What are the main trends for 2020 in the kite market, in terms of riding categories (big air, wave, foil, wing…)?
We definitely experienced a huge growth in winging during the last season. Winging excites riders from different fields of water sports and therefore the demand was immediately incredibly high and also the riders’ levels increased so quickly, which makes it even more attractive to end consumers. Once you see others doing flips and rotations with the wing, you know that this could really be an exciting sport for you to learn. When you focus on kitesurfing, the demand on foiling and big air equipment keeps on growing.
There are so many riders out there, who are really passionate about the sport and need gear for the extremely light and high wind conditions. That is why so many are active in different disciplines right now, because they want to get out there on as many days as possible.
In what riding category have you seen the biggest growth so far in 2020 and why?
When you take winging into consideration, it’s definitely that, because it went from zero to enormous demand so quickly. In kitesurfing it’s probably the big air category. You can go anywhere today, when it’s windy, and you’ll probably see some guys doing huge kite loops during big air sessions with their friends.
What do you believe will be the main trends for 2021 in the kite market, in terms of riding categories?
I think the current trend of people doing different kinds of disciplines will go on in 2021, which is why we are trying to diversify our collection to fulfill almost every kitesurfer’s needs.
In what category do you expect the biggest growth in 2021and why?
We expect foiling to get a boost, because during the last couple of months a lot of riders felt the urge to get out at local spots even when the wind is not that powerful. Spending your free time actively became very important to a lot of people and foiling is a great way to do so in light wind conditions. This is why we added smaller sizes to our One kite, which is now a great choice for light wind kitesurfing on kiteboards and foils.
Which of your Kites are selling well in 2020 and why?
The Spark and the Pure have been selling great so far, but generally all models experienced huge request, because from kitesurfing schools to retailers everybody needed equipment in different segments to fulfill their customers’ requests.
What is new for your kite construction, materials and design for 2021?
In general we mostly keep on working with our current material portfolio, but work on the kites’ shapes and production processes to get the best performance in the end. The One was updated with smaller sizes, as mentioned before, in order to add a super light kite for foiling to our range. Some changes to the IQ like slightly wider tips, a newly balanced LE diameter and a bit less profile in the tip section add turning speed, improved drift ability and more direct steering. A higher aspect ratio, the profile alignment, which is adjusted to the new AR, and a progressive arc design give the Pure a stiffer feeling and provide homogenous power distribution across the entire depower range.
Are there any trends in terms of kite design, construction and materials that the entire industry seems to be progressing towards?
I think most brands are developing their gear into the direction, they feel works best for their philosophy. Of course everybody looks at what others are doing, but I’d say it’s a good thing that there is wide variety in kite design, construction and materials, because that gives end consumers a real choice between kites that do not only look different, but feel and ride in different ways. If we all went into the same direction, end consumers would have less choice in the end, because everything would feel pretty similar.
Which of your boards are selling well in 2020 and why?
Still the Watts is the best selling board with its great all-round characteristics that works for advanced and less experienced riders. The Pact, being a high-performance twin tip for freestylers, and the Blend with its ease of use and light wind performance flank, the Watts for a rounded out twin tip collection.
What is new for 2021 in terms of board design, materials and construction?
We keep on working with our current shapes and designs for 2021, as we felt they work great for our riders and the feedback from magazines and end consumers was extremely positive.
Are there any trends in terms of board design and construction that the entire industry seems to be progressing towards?
Also here the brands are following their own paths, I’d say. There are certain trends and features that are taken into consideration by a lot of companies, but still brands should and do focus on developing the right product that fits their philosophy best.
Aesthetics / Pro Riders
Any stand out new graphics or artwork collaborations?
We’re trying to follow a consecutive path with our designs, which develop from year to year. This way we want to make sure that there’s a clear line in our collection and people can identify with their product for years, because it will always look like a GA Kiteboarding product. For that reason our in-house design team gathers feedback from our customers and the market, working on new designs that follow our path.
How important is it to your brand to have Pro Models and how much freedom do the pros have in term of graphics?
To us it is not really important to have Pro Models, because our philosophy is to provide all our customers with products of the same quality and with one design. By not expanding our product range too much, we can better focus on each single board, kite and bar in order to get the best performance and value for our customers.
Are you using sustainable materials in your kites and boards construction?
Our manufacturers always look for new materials to implement into the production and try to optimize the production process to use exactly the right materials that both make our gear perform as it does and also help decreasing pollution. One key point is also to be able to use as much of the raw materials for the end product as possible to reduce waste and that is something our manufacturers really focus on. It’s the small details in production, design and distribution that hopefully add up to some bigger impact.
Have you implemented any sustainable practices in your production and shipping processes?
We take part in several sustainability initiatives with our forwarders and we are really happy that a lot of these services can be linked with sustainability projects that contribute something to environmental protection.
How are you helping retailers sell your product and which method of help seems to be the most effective?
It’s important to supply our partners with as much information about our products as possible to make their job easier and allow them to react quickly on end consumers’ requests. Retailers must have the opportunity to display our products online or in their shop in a good manner and without having to put too much effort into it.
One thing that probably helps the most in that scope is automatically sending them updates with our stock levels, which in the best case can be directly linked to their warehouse management system and online shop. We are trying to make our retail partners have as much information of our products, stock levels and so on as we do, which helps them and us to focus on working on new projects and customer service.
Have you had to adapt your retailer support in any way due to the pandemic?
Once the pandemic really started in Europe and most of our retail partners had to close their shops for weeks, it was very important to stay in close contact and openly talk about problems and ways to solve them. Talking several times a day sometimes, helped to find quick and individual solutions for our partners, which especially helped, when first restrictions were lifted and end consumers really felt the urge to get out on the water and also buy new gear. This close contact and open communication is probably the key point that really came into focus.
Tell us about your 3 key products for 2021 and why you think they will be great sellers.
The Spark will probably again be our best selling kite, but we expect huge growth in the sales of the One, which is not only a great light wind kite for twin tip riders, but also for foil riders with the smaller sizes in 2021. It’s an incredibly light one strut kite, which is still extremely agile and easy to handle. With the Spark we reach so many different kitesurfers because it shares the traits that are probably most important for them. Good power generation, easy controllability and also a lot of lift to go for huge jumps. The third key product will probably be the Barsystem X6, which came out this year in late Spring and is a consecutive step ahead in our bar design. We made some minor adjustments that definitely have bigger impact on the feeling and performance of the bar, so everybody should give the X6 bar a try.