Retail Buyers Guide: Surfboards 2020
Brand: Semente Surfboards
Interviewee: Nick Uricchio, co-owner and shaper
What struck you most during the past year as far as the Surfboard market is concerned? (sale figures, pricepoints, design, competition, distribution…)
When we make surfboards, we always have to keep an eye on sales figures and price points because we have to be competitive. Competition always plays a part and distribution is very important, we are always working to make things run smoother and to get board orders to our clients on time.
It has been a good year for us in general and we’ve been competitive. What struck us the most and it’s our strongest and guiding force is surfboard design. I think our level of design and quality of our finish are the most important points. As a surfboard builder I think those are always the underlying points that will make any one label standout in the competition and keep you at the top of the market. So those as always have struck me as the most important, all the others come naturally if you have a good product.
What will be the popular designs of 2020? (high-perf, hybrid, retro-oriented, mid-length, longboard, softboard…) Why so?
I think the one’s you’ve mention all play a part and all those markets have grown. The high-performance is still our major focus, but we have always built boards from all the other categories. I do see a definite rise in the longboard, retro and hybrid market. And the grom market has taken a big jump here at Semente recently. In general, it’s a really cool time because people are ordering a huge variety of surfboards. I think it’s a matter of staying on top of design in all surfboard categories.
Innovation wise, which new design features and constructions are you implementing?
I think innovation wise we’re refining and taking good designs and making them better bringing them up to date with feedback from team riders. Construction wise we’ve been working with a lot more of in-house EPS. We’re doing it here as opposed to China to control the shaping side of it and all the final details to make the strongest, lightest and most high-performance EPS boards possible. We’ve been concentrating a lot on our finishing and as always, our overall quality, making a lot more EPS boards and PU boards with the best finish we have ever had.
Do the sustainable surfboards account for a significant part of you turnover and what is your ethos regarding eco-friendly production?
We’re doing a lot more EPS epoxy boards which are more eco-friendly than polyester boards. I don’t think they’re totally eco-friendly because there’s still a lot of trash and leftovers and side effects that we are discovering as time goes by. Everyone would like to see a more eco-friendly industry but as long as we use polyester resins, acetones, polyurethane foams it’s not gonna be that way. It’s hard to tear away from that because high-performance boards, light boards with good vibration are made more of these materials than anything else. It’s a tough one. Right now, we are in the process of applying some new materials together with a gentleman who is trying to formulate a 100% sustainable surfboard, the project is still in its infant phase so we will see how it all pans out.
How do you handle distribution, between brick & mortar retailers, online retailers and D2C?
Distribution wise we still deal with clients that come to our factory to order custom boards or those that come to our warehouse to pick boards from our stock. We also have solid online sales and we send a lot of boards out to individuals as there are a lot of people in Europe that want our boards and order them online. So we have a good set up as far as distributing boards on a personal level. In Portugal we have things running with some of the best shops in important areas. We also have things set up with some great shops around Europe. Outside of Europe we have been going strong with a distributor in Israel.
Please name and describe your 3 highlight pieces and items that retailers should definitely order.
Bondo – This is a high-performance small to medium wave board. It can be made either with PU or EPS Epoxy. The EPS board for a lighter springier feeling in small waves.
VR-14 – This is Vasco Ribeiro’s model. Vasco is pretty much our “Top Gun” on QS right now, and this is his personal model. A great board for most average to really advanced surfers. It has a lot of volume, good width, solid concave and a nice smooth rocker line.
Hitch – This is kind of a winter step up board for bigger waves, more solid barrels, pointbreaks, etc. Also, it’s a good travel board for Indo, Maldives or any other dreamy travel spot. We have found that this model has become a favorite with a lot of older surfers. All details on these three models and our entire range can be seen on our website.