According to the Surfboards Market Share and Size 2022 survey, the market “is poised to grow by USD 2.72 bn during 2021-2025 progressing at a CAGR of 7%”. Do you sit in that growth range? Beyond? Below?
As we are all aware, there are many macro-economic elements at play in this world we currently live in. Even amongst global pandemics and incredibly disturbing wars, we have found the escape of surfing to still be a growing activity. We are closely monitoring surf hardgoods saturation levels by user moment to ensure our growth is healthy and not forced by unrealistic financial growth expectations. While our core business continues to track at market cadence, we have our stretch plans being fueled by our product extensions which have been strategically launched to better serve our consumer base and further protect our core product.
Which category(ies) is(are) performing most within your range: entry-level, high-perf, midlengths & retro crafts, funboards?
We have incredible growth within our longboard brands under Thunderbolt, which has allowed for graduating soft top surfers to select from a wide range of entry level mid lengths to help them progress to short boards within the Firewire stable, or alternatively select from our world class fleet of longboards ridden and endorsed by multiple world champion longboarders.
Modern&retro fishes + midlengths sort of stole the game in 2021. Do you think the fad is likely to fade, and do you foresee a newcomer in 2022 as far as surfboard design is concerned? (hint: 80’s design updates)
Mid lengths are here to stay as they are a stepping stone product for graduating soft top beginners and aging surfers who still want to get in the water but need the extra volume. The sport of surfing is prone to injuries and as we age, mid lengths simply help surfers keep surfing without having to change entirely to longboarding – which is a whole new surfing discipline. The old always becomes the new in style. However, we focus more on build technology that can be applied in every user moment.
Do you do longboards? If yes, can you help up see where this segment is going: on the one hand, we have high-end glassed retro-like logs which appeal to the cool kids, and on the other hand, a strong market made of EPS-sandwiched more focused on intermediate surfers, aka big daddys. Right or wrong?
Yes, we do longboards and this segment is very misunderstood. For example, the technology advancement in surfboards in the last decade has (for the most part) evolved out of the EPS stables and not PU stables. Most people claim this to be “production” based to make boards cheaper and faster – which for some “popout” and SUP brands, is true; however not the full story. EPS is much harder and more expensive to work with, and if not done correctly, leaves you with a stiff board that simply does not perform. Thunderbolt boards have three times the processes than that of a standard PU build and include variable carbon flex patterns inserted into each build that allows for the board’s incredible performance. The boards are all hand laminated and finished to the highest standard. Longboards are heavy by design in some cases and as a result get beaten up pretty quick. EPS build for long boards brings higher strength into the mix allowing for the boards to last longer which is a nice insurance policy when spending north of $1000 for your board.
Construction wise, do you have anything new to bring on the table for 2022 (materials, process, finishes)?
Yes, we have two new construction builds including a Volcanic Tech (Basalt “Eco Carbon Alternative”) and an ALL NEW “Patent Protected” Firewire build that will be releasing at the end of the year.
Even for brick&mortar shops, an online presence is compulsory nowadays. Do you have any tips for retailers so they can buy&build a consistent offer? (range sorting, preorders, dropshipping, etc.)
We use our ecomm to drive traffic to retail and have proven that ecomm is merely a vehicle to communicate where a consumer can get their specific dims. SKU management is a killer and most board brands are faced with two fins systems which makes for double the amount of work and inventory risk. Pick your winners and make sure you work with the fin companies that can deliver on the fins needed. Work on the sweet spot between 28 – 35 liters. Pre – Order functionality online gets your consumers in your stores and has been a very effective tool for our retail partners.
Mashup – Two minds combined.Rob Machado and Dan Mann have created the Mashup: A melding of each of their most popular designs; the Seaside and the Spitfire.Both board designers have spent time mixing and matching their favorite elements of each shape, and they’ve landed at something that goes fast in weak waves as well as a Seaside, and drives vertically in good waves as well as the Spitfire.The Mashup is the ultimate groveler. And the ultimate everyday board as well. Built in Helium Technology, it’s one of our absolute favorite boards for 2022.
Velvet Hour By Soleil Errico
A Longboard Brand built for Women By Women.This log is a classic Australian style involvement log design made popular in the late 60s in Australia before the transition era. Its wide point is slotted back from the center point making for a wider tail area pushing the effective volume to the rear of the board. The wider tail helps create a lift for nose riding when you’re in the pocket and it’s got a narrow nose profile for control in steep tight pockets when you’re tip riding. It also has a concave to create that extra lift for nose riding. When you combine all these design elements you get a board that nose rides seamlessly in the pocket and then with that wide point back, creates a pivot point which allows a board to be super maneuverable.
The OVA – Ben Skinner
An easy board to ride for all abilities in all conditions, perfect for anyone stepping up from a shortboard or stepping down from a longboard, this is your answer! Wide point forwards for your paddling needs, with flowing curves into a round tail. Relaxed rocker with a very unique foil, packing lots of volume with a low performance rail. Soft 50/50 rails flowing into a sharptucked edge through the tail. All designed to make this board easy to paddle, fast and smooth whilst trimming with an amazing response when on your rail. The Hull entry and 5O/50 rails give the board the ability to easily make turns you didn’t think you could make! Flow, glide, down the line speed and maybe most importantly the ability to get it turning from the middle of the board.