Brand name: Kona Windsurfing
Interviewee: Joachim Larsson, Creative Director & Owner
Is it fair to claim the global SUP market has peaked? Will 2020 be the year of consolidation?
I think the market will go for rigid boards and the low price market will be growing. Expensive iSUP will decrease next year.
With events such as PaddleExpo, 2020 pre-books are on the agenda for retailers: what is your marketing story for 2020?
We have created and tested our design philosophy “Stability For Performance” so all our boards have both stability numbers and glide numbers. During these past 24 months, we have invested in the development and digitalization of the whole product portfolio. We probably have the industry’s most innovative and modern products within SUP-sport. The products are developed in our new 3D program, same as naval architects use for boats and ships, and can therefore already stimulate in the computer the performance of our boards. This foremost leads to more innovative products but also a significant decrease in waste from sample models as we can adjust the errors before producing the actual product. Our purpose in this technological investment is to grow and expand our business so people around the world can enjoy the great products of the highest quality produced by Kona to prices that match the market.
Which SUP categories are performing well for you? (allround, touring, race, waves, river, downwind, foiling…)
Inflatable and training/race markets
Inflatables VS Hardboards: is there a hardboard market for the casual rider or are hardboards the exclusive realm of core riders?
I think hard boards will be for people who will take SUP for training/race and this is the natural next step to go from inflatable boards into hard boards.
Inflatables: Which new technologies & models are you implementing in 2020?
We have created our design philosophy “Stability For Performance” so all our boards have both stability numbers and glide numbers. All our inflatables board are more optimized through better analysis then it comes to designing and shapes. The outcome is more stable boards with better glide performance.
Hardboards: Composite boards are now marginal as far as demographics are concerned. Though, they embody the performance SUPing. What are your latest refinements as far as high-performance hardboards are concerned?
As the paddleboard market is experiencing a significant growth, so is the demand for new types of boards. Proud and humble about our new range of Stand Up Paddleboards, we would like to show you our past years work to fulfill this demand: Numinous, Ocean. We would like to introduce boards made for exercise, aiming to create a new category within paddle boarding. This new range of race/training boards will take the market to a completely new level and address new riders from cross country skiing, bicycling and triathlon.
Numinous is designed to race. Specifically, for sprinting and long distance. The board fits any rider level with our broad range of sizes. The construction is a unique premium carbon technology using an Ultra-light EPS core. The shape is optimized for low drag and rider stability.
Ocean is shaped to perform. With a smart design behind a Scandinavian minimalist approach this board is dedicated to downwind conditions and stability in rough waves. The board fits any rider level with our broad range of sizes. The construction is a unique premium carbon technology using an Ultra-light EPS core. The board serves as Kona’s recommended one board Quiver.
Should the hydrofoil be seen as a bonus for the SUP market or as a threat, meaning cannibalism of its own audience?
No, it´s good that the product range grows into new areas.