ snowboarding.
Brands should continue to be creative with shapes and help make on-slope carving/cruising cool again. This will keep all the new snowboard dads stoked on riding when their knees aren’t. I really think this is a very positive trend and guys like Stefan and Nicolas at KORUA Shapes are absolute kings for pushing it. This type of riding is so much fun and accessible for everybody and great for our industry.
Resorts need to understand snowboarder’s needs and make it more accessible for families to go on a snowboard holiday (some are already really pushing for it so thanks for that).
Companies that do not have a passion for snowboarding should %^#@ off.
Learners and first timers need to be on quality products so they actually feel like continuing and not quit with sore feet and a bruised butts after a first time introduction lesson. Lets not try to produce the cheapest rentals possible and instead make quality ones.
What are your top marketing stories for next season? This will help us to put the focus in the right place.
3BT is the answer to making creative shapes that don’t compromise performance. New shapes on GW, Disaster, She W, Feelbetter, Push Up and Distortia. New models: Storm and Party Wave. Affordable Surfer, Blow, Spirit, and Chaser. 90% of our range is now upgraded to third generation Triple Base and we have put extra focus on our completely overhauled women’s range. We look forward to welcoming you at the Bataleon MNT Lodge to test the new line and help us develop our products.