Sroka 2022 SUP Preview
Retail Buyers Guide: SUP 2022 Retail Buyer’s Guide
Interviewee: Bruno Sroka, Manager & Developer
Is Spring 2022 marking a comeback to a “normal” market? In other words, has production come back to the pre-covid pace, can you provide decent amount of stock to everyone?
For our part, production has returned to normal, especially as we have ordered the annual orders much earlier. So the productino 2022 were finished before the end of 2021. This allows us to be serene for the 2022 season.
However, we all thought that the covid was going to be more of a hindrance than a help and it was the opposite, the covid was an accelerator of sales. However, the war in Ukraine is a real brake on trade in Europe. For several reasons; increase in energy prices, uncertainty in Europe slowing down investments everywhere in Europe, and the election in France which also stops part of the sales. So for the moment, 2022 does not look as good as 2021.
A careful attitude with plenty carryovers has been the go-to choice for a couple years. Will 2022 be the year of innovation for your brand?
Before innovating, one must first solve the stock problem and thus reproduce in quantity in order to regenerate the stocks that one had before. Our philosophy has not changed: to produce quality SUPs that will last over time and above all that will save the planet’s resources. By making too much low cost material that is not sustainable over time, we are wasting our resources. Since the beginning of the brand, we have opted to produce better and less, but more sustainable over time. The innovation goes through the choice of materials and make them less toxic for our planet
How did you build your inflatable range in 2022? And which inflatable technologies are you implementing in 2022?
Our range is very simple, it allows us to meet the needs of all potential customers. We produce 3 distinct ranges: The Ocean walker range is a first price range but with reinforced materials to increase the longevity of the products. The public price is 369 euros. The Easy range which is a time tested mid-range range which caters for a large majority of customers with a wide range of sizes to suit different needs, from the 10″ to the 12’6″ to the 16″ Duo. And finally the top of the range at SROKA which is broken down into the Malibu (sup with round nose) and the Alpha range with pointed noses. This range consists of a 9’5 up to 14 feet. Finally we have a special rental range with even stronger products. Each range has a different construction to meet different needs and therefore different customers. We try to cover all potential customers. It is a simple and easy to understand range. Our real strength: out of more than 6000 pieces sold, we have less than 20 sup with a technical problem. This is the strength of the SROKA brand
Hardboards: where is the category going according to you? A niche reserved for experienced riders only?
In my opinion, the big industry brands have killed the sport. Since the beginning of windsurfing, it has been the same strategies and the same logic of operation. They make more and more technical products with exorbitant prices. But what the industry forgets is that if the mass of people who practice windsurfing decreases, there is no longer an elite and no one buys. Race supers with such small widths are certainly very efficient and work perfectly for an elite. But the average rider can’t stand up on them and it doesn’t make sense to spend 4000 euros on a purebred board and not be able to stand on it. As a result, the breed is running out of steam and is no longer of interest to the general public who are the real buyers. This example is true for all board sports: windsurfing, kiteboarding, sup and we are going to the same logic in the wingfoil too. Who nowadays can and wants to put 4000 euros in a race board to go to a competition. Those who are on the podium are sponsored so they don’t buy the equipment. I had the same experience when I was world champion in kite racing. I was pushing the equipment to the extreme, forgetting about the general public and the desire for performance, but leaving the possibility for the average rider to have fun too. From this personal observation, our vision has completely changed when I created the SROKA range, I develop high performance and durable products but keeping a maximum accessibility to give the chance to each of you to enjoy it.
Is the Swiss Army SUP, that is to say multi-use designs (SUP/FOIL/WING/WIND/SURF) an ongoing trend in 2022?
Yes, I think that mono-practice is over, clients want to practice as often as possible, whatever the conditions, so they can enjoy it as much as possible. A client who practices sup also wants to do sup foil or wingfoil when the wind rises. Practicing a little bit all the time and adapting to the conditions is the best way to have fun all the time. It’s a real trend that will revolutionize all board sports in the very near future I think. But to do this, we need to develop products that are a little less technical but more versatile.
The Ocean Walker is a very versatile entry-level all around SUP, ideal for a first time buyer. This family SUP with an accessible shape is supplied in a complete pack ready to go at a very attractive price. It’s lightweight, stable, rigid and an excellent value for money SUP is built like all Sroka SUPs with professional quality PVC. Public price: 369 euros
The easy 11’6×32 is a family paddle with a pointed nose that will guarantee you a very good glide with maximum stability. It can accommodate one child and one adult, the glide will surprise you as well as its simple and uncluttered design. Sold in a pack, it is perfect for a family use and long lasting. Public price: 515 with taxes included
The Alpha 12’6x 28 is our top of the line paddle (fusion construction and 3 layers on the rails). It has an exceptional glide. At 28 inches wide and with a relatively narrow tail, the drag is very low to maximize the glide. It is ideal for flat water or inland waters. ( supplied with a roller bag, sold as a full pack or not) : 769 With taxe and 949 full pack (with electric pump)