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Lightning Bolt Surfboards 2024 Preview

Retail Buyers Guide:  2024 Surfboards Retail Buyer’s Guide
Brand:  Lightning Bolt
Interviewee: Marketing

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?
For us, Lightning Bolt, this is the distinctive identity and core of our business. Our surfboards program keeps marketing exclusively the authentic surfboards shaped only by authorized artisans. They personify the idea of collective construction, quality and authenticity – by the historical connection to Lightning Bolt or by sharing the same values and lifestyle – that has always been a requirement of the brand. All our surfboards are hand-shaped and on-demand. Real works of art, with a high exclusivity. That is the reason why Lightning Bolt surfboards have a unique hologram number and certificate of authenticity. However, it’s important to note that the surfboard market is not immune to broader economic trends or fluctuations in consumer demand. External factors such as changes in consumer preferences, economic downturns, or shifts in surfing trends can still impact sales and inventory levels.

While the board offer has never been so wide nowadays, which were the top trends of 2023?
That’s precisely the question at hand. We need to offer a diverse range of models because, as evident from market trends and particularly from our customers’ preferences, the predominant trend is towards creating a quiver. This demands a comprehensive offering from our side to cater to varying needs and preferences.

There is a noticeable step-back from competitive surfing: did this affect the sales of high-perf models?
In fact, competitive surfing may have taken a step back in recent times, but high-performance boards remain a constant on the surfer’s horizon. Regardless of how relaxed one may want to be about surfing, there’s always that day when you need to pick up your Step up board and tackle the waves.

There is no arguing: twins and midlengths still are crowd favorites. But which will be the trends within those two trends in 2024?
The primary consideration here is the evolving profile of surfers. They’re getting older but wiser, prioritizing comfort and ease of paddling. To cater to this demand, we offer not only midlengths and twins but also hybrids, quads, all-around shortboards, and classic longboards. Regardless of the brands’ attempts to influence the market, the trend undeniably lies in the hands of the surfers. From what we observe, the adage that the best surfer is the one having the most fun holds truer than ever before. And for Lightning Bolt, the soul surfing is everything.

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?
This aligns perfectly with our previous discussion. The Lightning Bolt classic longboard epitomizes our commitment to addressing surfers’ needs, especially on those small, challenging days where even a summer board demands excessive paddling. Alongside this model, we offer a range of options carefully crafted with the surfer in mind. Our development process prioritizes not just trends, but more importantly, the specific requirements dictated by wave types and conditions. In today’s landscape, the prevailing trend is the surfer’s own preferences. Therefore, we remain steadfast in our focus on fulfilling surfers’ needs, empowering them to excel and, above all, have the most enjoyable experience in the water.

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?
We take it all with our ECO Surfboards! And that’s why we were awarded with a Gold Level seal by the ECOBOARD Project, a program runned by Sustainable Surf, a non-profit organization. The project certifies surfboards and manufacturers of more sustainable surfboards, representing a great reduction in environmental impact. The ECO-TECH construction, compared to a standard construction in PU (Polyurethane) and Polyester, has a 70% lower environmental impact in every board produced. In addition to using sustainable materials in its composition, the construction of these boards involves vacuum infusion technology, which allows to reduce resin consumption and its waste by around 45%. Lightning Bolt Ecological Surfboards have the same technical performance as any other board, but a reduced environmental and toxic impact using more sustainable materials and manufacturing processes. As a detail, we even offer the possibility to apply a brilliant resin, which will react to the UV light and make the bottom colour change acquire a violet tone! It will return to its original colour once out of the direct sunlight.

Key Products:

Lightning Bolt Pipeliner Gerry Lopez:
While these shapes were the state of the art in the 70’s, now they are collector items. These boards take us back to exactly what Gerry Lopez rode in the 1970’s. The iconic Pipeliner by Gerry Lopez is exactly like the original shape, handcrafted using the original templates, rockers and the same glassing techniques.

LB Pipeliner Gerry Lopez

LB Pipeliner Gerry Lopez

Lightning Bolt Eco Pipeliner Rory Russell:
Rory Russell has made a name for himself by shaping one of the most emblematic Lightning Bolt surfboards ever: the super pinny performance-driven Pipeliner. The same shape Rory Russell surfed and won Pipeline competitions on, now in Eco-Tech construction. A step into the future, showing that we have a legacy to respect and keep alive, and a new one for future generations.

LB Eco Pipeliner Rory Russell

LB Eco Pipeliner Rory Russell

Lightning Bolt Super Twin:
The Super Twin is a small wave, high-performance board. It is fast, loose and easy to turn. It has a single to double concave to provide speed, a wider template for floatation and paddling power and small wings to reduce the tail width and improve manoeuvrability. Super Twin is a must-have surfboard in your quiver.

LB Super Twin

LB Super Twin

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