What are the main trends for 2020 in the kite market, in terms of riding categories (big air, wave, foil, wing…)?
Biggest trend this year, although not product related, is to rediscover your home spots and make holiday in your own country, of course due to Corona. Foiling and Wing Foiling are still the newest trends and the search for the best and lightest material continues. For us it’s incredible to see that tube kites are now able to fly earlier than foil kites, just with all the advantages of foil kites. Kiteboarding itself seems to have another push, there’s many kitesurfers at the spots and schools are fully booked. As an individual sports outside, kitesurfing seems to profit from Covid.
In what riding category have you seen the biggest growth so far in 2020 and why?
It’s not kitesurfing, but the incredibly fast growth of wing foiling is insane. It’s fresh, it’s new, it reunites all water sports enthusiasts as windsurfers, kitesurfers and complete newbies are hopping on the trend, which developed into an individual sport in just two seasons.
What do you believe will be the main trends for 2021 in the kite market, in terms of riding categories?
2021 will all be about the SLS movement of Duotone. Strong Light Superior, a category of products which are using the latest and lightest materials and construction methods. Once you held e.g. a SLS kite in your hands, you don’t want to use anything else. We developed these products because we wanted them for ourselves, they make us smile and hopefully you too!
In what category do you expect the biggest growth in 2021 and why?
Besides Wing Foiling, it seems like there’s a new hype around kiteboarding and more and more new people coming into the sport, so the freeride category is probably gonna grow. At the same time more and more kitesurfers are starting new things and move from Twintips to Surfboards to Foiling. So in any conditions from 6 to 60 knots, flat water or waves, there’s always something to do. You just need the skills and the right toys.
Which of your Kites are selling well in 2020 and why?
Over the years we developed our sales quite equally over the whole range to minimize risks, if one model shouldn’t sell anymore. So best selling kites are Evo, Neo, Evo SLS, Neo SLS, Dice and Rebel. Still selling good, but way less as they are made for niche markets, is Vegas, Juice, Mono and Ace.
What is new for your kite construction, materials and design for 2021?
2021 is the beginning of a new era in light weight still durable materials. SLS, Strong Light Superior is our credo. Penta TX is leading the development and is offering a more sporty, more precise and crisp feel of the kite. It’s 15 % lighter overall, has an up to 5 times higher tear resistance, 50 % less elongation compared to standard dacron. A quite stiff material, resulting in a high structural stiffness, especially recognizable in strong wind conditions, leading to less deformation of the overall structure of the kite. Penta TX is the guarantee for a very precise timing when edging, releasing the edge and all steering impulses – the precise and reliable steering of a racing car.
Penta TX is used in the leading edge and center strut. Further SLS development was put into surfboards and twintips, which are in general now even lighter, still super robust.
Are there any trends in terms of kite design, construction and materials that the entire industry seems to be progressing towards?
It’s not so much the kite design itself, but the design around new and exciting light materials. SLS and Aluula will lead the way.
Which of your boards are selling well in 2020 and why?
The whole surfboard range is selling well as we offer the feeling of a custom surfboard, compared with the quality and durability of a kiteboard, including warranty for two years. All freeride Twintips are selling well, as materials and construction are the benchmark since years, Team Boards sell a bit less as it’s a special niche.
What is new for 2021 in terms of board design, materials and construction?
Both, at Surfboards and Twintips we’re using Textreme Innegra, a special Carbon which is dampening the ride, but also making the boards very responsive and lively.
Are there any trends in terms of board design and construction that the entire industry seems to be progressing towards?
Regarding board design it’s all about developing the niche I would say, e.g. lightwind surfboards, split boards etc.
Aesthetics / Pro Riders
Any stand out new graphics or artwork collaborations?
Our team always has massive influence in the development of kites and boards, also has a vote on designs. Mostly the fresh and punky color ways are there favorites, like e.g. this year a grey and pink Dice.
How important is it to your brand to have Pro Models and how much freedom do the pros have in term of graphics?
We have a pro range of surfboards and twintips, but no pro models with names, most riders use many different kites and boards and we want them to be equally happy. The wave team this year is stoked about the Neo SLS and the SLS surfboard range, the Freestylers are looking forward to a Vegas SLS, but this is still secret!
Are you using sustainable materials in your kites and boards construction?
Yes, we’re trying to use sustainable materials as good as we can and do it year by year more, also most major products are CO2 neutral.
Have you implemented any sustainable practices in your production and shipping processes? Whenever possible, we’re working closely together with producers of materials to make sure productions and transport are sustainable, not only looking at products, but also at working conditions, no child labor etc.
How are you helping retailers sell your product and which method of help seems to be the most effective?
We’re making sure our products are wanted! By offering the best products and to have the most fun in our Duotone communities. We e.g. developed the Duotone Academy, an app with hundreds of trick descriptions to improve your kiteboarding. Not only for Duotone riders! 😉
Have you had to adapt your retailer support in any way due to the pandemic?
We tried to stay in close contact and make sure everyone makes it through the crisis, nobody is left behind. With some kite models we stretched their life cycle to two seasons and only bring new models next season, this gives the retailer more time to sell the stock without discounts. Also the way of test events changed when tests with many people weren’t possible, so we just sent out a lot of test gear to our dealers, so customers could just pick it up for a spin and test at their local dealer.
Tell us about your 3 key products for 2021 and why you think they will be great sellers.
SLS in general. All these products with the SLS logo are insane. Personally, I’m looking forward the most to ride the Neo SLS on a SLS surfboard like the Whip SLS and the Evo SLS on the Twintip Jaime SLS. Completely different disciplines, but the playfulness of the light and rigid kites compared with the performance and comfort of the boards, kind of reinvents kitesurfing to me, after practicing the sport for now 20 years already…