Retail Buyers Guide: Surfboards 2019
Interviewee: Darren Broadbridge Director Commercial
Has 2018 proven to be a successful year as far as sales are concerned?
Surfboard sales in 2018 were down from 2017. It was a tough year with spring being the main culprit. It rained on weekends for 4 months straight.
Which countries/regions are on the rise? Which are weakening?
UK was our main area of growth due to our great partnership with Boardshop. France slowed down, but that was due to a new retail plan being installed within the Quiksilver Boardrider shops. Also as mentioned the spring weather hurt us down here in the southwest of France.
Which were the most popular categories of surfboards in 2018? (high-perf, hybrid, retro-oriented, midlength, longboard, softboard…)
Midlength and longboard sales were on the rise. Shortboard sales were consistent. The shortboard sector has always been quite difficult.
Are we over the ol’ “My Shaper is not Chinese” debate?
No, I don’t think so. It’s a delicate subject, bigger players like ourselves often are obliged to burn both candles. To make a tech EPS board that is commercially competitive in Europe is virtually impossible. Unless the buyer is prepared to spend an extra 300€ then they will have to accept that some boards need to be manufactured in Asia.
Will tech-fancy EPS constructions trickle down into the traditional PU surfboard? (inserts, carbon layers, fresh blank constructions…)
Yes, but saying that, a lot of these options already existed in PU. Most of the carbon configurations are there to replace a stringer (on the stringerless EPS’s ) so finding that ideal flex is already done , when using PU with a stringer.
Which are your 2019 innovations in this area?
We have integrated into our Bradley one model a carbon strip on the deck up to the front foot. Just to add a bit of stiffness to a model which has less volume than most boards. It will give the board that wince bit more spunk in pressure situations. This also gives some added strength to a region of the board that takes a lot of pressure. With modern performance surfing there is a lot of tail busting the lip. With the front part of the board connected to the wave but the back part of the tail in the air. This pressure can easily crease a board. So we wanted to strengthen up our thinner boards a bit.
Which are your 3 top selling boards? And why are they doing so good?
Phipps One Bad Egg. This is the worlds best midlength. If you think I’m being a used car salesman here than I challenge you to try one.
Bradley’s One will be a big mover this year. Leonardo qualified easily last year on this model and told us he could surf this board with his eyes closed. We sent one to Tracks for a board test in the Telo’s and the rider Chris Friend said he wanted to get back on the QS after riding it.
Grace Heritage longboard. This longboard has really come on strong. It has a classic outline that has come back into fashion with a single box. Phil Grace’s longboards are as good as any longboard in the world. With longboarding popular again, the fact Phil has 40+ years of longboard heritage resonates with our clients and direct customers.