Chilli Surfboards 2024 Preview

Retail Buyers Guide:  2024 Surfboards Retail Buyer’s Guide
Brand:  Chilli
Interviewee: Susana Santos, Head of Communications

To a certain extent, the surfboard market relies on custom-made products and on demand manufacturing. Does this means the business is relatively spared from the poor sell-out and overstocks reported in other boardsport categories?
Yes, to a certain extent. You can keep 500 boards in stock and still have this one customer coming to your shop looking for something just a little bit different from what you have on offer. A little thicker, a little narrower, featuring a different tail shape, a specific spray, etc. Take one model, two sizes. You can have 2 boards of the same model and size featuring a handful of different thickness and width combinations that will better suit the needs and preferences of different surfers. The dimensions charts are guidelines, not commandments. As more and more surfers are riding our models, more and more we’re being asked to customize and make adjustments. Not living up to this trend means losing (a lot of) clientele. This is why we pride ourselves on being able to deliver custom surfboards to any retailer in Europe within 4 weeks, which has definitely helped us to tackle the challenges of selling drop downs and overstocks.

While the board offer has never been so wide nowadays, which were the top trends of 2023?
Mid lengths kept trending. This is why we’re about to release a new model, the Full Strength. The next generation in Chilli’s mid-length category was inspired by James’ journey to the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia with his son. He thought it would be good to create something different with a progressive performance outline, but still have the attributes of his much-loved Mid Strength. The Full Strength’s outline is pulled in at the nose decreasing drag up front. The back end is also narrower creating a nice, rounded pin tail giving it more of a shortboard feel. This allows the board to perform better in the pocket, and at higher speeds on the face while maintaining that paddle power the Mid Strength possesses. Also, the Full Strength’s rail is lower with a more rolled deck, allowing for more progressive surfing and greater bite on the wave’s face, again, at higher speeds for when the surf is good. In a nutshell, the Full Strength paddles really well, yet has a more refined outline, increasing the level of performance it has to offer. Another trend was, of course, EPS/Epoxy constructions. This is why we’ve refined our EPS Twin Tech technology and extended its range. BV2, Churro 2, Rarest Bird, Mid Strength – our most loved models are all available in our new and reinforced EPS Twin Tech construction, built to make surfing 10 times more exciting.

There is a noticeable step-back from competitive surfing: did this affect the sales of high-perf models?
Not really. The demand for our alternative models (hybrids, twin fins, mid lengths) has increased significantly in the last years, but it’s only natural that our selling trends spread over different board categories as more and more surfers are populating the line-ups all across Europe. More people surfing means more diversity. At the end of the day, all you want is a board that works for you, in straight correlation to your needs and preferences, regardless of how trendy surf competitions are. There are a lot of highly skilled surfers out there and a big chunk of them are extremely happy with our premium performance models such as the A2, Faded 2.0 and the SHORTIE, which remain as our top best-selling models. These boards were designed with progressive surfing in mind to allow surfers to raise the bar. Pushing the boundaries of modern surfing is, and always was, a primary focus for Chilli’s head shaper, James Cheal.

There is no arguing: twins and midlengths still are crowd favorites. But which will be the trends within those two trends in 2024?
I’d say offering high performance options within these two categories. Just like we are about to do with the Full Strength, which is based off the Mid Strength but with bigger, more powerful waves in mind. The Full Strength is meant for surfers looking for that extra level of performance in a board that still keeps your wave count high. The perfect option for better days within the mid-length category. I believe this will be a huge trend in 2024. Also, high performance twinnies will keep trending. I mean twin fin surfboards with good hold, drive, and fast directional changes to maximize progressive surfing such as our performance twin fin model, the Peppa Twin, which we also offer in EPS Twin Tech construction. The Peppa Twin is a go-to board for all types of waves when you’re after the speed and flow of a twin, yet the hold and performance of a thruster. Combining two perfect worlds.⁠

After the release of the Channel Islands Mid, the launch of the CI Log is a clear indicator of the appetite for classic longboards, outside the perimeter of niche hype brands. How is your longboard game for 2024?
Branching into a new category for Chilli Surfboards in 2024 is a nose rider longboard by James Cheal, the 92/96. As a brand, we want to reach as many surfboard categories as we can that still fit our vision and core values. We believe this will be a great addition to the Chilli catalogue.

There are two main paths when it comes to sustainable surfboards: the eco blanks & resins, or the low-waste vacuum-made EPS boards. What is your take on the matter?
Our primary focus in terms of sustainability is to make sure our boards last longer than average, thus helping to reduce the excessive consumption of such intrinsically fragile objects as surfboards. We’ve designed our own special weave of new technology, using four-ounce fibreglass and Innegra S Cloth for strength. Innegra S Cloth is white in colour, lightweight, and a strengthening fibre that still has a natural flex (unlike carbon fibre, which stiffens things). When the board is under immense pressure, the Innegra S Cloth allows it to flex to a point where it would normally break or crease, but then flex back out, preventing a crease or breakage. We’ve run six strands of Innegra S fibre woven into the cloth on each side of the board, straight up from the side fin boxes. Two more strands up the stringer make 14 strands total. This is the perfect amount of strength vs flex. We tried and tested this a lot with team rider Jay Davies. Jay is 6’1 and 90kg of raw strength, known for being very tough on his boards. After using Innegra S Cloth we’ve reduced his breakages by 80 percent.

Key Products:

Seamlessly updating our much-loved Hot Knife, the HKII becomes a well-rounded, step-down shortboard. This board is incredibly user-friendly and exhibits forgiveness across all conditions. With the outline still providing the rail-to-rail transitions with ease, the HKII boasts speed and control. A fast board off the take-off that maintains its speed over flat sections, has a super forgiving feeling rail-to-rail, and keeps its control while you finish your turns.



Full Strength:
The next generation in Chilli’s mid-length category. The Full Strength paddles really well, yet has a more refined outline, increasing the level of performance it has to offer. This is a board you’ll want to ride when you want to keep your wave count high but still perform in the pocket, and at higher speeds on the wave’s face, and still be able to turn on a dime. A perfect mid-length for more progressive surfing and greater bite for when the surf is good.

Full Strength overview

Full Strength

Churro 2 EPS Twin Tech:
The Churro 2 is meant to be ridden 1-2 inches than your SHORTIE, allowing for tighter turns in the pocket, while also delivering a fast and flowing feel. Beachies, points, reefs – the Churro 2 does it all with that added bit of flare.⁠ By combining Chilli’s most sought-after daily driver with our new and reinforced EPS Twin Tech technology, you will ultimately have a board that feels electric under your feet. Give your day-to-day surfing the spring of life with EPS Twin Tech.

Churro 2 top

Churro 2

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