How has Covid impacted the wakeboard business?
It’s gone completely nuts. Demand is through the roof as a result of folks turning to outdoor / individual sports to stay fit / focused / sane. It seems all the brands are in a race to get as much product in stock as possible, yet it keeps turning around and heading right back out the door.
Are your designing crash jackets for a wake market segment, eg boat / wake park / surf / skate? Or is the same design being sold over the whole market? Which market is giving you the most growth? Which market is giving you the most direction in terms of the design and look of your crash jackets?
Our vest is designed for the entirety of the market to provide both flotation and impact protection across all aspects of the sport. I would say the cable park influence is guiding the design most, but that’s more from a fashion perspective than function. Function is the same mission across the board – Float / Protect / be rad ; ).
Style / Look
What style is your brand aiming for, what is the process of determining what your crash jackets look like?
We were really going for a military style cut / paneling layout with this design. Something that’s tough looking without being overbearing. Not too short, not too long, and definitely not with a turtleneck on it! Haha. Comfort and flexibility are key, with style up there in the ranks as well.
Fit / Feel / Protection
What trends are you seeing in terms of fit, feel and protection in your crash jackets? What do you think your customers want and what has worked well for you in terms or fit, feel, protection? For example do end users want a thicker more protected crash jacket at a wake park (as they fall onto solid features at 20mph) or do people want as flexible as possible?
Soft and durable materials are certainly high up on the list with our customers. There seems to be a sweet spot in terms of thickness as well where the flotation is highly beneficial without being cumbersome while out of the water. It’s not going to stop falling from hurting, but it can certainly help.
Tech / USP
What technology or materials are using in your crash jackets to give you a unique selling point?
Premium grade neoprenes mixed with foam segmentation in all the right places have been our keys to success. You can’t overthink it, and if i ain’t broke, don’t fix it – wear it with pride.
How do your team riders influence your soft good offering? Do they have signature soft goods, do they help with design, do you suggest ideas to you, etc?
Our team riders are arguably more involved with our product design than any other brand in wake. They talk, we listen, and the results have proven to be successful over the seasons.
The 2021 Slingshot Impact vest is our tried and true comp style wake vest. It’s comfortable, stylish, low profile, and responsible for the transformation from shirts over vests back to vests over shirts! Wear it with pride!