Brand: Duotone Kiteboarding
Interviewee: Philipp Becker, Marketing & Communications Manager
What are the main trends for 2019 in the kiteboard market, in terms of board type (foil, twin tip, surf…)? Where have you seen the biggest growth so far in 2019?
The biggest hype is for sure coming from the Duotone Foil Wing. A completely new sport is created at the moment and the product development is fast. Therefor the Duotone Wing is offering battens and a boom to create a high performance sports product, not a toy. Also the foil market is still developing fast, maybe now also shifting a bit more from racing to freeriding.
Biggest growth for us is still on Kites, Twintips and especially Surfboards, the mass market so to say in our small industry. Still, first season the Foil Wing already sold 3.000 pieces, which is pretty crazy at this early stage.
What do you believe will be the main trends for 2020 in the kiteboard market, in terms of board type (foil, twin tip, surf)? Where do you expect the biggest growth in 2020?
Kitesurfing itself still or again seems to be pretty trendy, many other consumer brands again trying to use kiteboarding as their image tool. Also it’s gonna be Olympic. Product wise we’re having a lot of focus on materials, to get customers even earlier on the water, making gear even lighter without compromising on durability. The Duotone Juice is a great example in this direction. Regarding Twintips we introduced the Ultra Spike Textreme, the ultimate light wind weapon. Looking at surfboards, the newest and absolutely fun to ride toy is the Pro Fish. It just makes riding even the smallest and crappiest waves fun.
I wish in entry level boards and kites, as this is our main market – but it’s probably gonna be in the niches foil and foil wing. Luckily all our kites Evo, Dice, Neo and Rebel are on a constant high and still growing from year to year.
Which of your boards are selling well in 2019 and why? What is new for 2020 in terms of board design and construction? Are there any trends in terms of design and construction that the entire industry seems to be progressing towards?
The bestsellers are the Jaime, Jaime Textreme, Select and Select Textreme. Mainly because they’re all cool looking, light, high performance Freeride/Freestyle boards, that’s what most customers are looking for.
The Duotone “Pro” surfboard construction is still the benchmark in feedback like a customer board, but with the durability (and warranty) of a serial production board. This year the Pro Fish was added to the range.
Hard to say, Duotone is focusing on new, lighter materials and also very important: safety. Unfortunately there’s still some wild “safety solutions” out there. All this without getting prices raise too much.
Are you using any eco materials and/or environmentally friendly processes in your board construction?
Yes. All our Twintips are coming from Capita, an all over sustainable eco friendly board production in Austria. This also guarantees short transport to our main markets in Europe leaving a lower CO2 foot print. From 2020 season on, all our surfboards are packed with Flexi Hex, an completely eco friendly and plastic free packaging which can even be reused for travelling. In general, the whole company tries to do their little bits and pieces, separate waste, use eco friendly energy and last but not least we’re financially supporting a water power plant in Sri Lanka.
Aesthetics / Pro Riders
Any stand out new graphics or artwork collaborations? How important is it to your brand to have Pro Models and how much freedom do the pros have in terms of graphics? And in terms of design?
In most our products team riders are involved in testing, especially recognizable in the Dice, the Boot and the Pro Surfboards, where Lasse Walker, Noe Font, Sebastian Ribeiro and World Champion Airton Cozzolino where involved.
It’s funny, as our team is not really involved in graphics, they all care way more that the product is insane and lasts. So our designers are faced the biggest critics with our team riders.
How are you helping retailers sell your product and which method of help seems to be the most effective?
With most retailers we’re having a long term relationship and trying to see it as a fair partnership with a lot of trust, commitment and loyalty. We’re creating a big family character in which customers, shops and riders want to be part of. Retailers are getting extra support due to special entry level packages, youth programs and last but not least, indirectly but effective due to our spare parts web shop. Customers have the spare part sent to the shop, the shop can offer incredible service, help to assemble the spare part and hopefully create new sales.
Tell us about your 2 key products for 2020 and why you think they will be great sellers
Like mentioned before, the Pro Fish will be the board to have in waves for 2020. On the lightwind twintip front, there’s the brand new board Ultra Spike Select, this is the twintip which will get you on the water first and surprisingly doesn’t feel like a huge board at all, more like your everyday freeride twintip. Aditionally to mention is the absolutely new NTT ergo binding, now with even more hold, an ergonomic foot bed and even four sizes, so you can choose the best fitting binding for your feet. Still with all the various adjustments you are used to from the NTT.