“Summer boards” did become a relevant designation in the surfboard industry. But how much of your business does this category account for?
Honestly we’ve never really put our surfboards into seasonal categories in that way. Correct me if I am wrong but I believe the term “Summer Board” is insinuating a low cost beginner board that is not meant to have a long shelf life. While we do have boards in our line that are safe and make learning to surf easier for new surfers, one of our founding principles as a company was to make boards that last and we have held true to that for over 30 years. That of course means using the best construction and production techniques but also only releasing designs that can be ridden at high levels in critical waves by the most advanced of surfers. If someone is new to surfing and wants to get in the water over summer when the waves are small and the water is warm we want them to be on a board that works and will progress with them as they tackle better waves and more demanding surfing.
Newbies in surfing are spoiled with beginner boards that do look cool (compared to a few years ago), mimicking the steezy models (shapes, colorways). Do you confirm?
Ha ha. Maybe. I hope so. Everybody deserves to have a good surf board. Being held back by a board is not a good feeling. We are all pretty lucky to be living in a time where we get to benefit from the design and construction innovations of past legends. In 2022, Surftech will be releasing a line with Duke Aipa, son of Ben Aipa. The line is just the most radical mashup of Ben’s ideas around board speed and Dukes modern take on surfboards. It’s just crazy to think how lucky we as surfers are to ride boards with so much thought put into them.
According to you which surfboard designs will be the most popular in Summer 2022?
A variation of the high performance log or at least longer boards with a bit more curve in both rocker and outline and a little less weight. I think people will be looking for that longboard trim but with a little added freedom. Some of the stall wart classic log guys have even been digging back into their 90’s Takayama archives and posting clips to Insta and it is undeniable what the younger crew at San O is doing on. Maybe more log quads or twin fins?
With fishes, foamies and midlengths everywhere, is “performance” still a catchphrase in 2022?
Heck yeah it is! Though it is quite a bit overused. Surftech is a main offender of that. Sorry. That being said, what people are starting to realize is everybody wants to perform their best out in the water. The thing is we are not all battling to get on the world tour and all of our ideas of performance are different. What we are really trying to educate our customers on is the connection between performance and feel and why certain boards are designed to perform in certain ways. If you want a board to feel a certain way you need to look for the design elements that encourage high perform for that type of surfing. For most of us high performance is driving down the line at high speed on a fish or wrapping a nice cutback into the pocket on a mid-length. Even between shortboarders, the ideas of performance can vary greatly. Is high performance a deep tube, or ten turns on one wave, or on one high speed blast-off an end section? In our mind “performance” as an educational term is more important that ever; if only because people are performing at high levels in so many different ways these days.
Beyond EPS and PU, new materials/constructions are popping-up, mainly greener options. Do you foresee a quantum leap in a near future as far as surfboard manufacturing is concerned?
Unfortunately, we don’t see a quantum leap in greener options coming soon enough. Many of the new “green” concepts being proposed are still in the prototype phase and need that third party verification a plus a bit more testing before being scaled up. Our production partners are definitely leading the charge with less toxic solutions, and as a large supplier of surfboards we take our responsibility to produce in the cleanest way possible seriously. We do however, have a few ideas that will greatly reduce the overall impact of a surfboard’s life cycle…you will have to stay posted for that info though.
COVID has favored the rise of online retailers and D2C. Is this a threat for bricks&mortar surfshops or the more the merrier?
I think we took a little different approach than other surfboard builders around the world and in general we really prioritized our retailers and distribution partners this year. Possibly to the detriment of our own profit line we re-allocated much of our web stock to meet the increased demand of our retailers. In our opinion the brick in mortar retailer is a part of the core surf experience and one of the best ways for surfers to become educated about product. Like everybody else though we did see the spike in webs traffic and sales and making sure we engage our customers online with all the information they need is a priority.
AIPA Dark Twinn in Dual Core – The Dark Twinn was developed as part of Aipa’s Dark Series, a series of new designs inspired by Ben Aipa’s classic shapes and modernized for futuristic surfing. The Dark Twinn combines Ben’s Wing Twin template, used to make Dane Kealoha’s twins in the late ‘70s and ‘90s, with an updated Swing Twin Squash template for a modern feel. The shift in wing placements engages the wing-to-fin relationship and accents how the board performs as a twin fin. Featuring, Midrange rockers, and a lowered rail apex line, the Dark Twinn is a high-performance groveler built for aggressive surfing in soft waves. A staged bottom contour with a blended roll from the nose down into a single concave under the forward foot transitions into a double concave that is deepest between the forward fins. The concave then blends with a healthy amount of vee/double-concave, starting at the wing, and easing through the tail. The Dark Twinn is a lively and responsive board proven from Pismo Beach mush to juicy Hawaiian surf.
Takayama Prince – Kuhio Donald’s favorite glider! This Hawaiian Cross Country glider was inspired by the outer reefs on Oahu’s South Shore. Although this board is long in length, it is still capable of noseriding and turning like a board shorter in size. It has a DT-1 rocker which makes paddling very smooth, easy, and user friendly. Donald’s patented 60/40 rails with tucked under edge make this board very forgiving on the turns. Available in a 2+1 setup that is capable of riding as a single fin or 2+1 setup depending on the surfer’s style. A must have board in everyone’s quiver for small days or long paddles. Web link: https://surftech.com/takayama-prince-kuhio-tuflite-v-tech/
Lopez Longhaul – Nothing feels better than to ride the nose on a long section hanging ten or even getting a cheater five up there. Any longboarder worth their salt needs to one of these moves in their repertoire and the Long Haul / Fusion-Poly makes it easier. The wide, full nose template gives one plenty of planing surface and room to stand up there comfortably. The square tail works as a release point allowing the board to pivot for quicker turns but you will be riding the other end of the Long Haul most of the time. Web link: https://surftech.com/gerry-lopez-long-haul/