Retail Buyers Guide: Kiteboards 2020
Brand: GA Kiteboarding
Interviewee: Konstantin Weier, Marketing Director
Do you see a significant growth in the kite market, compared to last year?
We’re living in difficult and crazy times and of course the spread of the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 beginning of this year had a huge negative impact on the demand for kiteboarding gear. People needed to stay at home, in many places couldn’t do outdoor sports and had other concerns than what their next kiteboard should be like. But at least in Europe and other countries around the globe that achieved first improvements, the situation is improving and it does so quickly. End of April the demand took off and many shops and brands had problems fulfilling that demand. It seems as if everybody really was starving for time on the water and that helped at least to cover some losses from the first months of 2020.
Still it’s impossible to make any predictions about the kite market in general this year, the situation is just too extraordinary.
What are the main trends for 2020 in the kite market, in terms of riding discipline?
I still expect kitesurfers to really enjoy their freeride sessions and go for big airs and foiling is cementing its position on the market more and more. This winter we saw a lot of storms in Europe and there were so many riders out there chasing them and fighting with the elements.. So, I think the main trend is that everybody is diversifying his skills and doing more and more different disciplines.
Have you noticed any shifts in trends from last summer’s expectations?
Until today, not really. Lot of storms arrived this winter and especially experienced and advanced riders go out in these rough conditions to chase their personal height record. In consequence especially our boards best suited for these conditions were requested quite a lot.
Where have you seen the biggest growth so far in 2020? Where do you expect the biggest growth in the remaining of the year?
The freeride segment has been working well so far, but at the moment it is hard to tell, how the remainder of the season will go and how the different segments will develop. One thing that is connected to a lot of kite brands and is really exciting a lot of riders is definitely winging.
Which of your boards are selling well in 2020 so far and why?
The Watts is definitely the number one board so far, as it’s performing well throughout the whole spectrum. It’s easy to ride, but you can do some true freestyle with it or go for massive airs. Behind that it’s a close race between the Blend and the Pact, but the Blend might have a slight upper hand due to its ease of use and immense light wind performance. The Pact is a great freestyle and wakestyle board with a lot of control in tough freeride conditions.
What new board design and construction features from your 2020 range are working well?
All boards have a smooth continuous rocker that offers both good planing abilities and control, when conditions get a bit rougher. The first feedback, we received from end-consumers and magazines, was very good and it seems to be a good feature for our boards.
Are there any trends in terms of board design and construction that you are observing in your 2021 product development?
The development team still makes the last test runs and compares the last prototypes, but in general the twin tip collection will remain the same in regards to the models.
When will your 2021 board range be launched?
This year it’s a lot harder to prepare everything for a proper product launch, because we need the market to be ready for a new collection and also have the right tools to promote the product. Setting up a photoshoot is quite a task at the moment, but we hope that the first 2021 gear can be launched until October.
What has been the retailer response to your 2020 range?
The general response was very positive and we could have been up to a good start, if the year 2020 started in a regular manner. But still we are looking into the future optimistically, as we seem to be on the right track and will try to improve day by day.
Which retailer support method is the most effective?
Reliability. It might sound weird, but a retailer needs to be able to rely on you and know that he or she can call you with any problem and know that you will do your best to solve it. Any problem can be solved somehow and you need to be authentic doing so to be trustworthy.
Are there any retailer support demands you will be implementing in the coming months?
We are working on many new structures in the background, redesigning our B2B shop, the website and some other platforms that will help our retailers to deal with orders, but also warranty requests and general information.
How have your initiatives in terms of sustainability in your 2020 range been received?
We didn’t communicate too much about that, so we couldn’t get a lot of response from our retailers. We took part in several sustainability initiatives with our forwarders and we are very happy with the result. Our goal to minimize waste during production could be reached and also some other smaller changes that help protect the environment have been successfully implemented.
Are you implementing new sustainable initiatives in the design and construction of your 2021 range?
We will go ahead and take steps forward year by year. As mentioned above the changes in detail can’t be communicated yet, but our designers always factor sustainability into the development process.
Please name and describe your 3 highlight pieces and items that retailers should definitely order.
The Watts will probably perform very well again, just as it has been during the 2019 season. We managed to further improve its control and are optimistic that we have a product that helps most kiteboarders to have a nice session. Also the Pact twin tip should be well requested, despite the wakestyle market being a pretty small one, but it’s a great choice for those making their first steps in freestyle and wakestyle and also offers tons of performance for experienced and radical riders.Our Blend remains animpressive allrounder for everybody, who wants to have an easy-to-use freeride board that does not lack performance and therefore we experiencea lot of request.