Looking back to 2022, the past year could be tagged as tricky: weakened spending power, overstocks in some segments, shortages for others… What was the ‘22 bottom line for your brand and what do you foresee for ’23?
We continued to see growth overall for 2022. It was such a weird year though. Consumer confidence would drop off in one part of the world and then pick up in another at the same time. Retailers in general seemed to be taking a cautious approach, which quickly led to consumers looking for new and exciting product they couldn’t get. Production was limited and then flooded in. I think through the year as everything was changing things seemed tricky but looking back it was all just a bunch of hurdles on the way to another good year. We have high hopes for 2023 as summer approaches.
Which category(ies) is(are) performing most within your range: entry-level, high-perf, midlengths & retro crafts, funboards, longboards?
Our Magic Model will always be our bread and butter. This is a longboard literally everyone from beginner to pro can and has ridden. We have also seen an increase in demand in higher volume boards like our Mega Magic and Mini Mega. At the same time, returning customers have been asking for more mid-lengths and performance boards like our Fusion Dual Core Magic Model or Deviled Egg in Fusion HD.
What used to be considered as alternative crafts (twins, midlengths) are the new normal and overtook the classic performance shortboard sales. Does this mean the fun factor is more important than the actual performance? If we were to quote Phil Edwards: “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.”
It’s all about FUN! Phil Edwards is a man who knew what he was talking about. We design all our boards to maximize fun for surfers. The goal is to help people catch more waves, ride those waves longer and perform better on the waves they are riding. Our Mini Magic is a perfect example of this. A shrunken down performance longboard the Mini Magic will allow a pro to rip a turn in the pocket while a beginner can easily manage the board in the whitewash and catch waves with ease. For those of us in-between pro and beginner the Mini Magic just generally makes surfing easier without sacrificing performance. To us that is fun.
A few years back, high-end techy EPS/carbon surfboards were the hype. But eventually the masses stick to an old-fashioned PU board. Isn’t the lack of innovation a threat for the development of the surfboard industry?
Early in 2022 we turned on site on increased production of stand PU ,or True Ride as we call it, boards. Thinking this would be an area of growth. Looking back on the year it seems PU stayed pretty stable for us but we noticed was more demand than we planned for in certain products like our Magic Model in molded Tuflite construction. The feedback we received directly from consumers seemed to consistently state a desire to try something “better,” and a lack of alternative construction options available at retail. Innovation and experimentation are at the core of surf culture, so yes it is definitely worrying to thing of surf products as becoming homogenized. The demand is there from the customers and boards builders are always going to try and push the limits. The issue we see is trying to connect the two.
Nowadays e-com is everything but negligible in the surfboard market: how do you deal with this channel (D2C, distribution partners, etc.)?
Nothing will replace the in person experience of a local retailer. E-Commerce does have the power to relay a lot of information very quickly though and we use it for that. Our territories across the globe, retailers and other partners all have online presences that work together to share information with the consumer and sales associates. These online presences create something almost similar to a cell phone service map. In the end our goal is to get good product to as many good people as we can. In the end online sales really benefits the consumers while having very few drawbacks when communicated and managed properly between retailers, distributors and partners.
The Magic rocker, Magic rails, and the Magic hull are unique to Walden Surfboards, the front 1/2 of the hull is concave, this single concave transitions into a double concave in the rear, and the back 1/3 transitions into a moderate “V”. The concave nose adds lift and stability, perfect for noseriding. The double-concaved hull and hard rails make the board fast, stable, responsive, and maneuverable in all conditions. The Magic rails are hard, they tend to be harder than most other longboards, the unique bottom curves & bevels keep the rails from catching, unlike most other hard rail boards.
The Micro Magic has all the best attributes of a longboard packed into a small, easy-to-maneuver, performance-oriented board under 7ft long. Riders will love how the extra volume under the chest increases paddling power and find the full rails improve stability while maximizing float through flat sections. A complete longboard outline combined with the 2+1 fin option means riders can even noseride the Micro Magic, tapping into traditional log vibes. The option to switch to a 4-fin setup maximizes the board’s drive allowing high speed and critical surfing in the wave’s pocket.
Walden Surfboards was the first company to design an entire line of surfboards just for women called Walden Wahine, ( Wahine is Hawaiian for a girl) we didn’t just add a token pink surfboard to our existing men’s line but rather we created an entire range of surfboards for the full range of women surfers. We slimmed out the dimensions and made a slightly narrower Magic Model, we kept all the performance but sized the boards especially for women