Starboard SUP 2024 Preview

Retail Buyers Guide:  2024 SUP Retail Buyer’s Guide
Brand:  Starboard SUP
Interviewee: Ollie O’Reilly, Brand Manager Starboard SUP & Foilboard

Carry overs were the go-to choice in 2023 to help clear the retailers & distributors existing inventories. Did the strategy pay out?
Within the Starboard range, we have some models / constructions that are carried over. The Limited Series, one of our best selling composite constructions, is available in most surf SUP’s and has been a carry over tech since we introduced it. This gives dealers time to hold stock and sell throughout the seasons without the need to discount when a new model / graphic is released. In addition, other techs have carried over to help inventory reduce within the inflatable range. However, at Starboard, we are always developing new shapes and technologies and believe it’s important to continue to release the latest changes. The new Deluxe Lite inflatable technology is our latest development that will carry over from 024 into 025, and has received a massive interest due to the added performance.

When do you think supply and demand will balance out and why?
We already see demand for new products and inventory reducing. Several accounts believe that 2024 is a year for consolidation, having cleared stock and receiving new shipments. We see increased demand for more premium technology products, such as the performance Inflatable boards, lightweight composite SUP and Foilboards. We recently released our new 2024 Race board offering and have received overwhelming interest in the new shapes.  As we see developments in gear and sports evolving such as wingfoiling and downwind foiling, naturally demand increases. For the wider mass market, we see that many consumers are choosing better quality products that offer a longer life, as well as progressing from an inflatable board to a hard board.

What is your product strategy for next season? Bold and fresh or a more cautious approach?
At Starboard, we are always developing new products in the pursuit of offering the best quality and performance. For model year 2024, we introduced several new products such as the Longboard SUP range which is well received, all new All Star and Sprint shapes in the race field, as well as new techs in the inflatable line up. Within the fastest growing foilboard category, we have all new shapes within every discipline from downwind sup, race, freestyle, freeride and wave. Innovations and quality are the driving forces of the brand, and so the wheels don’t stop rolling. Having just returned from Tenerife to launch our new 025 product range to our distribution partners, we further have many new products within the SUP  inflatable, composite and paddle and also foilboard categories. Some of these will be released later this year and will definitely create a disruptive impact in the market.

Which inflatable models are you pushing in 2024? Anything new in the technology/material front to report?
The Inflatable range continues to evolve and develop with refinements. The big development is the introduction of our new Deluxe Lite technology. As our premium entry level woven dropstitch, it is incredibly lightweight making it fast to paddle and easier to carry, as well as being stiff and responsive under foot. In addition, the Starboard Roll fin box means the boards can be packed in a much smaller bag, reducing the size by 30%. This means traveling, carrying and storing your board is much easier and less bulky. It also means for distribution partners that they can have better efficiency when shipping boards in containers as they can pack more in. The Deluxe Lite offering will be available in key models such as the IGo and Touring, and will be expanded in other ranges later in the year. This was a stand out product at the recent Boot show. In the pipeline, we have a few key innovations for the 2025 model year that were again very well received from our recent distributor meeting.

(hardboard brands only) How important is the hardboard category for your business? Which boards are still relevant in 2024?
Hardboards are at the core of Starboard’s DNA. This year celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the brand, having started in Windsurfing back in 1994. The smallest change in rocker, rail shape, volume distribution and bottom shape can have a dramatic impact on the performance. As the sports grow and we push the boundaries in performance, shapes will always need to stay ahead. Within hardboards, there is the freedom to create unlimited shape changes and always refine the technologies, there is still so much for us to explore and innovate in years to come.  There are always opportunities to work on the performance products within SUP Surf, Race and Foil Boards. Each market has different requirements, based on the location, conditions and target customer. We have a wide board offering to accommodate these global markets. That said, entry level boards are a key focus for the brand to get more people into the sport and hooked early.

How are you supporting retailers through this difficult period?Communication is super important with retailers. We are being transparent with product timelines, launches and life cycles to allow distributors and retailers to plan their orders. We have a monthly sales meeting with all our key partners globally to ensure timely updates. In addition, in store point of sale tools are important to inform and guide customers. Our digital screens which showcase product videos help capture the attention of customers and showcase visually the product’s performance. Online, we are improving our backend website with a new dealer site to help distributors access all the information, specs with new comparison tools to easily compare products. We are also planning for an updated public website towards the end of the year, which will help guide customers and retailers. We also translate our website into 6 languages for key retailers in certain regions to refer to. We still believe demos and events are the best way for people to try gear and truly feel the difference between equipment. We will support several key international events and hold dealer meetings later in the USA to service retailers.

Key Products:

Starboard All Star:
The All Star is the board of choice for all conditions SUP racing.



Starboard Longboard SUP:
The choice of SUP Surfing champions, high-performance Longboard paddle board.



Starboard iGO Inflatable:
For beginners and travel adventurers. Light, Compact, and Fun.



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