Shark 2023 S/S SUP Preview
Retail Buyers Guide: SUP S/S 2023 Retail Buyer’s Guide
Interviewee: Alan Xu, CEO
Many SUP brands expected a comeback to a more rational market in 2022, with a moderate and sound growth. How did things play out eventually?
Whilst the pandemic played a huge part in propelling more consumers into the sport of paddling it also saw an explosion of pop up brands in the market. 2022 has also experienced a number of factors, including economic downturn and global unrest which have contributed to reverting back to steady growth experienced prior to the pandemic. Our priority has been to continue to grow market awareness for what our brand offers whilst supporting our distributor network to educate the paddling community on quality kit, differences in construction and water safety. We also continue to progress our partnership with The Shark Trust and have launched a clothing line where 100% of profits contribute to supporting shark conservation thus promoting better ocean health for all.
Will you attend Paddle Sports Show in Lyon? Do you think trade shows remain a place where things happen, after a couple years of (quite successful) Zooms & virtual showrooms?
In moving beyond the pandemic and working as a brand to continue our conscious effort to have less negative environmental impact we do not feel attendance to such a show at this time aligns with our brand values. As a factory owned brand we have also made the decision to not change our 2023 models in support of existing stock in the market, and in house our team continues to focus their energy, time and expertise into product development to allow SHARK to continue producing the best product improvements for years to come.
What is your strategy to ensure the SS23 products will end up in stores early in the ’23 season?
2022 saw a large design update and improvement to our entire range with the addition of new products including the performance tourer and kids all round and touring board which have all received great feedback from industry and consumers alike. 2023 is our year of minor updates to products and in support of our distributors and retailers throughout the market holding 2022 stock we have made the decision to roll over our 2022 range and add updates to the manufacturing process on a rolling basis. This ensures we don’t damage the RRPs of existing products in the market and yet we continue along our ethos of “constant forward motion” whereby we always progress and move our products forward to ensure the paddling experiences are improved through technical design tweaks. This also means that our customer network can order with confidence at anytime allowing stock to be available as soon as they wish for 2023.
In 2022, the majority of SUP brands did cope with the increased costs of material/shipping, not reflected (that much) of the MSRPs. What about the 2023 models?
We are pleased to be able to deliver the same pricing structure for 2023 SHARK SUPs models as has been available to customers in 2022.
Please forgive the recurrent question: Beyond the all-around supremacy, any noticeable movement to report in the other categories (touring, SUP surfing, race, river, foiling…)?
We have noticed an increased interest in our consumer market pushing their own boundaries to continue to progress in the sport particularly in the likes of longer distance paddling and SUP racing. For this reason touring and racing models are where we continue to focus extra energy in terms of delivering high quality performance iSUPs at very favourable MRSPs.
Inflatables: Which new technologies & models are you implementing in 2021?
We continue to promote our distributor and retail network to educate consumers on ensuring they select the board that is suited to their height, weight and chosen discipline of SUP. This continues to ensure new participants to the sport have a positive paddling experience from the outset and are more likely to continue to progress in the sport, thus having a positive impact for the industry as a whole. Our all round and touring models which are often most suited to those new to paddling continue to be offered in two thicknesses (5” and 6”) and varying widths/lengths to enable our retailers to deliver the best product to suit the paddler looking to buy. With the boom in pop up brands there is often a misconception that one size fits all and this is something we are incredibly passionate to re-educate the market on to ensure consumers are investing in the right kit for them. In respect of the specialist and performance SUP disciplines we continue to enhance products to meet the technical requirements of that discipline. We are truly consumer focused when it comes to delivering products to the market.
When it comes to the order forms, do you have any piece of advice for retailers? (quantities, categories, inflatable to hardboard ratio, restocking schedule…)
We recommend stocking all round and touring models across all sizes as the main focus to allow customers to purchase the correct size board in store. With regards to the more specialist models order numbers are going to be of lower quantities and often dependant on your location. For example if you are based in a coastal surf location having surf SUPs in stock is recommended, or if SUP racing is a theme in your region having a supply of these would be beneficial.
Our retailers continue to experience growth in people heading to stores to seek advice and guidance on the most suitable products to buy. This is particularly in light of the mass of digital content available which in some cases provides misinformation and often confuses customers leaving them uncertain as opposed to confident in online purchasing decisions. Thus having the opportunity to gain advice from a retail specialist continues to be increasingly valuable to the consumer.
The 10’6 All Round SHARK SUP suits paddlers over 60kg and over 5’4”. The 10’6 perfectly balances length, width and outline shape for the best performance for new paddlers. Suited to young and old family members it can hold a central weight of 120kg and max weight of 180kg so will happily carry an adult with kids back and front.
The 12’6″30″ Touring SHARK SUP available in both 5”/6”, is suited to paddlers looking for improved glide and top speed for optimum SUP touring performance. The touring range is a step up from our entry level All Round range and with a sleeker outline shape these boards allows paddlers to go faster, covering more distance without compromising stability.
The 14′ Performance Touring SHARK SUP is suited to riders seeking increased performance, increased speed and straight line tracking when undertaking longer distance paddles or stamina training. The 14′ Tourer is 29″ wide offering an increasingly streamlined shape for speed and also takes the solid cone nose from the Race SHARK allowing it to cut through the water effortlessly.