Retail Buyers Guide: Surfboards 2020
Brand: KANOA Surfboards
Interviewee: Thilo von Osterhausen, Founder/R&D
What struck you most during the past year as far as the Surfboard market is concerned? (sale figures, pricepoints, design, competition, distribution…)
The increasing importance of the riversurf segment in Germany and the overall GAS region. We saw continuous growth in the market as well as in our sales figures. The ongoing construction of artificial riverwaves is getting more and more people to the sport. We see the big brands moving their way in the field making the competition more entertaining. We also see a transition from River surfers becoming faithful clients for Ocean Boards. All this lets us further believe into our approach to the surfing industry.
What will be the popular designs of 2020? (high-perf, hybrid, retro-oriented, midlength, longboard, softboard…) Why so?
The demand is as diverse as the surfers themselves. In the ocean we continue to see good numbers in our hybrid and groveler models, Eggplant, Fish n’Chixx and Hydrophil. Especially as those models cover a vast span of surfing levels and contribute to the maximum wave count.
Our Foamy models are continuously finding new fans. As consumers and retailers see the gap between a hardboard and a softtop, where the performance oriented AV ST construction squeezes right in. The KANOA Foamy range finds the ideal compromise between safety, durability and surfing performance.
That applies for Ocean and the River. We see the Foamy Flow being the ideal riverboard for approximately 70% of this emerging market. With still continuously improving surf level, the board will guide people safely through every stage of riversurfing, while basically eliminating the ongoing frustration of constant repairs and broken finboxes.
Innovation wise, which new design features and constructions are you implementing?
We are putting all our focus on our recently released Honey Root Technology – a three dimensional glassing that results in one of the most sustainable and durable constructions we have seen. It allows us to freely adjust the flex pattern of a board without any modification in the layup. We define flex through geometry.
After we got selected by ISPO Brand New and the surfing world got a glimpse of the new HRT – we have been on a wild ride. We saw an astonishing amount of interest from the Surf Industry as well as other boardsports.
In the meantime, we teamed up with one of the technology leaders in the surfing industry who will support us to set up our production and will enable us to provide the HRT construction in a unique quality and the needed scale.
With their experience we will equip the Honey Roots Technology with an additional feature that will make the overall construction just mind blowing.
We continue to aim for the first small series towards end of 2020, stay tuned.
Do the sustainable surfboards account for a significant part of you turnover and what is your ethos regarding eco-friendly production?
Yes they do – our Foamies are a relevant part of our turnover and are built in Eco-Con. The construction we use results in less wastage and less toxins in production. That is a good start but with the HRT we want to achieve a new level of sustainability. We use the highest amount of recycled content in a surfboard to date, combined with several organic materials and bio resin. As we are currently designing our production layout, it looks like we will also be getting pretty close to a zero-wastage production.
How do you handle distribution, between brick & mortar retailers, online retailers and D2C?
We are looking for selected and reliable shops which are important within their region. In order to bridge the gap between our D2C and the retailers we offer a drop ship option, in which a board can be ordered and payed in the shop and will be sent straight to the buyer’s doorstep.
A performing groveler with a huge range of use. In big sizes perfectly suited to the beginner and intermediate surfer. For the advanced surfer the ideal addition to his quiver to enjoy mushy conditions and less powerful waves. Also, an eye catcher due to the unique resin art.
The go to riverboard in our range with an updated design for 2020. The finetuned single to double concave will effortlessly generate speed and flow. The slightly narrower tail will enable aggressive turns but keep just the right amount of volume to land manoeuvres. In combination with Spiders unique railwork this is our evolution in riverboard design.
The Foamy Fish
A softtop as good and versatile as it gets- small sizes work great on riverwaves and for wakesurfing, the bigger sizes are perfectly suited for beginners and intermediates. Thanks to the performing AV ST Construction it is also the perfect groveler for more advanced riders in average conditions. Always with the aspect of added safety and durability. No need to worry when your kook friend takes it for a spin.