#80 FEBRUARY / MARCH 2016 €5
CAPITA’S BLUE MONTGOMERY
COMBATTING CHANGING RETAIL LANDSCAPE
RETAILER PROFILE: BURNSIDE, NL
BRAND PROFILES, BUYER SCIENCE & MUCH MORE
TREND REPORTS: SNOWBOARDS, OUTERWEAR, GOGGLES, MOUNTAIN SAFETY, WETSUITS & SKATE HARDWARE.
Editor Harry Mitchell Thompson
Surf & French Editor Iker Aguirre
Skate Editor Dirk Vogel
Senior Snowboard Contributor
German Editor Anna Langer
SUP Editor Robert Etienne
Graphic Design Séréna Lutton
Web Media Manager Denis Houillé
WEATHERING THE AGE OF UNCERTAINTY
In our industry, the weather and the business
process were once factors that had a certain
level of predictability. The seasons would roll
through year after year and the business cycle
meant that A plus B, would equal C. Now we
are faced with uncertainty; no one knowing
what is over the horizon and making planning
more like a spin on the roulette wheel. For the
boardsports community it’s tougher than others,
as the weather is a key factor in creating
demand for our products. Having said that,
even if the snow was to fall on time, we are
still facing many challenges. The complex retail
environment has shops and brands with their
backs against the wall, and even though this
winter started with a strong united front, it only
takes one major retailer to hang up the discount
signs for the whole market price structure to
Brands and retailers must work out how to deal
with this new reality because they both need
each other. Bricks and mortar stores provide
brands and the industry with a window into the
real world that cannot be replaced by a purely
online format, and it’s these shops who provide
our business with its identity and are the
cornerstone of their local scene (see P.45).
The power to control the pricing environment
Insa Muth, Marie-Laure Ducos, Sam Grant
Jokin Arroyo, Benoît Brecq, Gordon Way, Fabien
Grisel, Franz Holler, Anna Langer, David Bianic,
Siana Ivanova, Gayle Hockin, Kirtsy Tippett,
Advertising & Marketing
22 Friars Street, Sudbury
Suffolk, CO10 2AA. UK
Boardsport SOURCE is published bi-monthly
© ESB. All Rights Reserved
rests with product owners – the brands, and
they need to find ways to ensure a decent
margin can be made by themselves and by
retailers. The death of margin, which is a hot
topic in the Internet world, leads to the death
of brands and retailers, meaning there is a real
common interest for brands and retailers to
Adding another element into the mix, SIA have
announced that they are moving their Snow
Show to early December in 2017, meaning
deadlines for global sales meetings will move
forward, which will no doubt impact on the
snowboard business process in Europe. How
European winter trade events react to this
will be one of the hot topics of 2016, but the
solution needs to be one that enhances the
mutually beneficial relationship between brands
and bricks and mortar.
The SOURCE team looks forward to catching up
with as many brands, retailers and distributors
as possible over the coming demo and
tradeshow season in January.
Harry Mitchell Thompson & Clive Ripley
Editor & Publisher
P.97 MOUNTAIN SAFETY FW16/17 TREND REPORT
P.99 BUYER SCIENCE: TORLEIF AARSKOG MYHRE,
P.17 ISPO PREVIEW
P.18 TRADE SHOW PREVIEWS
P.101 SKATE FOCUS: DWINDLE DISTRIBUTION’S
P.21 RETAILER PROFILE – BURNSIDE, HOLLAND
P.23 SNOWBOARDS FW16/17 TREND REPORT
P.105 BRAND PROFILE: WESTBEACH
P.41 SKATE HARDGOODS 2016 TREND REPORT
P.106 BRAND PROFILE: MOONSHINE
P.45 COMBATTING THE NEW RETAIL LANDSCAPE
P.108 BRAND PROFILE: MAMBO
P.49 GOGGLES FW16/17 TREND REPORT
P.110 BRAND PROFILE: HEIMPLANET
P.59 RIDE O’METER
P.112 SUPPLIER PROFILE: KOROYD
P.62 BIG WIG: CAPITA FOUNDER BLUE MONTGOMERY
P.65 WETSUITS FW16/17 TREND REPORT
P.116 NEW PRODUCTS
P.71 FROM EGOSYSTEM TO ECOSYSTEM
P.123 MARKET INTELLIGENCE
P.74 WOMEN’S OUTERWEAR FW16/17 TREND REPORT P.134 EVENTS
P.86 MEN’S OUTERWEAR FW16/17 TREND REPORT
P.136 ONE EYED MONSTER
On the cover: Rasmus Ostergaard - Tailgate Alaska
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publishers. Full acknowledgement of author, publisher and source must be given. The views expressed
in this publication are not those necessarily held by the Publisher. ISSN # 1478-4777
BRAVO SPORTS BUYS PRO-TEC
FROM DYE PRECISION
Bravo Sports Corp has acquired Pro-Tec from Dye for an undisclosed
fee. Pro-Tec were acquired by Dye Precision Inc just three years ago and
Bravo themselves were acquired earlier this year by a Los Angeles-based
private equity firm called Transom Capital Group. Bravo Sports includes
brands such as Kryptonics and Darkstar.
GOLDCOAST LAUNCHES ASSEMBLY AND
DISTRIBUTION CENTRE IN HOLLAND
GoldCoast Skateboards has launched their European entity, GoldCoast
EU, a fully functional assembly and distribution centre in Loosdrecht
Holland. GoldCoast has been in the European market for five years and
the European HQ is a means for them to better serve the distributors,
retailers, and customers in the region.
VENTURE SNOWBOARDS TO RETURN
After suddenly closing last autumn, Venture Snowboards has now
announced their plans for return in the 16/17 winter.. Klem Branner and
his wife Lisa, founders and owners of Venture, together with their team,
will be devoting their time to research and development in order to prepare
for a strong comeback with new ideas and projects.
SIA SNOW SHOW MOVES DATES
TO EARLY DECEMBER
American wintersports tradeshow SIA Snow Show has announced that as
of 2017 it will be shifting its dates forward in the calendar to “better align
with the current state of the industry’s buying season.” For 2017, the SIA
Snow Show will take place from December 5-7. The show has delayed its
dates until 2017 in order to give brands as much time as possible to adjust
to the change.
JARDEN ACQUIRED BY NEWELL RUBBERMAID
K2, Ride and Volkl’s parent company Jarden is to be acquired by consumer
product company Newell Rubbermaid. The merger is expected to save the
companies over $500 million per year in cost savings through back office
synergies. Newell Rubbermaid values Jarden at $60 per share, with an
overall value of Jarden at $15.4 billion. Jarden shareholders are expected
to receive $21 a share in cash and 0.862 shares of Newell Rubbermaid.
The new combined company will have $16 billion in annual revenue.
BURTON OPENS TWO STORES IN SWITZERLAND
Burton has opened two new stores; one in Flims and one in neighbouring
Laax. The stores offer a full range of Burton and anon. products. To
celebrate, Burton had a Riglet Park set up, which saw over 100 kids
introduced to snowboarding.
AGENDA LONG BEACH - ‘THE POINT’ SURF
SPECIFIC SECTION APPEARS FOR A SECOND
TIME AT THE EVENT
Last season, Agenda Long Beach premiered a unique element to its
diverse line-up with The Point. After much success, the specialized surfcentric section of the show is back for the upcoming 2016 season, making
its second official appearance at Agenda Long Beach.
SHRED INTRODUCES REVOLUTIONARY
Shred have introduced INFINITE R.A.A.TM (Infinite Direction Rotational
Acceleration Absorption – patent pending) to the market. This is a material
for use in their helmets which will mimic the behaviour of the fluid between
the skull and the brain to maximise protection on impact. The technology
absorbs rotational impact without adding any extra weight to the product.
THE NORTH FACE FOUNDER DOUGLAS
TOMPKINS DIES IN KAYAKING ACCIDENT
The North Face founder Douglas Tompkins has died aged 72 after a kayaking
accident in Southern Chile on December 8. Tompkins died of hypothermia
after the kayak he was in capsized in choppy waters. Tompkins founded
The North Face with his wife in 1964, before also starting the ESPRIT
clothing company in 1968.
VOLCOM APPOINTS NEW CEO
Long serving Volcom employee Jason Steris is leaving the company, and
current Kering CEO of Action Sports brands at Kering, Todd Hymel will
take over the role of Chief Executive Officer. Steris joined the company
in 1995 as a National Sales Manager (U.S) and then filled the position
of Chief Operating Officer in 1998, before taking the reins as CEO from
January 1, 2014. Todd Hymel was previously moved from Kering HQ in
Paris to Orange Country, California to run the Action Sport division for
Kering and Hymel has been with the company since 2008.
NEW MANAGING DIRECTOR
UK-based surf brand Animal have appointed Paul Fowler as their new
Managing Director, effective the beginning of January 2016. Fowler has
previously held exec roles at fashion brands including Ben Sherman and
HEAD STRENGTHENS MARKETING
& DISTRIBUTION IN AUSTRIA & GERMANY
HEAD are to consolidate their German and Austrian businesses,
improving marketing and distribution throughout both regions. Rainer
Schramm, Director of HEAD Germany GmbH has now also taken over the
responsibility of HEAD Austria, as long time employee Bob Kock is due
to stand down from the position at the end of the year. Walter Zehrer
has been put in charge of Sales & Marketing of both regions for HEAD’s
Performance Sportswear, Snowboards and Protection categories and Ralf
Eisenhut will run the Austrian and German overall winter sports category.
BRUNOTTI HIRES ANOUK VAN HAASTER
AS PR MANAGER
Brunotti have appointed Anouk van Haaster as their new PR Manager. Van
Haaster has previous PR experience with fashion, sports, interior & travel
publications and worked in her previous position, PR & Content Manager
at Press Only agency, for six years.
NIXON OPENS SECOND STORE IN LONDON
California-based watch and accessories brand Nixon announced the
opening of its newest London store at 31 Neal Street in the renowned
shopping destination of Seven Dials. This is Nixon’s second brick and
mortar location in London, joining its Carnaby location on Newburgh
Street that opened in late 2014.
MELON OPTICS HIRES NEIL SLINGER
Melon Optics have appointed industry vet Neil Slinger to handle the
development and market strategy for Melon within the International
market. Slinger was most recently working as European Brand Manager
for Scandinavian apparel brand Colour Wear and before that was Head
Buyer at Blue Tomato.
MUNICH, JANUARY 24-27, 2016
ISPO continues to dominate the European winter trade show schedule
with more than 2,500 brands filling over 100,000 sq metres of
exhibition space and offering an international flavour that no other
show can match. For 2016 the show has moved back to the traditional
Sunday to Wednesday schedule and the hall layout has been changed.
The action sports segment is relocated to the east side of the
complex into halls B5, B6 and A6, to provide easier access via its own
underground stop Messestadt Ost and creating a more concentrated
action sports community. Welcoming visitors to the action sports
themed East Entrance will be the all-new Action Sports Lounge in hall
B6. Exhibitors, retailers, media and athletes are welcome to meet here
for a drink, some food or to get away from it all for a moment.
The snowboard labels exhibiting in hall A1 in the past will now be
in hall B6. In addition, the miniramp, now in association with new
partners Munich Mash, and the skate and longboard Embassy brands
will all also be located in B6 creating a predominantly action sports
hardgoods hall. The other platforms to be found in this exhibition hall
include ISPO Inspire, Tailgate Munich (Snowboard-Freeriding/Split
Boarding), ISPO Inspire, ISPO Tandem Space, and Monochrom City,
which sees the theme ‘Dark and Light’ in collaboration with innovative
art curators Stroke, combining digital arts and visual effects.
Tailgate Alaska returns for its fourth edition at ISPO. With the freeride
sector gaining serious momentum, the Tailgate Munich world freeride
expo celebrates the segment, while also providing their knowledge and
experience to ensure the safety issues related to this side of the sport
are also taken seriously. Also returning for its fourth edition is the
ISPO Longboard Embassy (hall B6), where organisers are promising
more booth parties than ever before with many brands inviting athletes
and artists to share experiences with retailers and distributors. ISPO
Inspire has a new tagline for 2016: ‘Be Part Of The Movement’, which
they are using to encourage everyone from the industry to come
together and give sustainability and best practice in action sports the
time and attention they deserve. Within ISPO Inspire, Greenroom Voice
is teaming up with AIR to curate a show on the Circular Economy
- something of particular importance to the action sports industry
because many of the sports we practice use materials where their key
products are based on fossil fuel fibres, plastics and composites.
In hall B5 the focus is on general snow apparel, cameras, ISPO Cold
Water Surfing and Sneakology. The ISPO Brandnew Award will now
also make its home in the soft goods hall. The CWS Platform’s first
outing was a great success in 2015, and it returns for 2016 to hall B5,
providing associated brands with the only b2b community platform
for surfing in Europe. The platform will host daily presentations from
industry experts, including platform sponsor Patagonia’s Gabriel Davis,
who looks to build on last year’s success for 2016: “Together with
other surf companies we want to build a winter focus point for surf
at ISPO. A place where surfers, the industry and retailers can come
together to celebrate the best of winter surf product innovation.” New
for 2016, ISPO introduce their Sneakology platform which will have the
#onehundred exhibition featuring 100 legacy sneaker items that will
see presentations explaining a select few of the 100 sneakers over the
duration of ISPO, allowing for those brands showcasing to explain their
products to a larger retail audience within the sneaker business.
Hall A6 has another returning favourite, The ISPO Freeski Summit
sponsored my Mips. The platform will host discussions, interviews,
photography, art and product presentations from the Freeski industry’s
finest up and coming brands, all centred around a bar and relaxation
area and providing a platform for all brands associated with Freeski
and Backcountry to speak to retailers on the continent’s biggest stage.
In the middle of the hall, OSV’s Camp de Base common booth space
will represent 22 French companies and is the place to be for the
French industry and an ideal location to grab a coffee, a meal from
the on-booth restaurant, run this year by La Suite, or plan important
meetings with retailers, distributors, and other key contacts. This
year, fashion shows during the first three days of the trade show
will showcase new and innovative French products, and several fun
surprises will set the rhythm for the evening parties organized by the
At the far end of Hall A6 the SUP platform will be part of the Water
Sport Village, where brands will be able to present their products in a
20m/10m/1m water basin. At ISPO, SUP brands have the opportunity
not only to talk to clients from their existing markets, but as part of the
largest sporting tradeshow in Europe, they can also talk to retailers
looking for growth from other markets.
Also new for 2016 is the ISPO Swallow Snow Contest, a rail jam
contest, which will take place over the first two days of the tradeshow.
The Action Sports Lounge will see an action sports get together, with
drinks and food after the jib jam has wrapped up each evening. To
mark the end of the rail contest on the Monday, ISPO and Women In
Boardsports are celebrating by throwing a party.
So with the show now presenting an even stronger skate, surfing and
paddle offering on top of its traditional strengths in the winter sports
markets, action sports retailers - no matter what their specialization should make the trip to Munich to keep themselves at the forefront of
TRADE SHOW PREVIEWS
SLIDE, JANUARY 19-21, TELFORD, UK
Slide returns to Telford in the English midlands in January, positioning
itself before ISPO for the second year in succession. The show is the
first in Europe to exhibit the snowsports industry’s products for the
16/17 winter. The early dates give buyers plenty of time to make their
selections whilst meeting order deadlines for production. This paid
off in 2015 as both exhibitor and visitor attendance improved and an
impressive 75% of visitors were key decision makers.
Slide is the only opportunity for UK retailers to see so many brands
under one roof, making it the key event in the UK snow industry
calendar and an easy decision for specialist retailers. The show will
host to an impressive range of brand names in the 2220 metre square
exhibitor space. As well as attracting key hardware brands, there’s
been a modest increase in apparel brands attending the show, while
accessories like headwear and eyewear are well represented as well.
By time of going to print around 250 brands had signed up including:
32, Airhole, Amplid, Arbor, Atomic, Big Balls Collective, Bent Metal,
Bern, Bollé, Buff Headwear, Columbia, Dakine, Dare, Dirty Dog
Eyewear, Dragon, Drake, Endeavor, Giro, Gnu, Head, K2 Snowboards,
Lib Tech, Madison, Melon Optics, Nike Vision, Nitro, Northwave,
Ortovox, Oakley, O’Neill, Patagonia, Picture, Planks Clothing, Poc,
Protest, Ride, Rojo, Rossignol, Roxy, Salomon, SnoKart, Smith, Sweet
Protection, Trespass, Völkl, Westbeach, Xensr and Zeal Optics. New
exhibitors to the show for 2016 include Big Balls Collective, Blitz
Eyewear, Sunny cam, K-nit, Cuddl Duds, Heat Holders and Xensr and
brands retuning to the show include Melon Optics, Man O’Leisure, Dirty
Dog, Oakley and Bloc Eyewear.
There will then be a presentation of the synopsis of SIGB’s work over
the past year followed by an open forum and everyone’s welcome to
come along and have their say. A key topic will undoubtedly be the
SIGB’s Go UK Buy UK campaign, celebrating home-based retailers.
There will be a display of the finalists for the three Slide Awards
categories: hardware, software and accessories which retailers, media
and industry experts will vote on, with the winners announced at the
SIGB AGM on the Wednesday evening. For those who’ve talked enough
shop during the day, the serious business of ten-pin bowling takes
place on the evening of the first day of the show.
On-site hotels mean visitors and exhibitors can walk the few metres
from hotel to show, and Telford is well served by the road and rail
network meaning travel to and from the show is as easy as it gets.
Free parking and a free shuttle from the train station to the exhibition
centre help make the trip a painless one. Doors open at 9am and winds
up at 6pm on the first two days and at 4pm on the final day.
SPORT-ACHAT WINTER, MARCH 7-9, LYON, FRANCE
Now in its fifth year, Sport-Achat is designed to work alongside Sport
Air’s other business-to-business events Snow Avant Premiere (the on
snow demo test) and ASAP (a clothing specific event held in Annecy).
After attending these earlier test events retailers can then go to SportAchat to finalise their orders. Last winter 350 exhibitors, 640 brands
covering 20,000 square metres of exhibition space and 3907 buyers
took part in the show. A similar number are expected this winter.
Situated in Lyon, the show is perfectly based to allow retailers from
across the Alps to attend.
‘Crème Fraiche’, the new space for new brands launched at the
summer show, in collaboration with FIFAS, OSV and EuroSIMA will
make its first winter appearance. Sixteen companies exhibited at
Crème Fraiche last year, and more are expected this time round.
Situated right at the entrance to the show, Crème Fraiche gives
all visitors the opportunity to view both new innovations and new
products before moving onto the other exhibition areas.
The highlights brand from all exhibiting at Crème Fraiche will receive
Brands attending who are active in the snowboard market include: 32,
686, Adidas, Airhole, Bern, Billabong, Black Diamond, Bolle, Brunotti,
Capita, Dakine, DC, Deeluxe, Drake, Douchebags, Evoc, Flow, Giro,
Head, Jones, K2, Karakoram, Neff, Nixon, Nitro, Nidecker, Northwave,
Now, Oakley, Osprey, Picture, Poc, Pow, Protest, Patagonia, Quiksilver,
Ride, Rip Curl, Roxy, Smith, Salomon, Shred, Sinner, Slash, SP
Gadgets, Spy, Sweet Protection, Union, Verdad, Volkl, Von Zipper, West
Snowboarding and Yes.
The show is open from 9am till 7pm on the Monday and Tuesday
and 9am to 6pm on the last day. On the Monday evening from 7pm
all participants are invited by the Sportair team to the Sport-Achat
opening party for fun and networking. Sport-Achat is a must visit for
the French winter sports industry as the vast selection of products
and brands makes the show an effective, fast and efficient use of
time. There will be daily seminars covering topics such as: new
technologies, innovative fabrics, sports and fashion synergies and
there will be two conferences on skiing. Sportair can offer discounted
rates on hotel rooms and also have a 20% off voucher for trains
Burnside is a boardsports store offering way more than just product to their local scene. Based in Deventer,
Holland, Burnside have their bricks and mortar store selling everything from skateboards to snow hardgoods
and outerwear. And in 2009 they even opened their own cable park for the local wakeboard community.
Winning the 2014 Vans Shop Riot series, Burnside are the real deal and are fully deserving
of SOURCE’s Retailer Profile for our 80th issue.
Please give a brief history of your store.
Herm Golbach started out in 1986 being the first Burton and Vans
sales rep in The Netherlands. He started a shop in 1988, at first as
a franchise store under the Rodolfo’s Amsterdam flag. But when he
decided to do his own thing, Burnside was founded. The shop in the
centre of Deventer quickly filled up with snowboards, surfboards,
skateboards, bikes and kites and was the hangout for skaters from far
and near. After 10 good years he found a bigger place just outside the
city centre that also had space for one of the first indoor skate parks in
The Netherlands. Nowadays, Burnside is going strong and includes a big
pro-board shop with snowboard service facilities, an indoor skate park
and a construction company for building and designing skate parks. In
2009, we started Burnside Cablepark; a full obstacle wakeboard park
and a restaurant with a terrace to chill on and get a decent bite to eat.
We host 10+ events every year, such as the famous Vans Shop Riot, the
Burnside Open Championships (BOK series) in four different categories,
(B)rookie Skateboard Cup for kids and the Liquid Force Railbattle for
wakeboarding. And of course we wouldn’t be where we are today
without the help of present and past Burnside crew members. We
currently have a team of 12 full-timers that are all experienced in our
sports and make everything work the ‘Burnside way’.
Could you explain why you don’t have an online store?
Burnside chooses to be a live shop and not run a web shop. We believe
100% in service and think we can do this the best way with our personal
approach. However, since May 2014, we started an alternative to buying
from a web shop with the creation of our unique Burnside Whatsapp
Service. This way, the customer can have direct online contact with the
shop at their own convenience, but where we can still provide them with
great service with all the necessary information and even pictures.
It always surprises us how badly people are informed trying to shop
online. With our Whatsapp service the result is often much better. We
can honestly say that we’ve saved many people from getting a bad deal
they otherwise would have had from a web shop.
For us it is very important to find the best suitable boots, bindings or
boards for our customers. If they are not satisfied with their choice,
even after a week in the Alps, they can come back and exchange it
for something else. This gives our customers peace of mind when
purchasing snowboard and wakeboard hardware, as they know they
cannot make a wrong choice.
What are the benefits of having a physical shop over simply having an
We believe that “stores with doors” in the future will become more
important again because of bad experiences people have with online
shopping. We think the personal touch and our way of dealing with our
clients works out well for everyone. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Our customers are the key in this whole adventure and we want them to
come back and share their experiences and bring in all of their friends
Does your store sponsor athletes, competitions, etc?
We have a huge team that includes the top skateboarders, BMXers,
wakeboarders and bladers (inliners) in Holland. It helps us to stay in
touch with different scenes and it makes people stoked to ride, whatever
the discipline. With our Burnside skateboard team we won the European
Vans Shop Riot finals in 2014. We are really proud of this. All these guys
started out as little skate-rats in our park and to see them win this was
a great moment for us. Besides sponsoring riders we organise many
events. With these events we try to help the different scenes from within
and by doing so, create a positive vibe around everything we do. We
have some serious contests going on but the main thing is to have fun
together. `Always look on the burn-side of life’.
For more info please visit:
SNOWBOARDS FW16/17 : TREND REPORT
ISPO? Already? It’s time to turn our attention to the board racks and flag up exactly what needs checking out as you’re walking
the aisles at this year’s show. After a somewhat chaotic eighteen months of pull-outs, closures, reshuffles and factory changes,
the dust is settling and the snowboards of tomorrow are looking brighter, shinier and better than ever before.
Read on as our snowboard writer Tom Wilson-North has a look at the best of the bunch.
KEY NEW MODELS - FREERIDE
Directional big mountain and freeride boards are receiving a lot of the
R&D dollars next year. A key release is Capita’s Warpspeed, which
integrates shaping attributes (read: sidecut and camber) from the
Supernova and The Black Snowboard of Death. Under the hood of this
wide chassis you’ll feel forged carbon tips for chatter reduction and
a refined Omega Mark II base for high speed. Over at Rome, their new
Blur has been built for “freeriding big European mountains, whether
you are on piste or off piste, according to their Sales Manager Philipp
Kämmerer. “It’s an evolution of our Hybrid Positive camber design, and
is a highly responsive board for precision, power and speed”.
We found the same adjectives on the label of the Burton Gatekeeper,
which will be the latest addition to the relooked Family Tree capsule.
“We reached out to guides all over the globe and worked with them to
develop the best board to use when guiding. It was really interesting to
know what needs they had. The board that came out is pretty unique and
we definitely wouldn’t have come up with it by ourselves”, Burton’s VP
of Hardgoods Equipment, Chris Cunningham told us.
The Jones Flagship gets a re-tool and upgrade with new SPOON nose
and tail bevel, and new basalt and flax fibres reinforcing its already
burly core. Goodboards are using basalt too - volcanoes beware, there
won’t be much of it around at this rate. There’s a new Iikka Backstrom
freeride model from DC - a first for them - and a fully redesigned
Optimistic from Yes, which will sit between the PYL and 420.
KEY NEW MODELS - POWDER BOARDS
An older demographic is a wealthier demographic, and a wealthier
demographic loves chucking Euros at avoiding back leg burn. Hence the
continued prevalence of innovative powder shapes. Marhar’s lightweight
Lumberjack sounds rad, with a 3D base for funnelling the snow outward,
like the hull of a boat. There’s a sick looking shape from Dinosaurs
Will Die called the Pow Reaper, and Kazu Kokubo gets a pro model pow
shred from Capita with bamboo core, powder nose and tapered tail.
KEY NEW MODELS - SOFTBOOT CARVING
Say what? Softboot carving is an important sub trend we identified
which has driven development of some fairly unique sticks. “It’s a riding
style we personally enjoy, the riding you would do on an average day in
the resort when there is no good snow off piste”, says Nicholas Wolken
"Directional big mountain and freeride boards are receiving
a lot of the R&D dollars next year."
"It’s a riding style we personally enjoy,
the riding you would do on an average
day in the resort when there is no good
snow off piste"
“It seems like the new generation of riders is looking way back for
inspiration”, says Rossignol’s Arnaud Repa. “So it’s no surprise to
see asym boards coming back. We’re introducing Asym LITE on our
Trickstick with a pressure-sensitive sidecut radius on toe and heel
sides”. We are stoked on this setup and can’t wait to try the construction
out and decode the science behind it.
KEY NEW MODELS – WOMEN’S
In women’s boards there’s a 20th Anniversary B-Pro from Gnu - has
it really been that long, Barrett? This deck is a sure seller with all the
Mervin knowhow and eco philosophy, C3 camber and Magne-Traction.
The graphic story delves into the history of the board, in what can
only be described as an explosion of flying pigs and unicorns. Over at
Salomon there’s a cool looking deck called the Rumble Fish, which is a
mix between the Gypsy and the Sickstick, and Smokin’s future freeride
platform called the Judy Jetson is aimed at experienced shredders. At
the lower end, Roxy have two new price point packages made in Austria
and Asia respectively called the Wahine and the Poppy.
KEY NEW MODELS - KIDS
I’m not sure what took us so long, but it’s great to finally see boards for
kids from a wide spread of brands instead of just the industry’s biggest
players. Wi-me are offering kids boards as a bundle with the purchase
of any adult board. They’re calling it the Rad Dad and Bomb Mom
project. “We want to help grow our sport back. People in the millennial
age group got jobs, started families, bought houses...life happened. We’d
like to extend the olive branch and invite them back”, explains Wi-Me’s
Jeff Lavin. Good job guys.
As part of their 25th anniversary, Never Summer are doing a line of
mini Protos from 80cm to 110cm, and Jones are showcasing a high
performance deck called the Prodigy aimed at young freeriders. DC have
a Ply Mini, and Flow have a pretty special new product called the Micron
Snowday. It’s a full EVA wrap deck with retractable pull cord, generous
sidecut and Optix 200 Base; they’re calling it the “first noboard for kids”.
Exciting times for ankle biters.
KEY NEW MODELS - FREESTYLE
If all mountain freestyle is your thing, you can’t miss the big inline
release of the Gnu Mullair, Nicolas Muller’s Mervin pro model with
directional C3 and mild taper. Nico swears it’s the best board he’s ever
ridden and whilst your demands of the deck may be somewhat lower
than his, the recycled UHMW sidewalls, clear topsheet and FSC core
will lift your spirits while you’re underperforming. Swiss artist and long
time pal of Nico’s, Alain ‘lain’ Schibli is on graphic duties. Elsewhere,
Head have an intriguing deck called the Pilot aimed at the mature rider
in search of side hits, and Verdad are bringing back a Demir Julia pro
from Korua - the runaway success story from last year. Their all new
Yoloracer 156 and Trenchdigger 165 are designed for groomer riding and
high-speed sidecut jibbing.
We are stoked to see a full new program from Nidecker called Snow
Surf. The concept is in a similar vein - narrower stances, more angle
on the front foot and optional canting on the back foot to nail down that
surfy feeling on and off piste. The shapes are all hand drafted, with no
computers. There’s also a new deck from Völkl plugging into the same
trend. It’s called the Pace and excels on freshly groomed pistes. The
tapered core and fishtail mean it’ll work off-piste just as well, and could
prove a pivotal release for the brand.
KEY NEW MODELS - OLD SCHOOL
New is old, old is new. Burton’s Backyard project sees another reissue
along the lines of the uber-limited Craig Kelly from this year - they
wouldn’t confirm it, but my money is on a Brushie Trout. You’ll find retro
un...inc graphics from Yes on the Optimistic, and Ride have delved into
their back catalogue and come back with an all-new Timeless, this time
with aluminium core and topsheet.
“An older demographic is a wealthier demographic,
and a wealthier demographic loves chucking Euros
at avoiding back leg burn. Hence the continued
prevalence of innovative powder shapes.”
model called the DJXIII. There’s a refinement to Amplid’s Paradigma with
greater surface area under the tips and an additional insert pack out
back for pow days. And finally there’s a new model from Borealis called
the Glyph, which is produced using all-eco, non-chemical processes.
In park boards, Ride’s Warpig eschews sizing convention and is either
Small or Large. Over to their Global Brand Director Sean Tedore:
“Warpig is an aggressive slashing, skier spraying, park lapping machine.
The compact size and quick sidecut will destroy a derby course, or
outrun ski patrol. This board will do anything you want to do, and freak
out all the squares while you are doing it”. Palmer’s Burn is a real
beauty with wood veneers, and Arbor have a limited edition Franck April
Westmark, but it’s Salomon’s Ultimate Ride which is floating our boat the
most; it’s a pinnacle top-end product by Bode Merrill with asym twin shape,
a quadratic Equalizer sidecut and a layer of carbon along the sidewalls.
Base contours, still, remain very much a point of contention. “Rocker is
dead. No seriously, rocker and flat contours are lifeless boards. They
make learning and pushing snow around easy, but the demand is for
traditional camber or some variation of a hybrid camber profile”, says
DC’s David Appel. The pro-camber trend is global and universal; some
brands are even going for extended mega-camber - just check out the
high arcs of the Wi-Me Get Awesome 25mm, the Lobster Sender or the
Rossignol Retox. “We’re taking it slowly with just one board though,”
say Rossi, “because riders’ demands usually only make it to the general
public after two or three years”.
"Rocker is dead"
Dave Appel, DC’s Director
of Snowboarding Hardgoods
Lago Snowboards by pro Scotty Lago are coming out of the GP87
factory: “I wanted a factory that was as passionate as I am about
boards,” says Scotty as he confirms his brand is also on the camber
train: “We are camber dominated with parts being flat and early rise so
we get power, control and just a better ride.”
Conversely, rockers still sell, no question. Lib celebrate ten years of
the Skate Banana revolution with a special graphic treatment on this
seminal model, and Marhar report strong continuing demand for their
reverse camber decks. But we are pretty sure that the pointy end of the
market is going to be asking for hybrid or full camber next year.
KEY NEW TECHNOLOGIES
Nowadays, with clients feeling like experts after a twenty-minute Google
session, it’s important to showcase key technologies on the boardwall
and have your staff ready to geek it up.
ABS sidewalls become a thing of the past at Signal - they are replacing
them with a urethane-wrapped core. “ABS plastics can be unpredictable
and if not treated right in its production, it can crack or delaminate. Our
process takes that out of the equation and allows us to have a beautiful,
bomb proof sidewall”, explains Dave Lee. They’ve also got a retake on
old school cap construction called NCC, which is worth a look.
Lib Tech’s Climax Construction, which is showcased on the new Travis
Rice model, is new too. It’s light, environmentally nicer and has a lively
feel, combining Bio Beans topsheet, glass magnesium fibres and extra
carbon. Stablemates Gnu take things a step further with the addition of
6061 T6 Aircraft Aluminium metal fins (yes, fins) on the retro Finsanity.
Rocker Trucks provide the hardware.
Elsewhere, Flow’s Kush Control dampening goes all internal, Nitro
optimize their Koroyd Highlander model and there’s a full retool at
Bataleon. Drake add new die-cut sidewalls which look killer, and DC do
away with their plastic topsheets entirely for significant weight savings.
There’s been a consolidation in snowboard factories over the last few
years. The vast majority of branded snowboards are now made at SWS,
Keil, Mervin, NBL, Meditec and Capita, with various Asian factories and
independent outfits making up the remainder. Now there aren’t that many
places to make decent boards, brands cited sustainability, longevity, and
reliable ship dates as important factors when selecting a manufacturing
Changes abound this year; Jones have moved from the now-defunct GST
to SWS, Amplid go to Capita, Drake go to Meditec and Korua & Fanatic
are moving to NBL in Poland. Stepchild relocate production to China’s
SBF with Cliff & Austin Lee. Flow are building here too, with extra
production requirements going to Taiwan’s Playmaker.
Triaaa maintain their own production facility in Davos, whilst West are
doing a 100% Swiss Made model called La Suprême which will be built
in Reto Niger’s Zen Factory in Interlaken.
“We want to offer our most discerning clients something unique and
never done before, which will never be done again in the same style,”
explains West’s David Lambert.
"As the world leaders in splitboarding
and with a new manufacturing partner,
Jones have upped the game again"
The snowboard market is a bit of a funny one at the moment; nearly all
the brands that we spoke to sell direct to client in one form or another,
which has naturally led to increases in margin. So public prices don’t
need to rise so sharply (despite unfavourable currency pairs and rising
raw materials costs), so many prices are staying constant. “Our entire
line is under $399 (363€) says Academy’s Jeff Baughn. “We believe in
making a quality snowboard that will last for years but at an affordable
price.” Amongst the major brands, peak demand is primarily between
449€ and 600€, with a demand spike around premium models which can
be hard to get hold of. “We get emails all day from people asking where
they can find our top-end Clout Series because the local shops didn’t get
that board in stock”, confirms Endeavor’s Rob Dow.
Splitboarding continues to display steady growth despite shops having
trouble making money from it; there’s always a lot of discounted product
about and the compatibility issues are well documented. But the gear is
looking better than ever. Amplid’s Tanga Tech protects their Milligram’s
carbon laminate from chipping and rubbing in tour mode. Borealis are
showing an eco-friendly splitboard, and Rossignol’s XV Split sees a new
evolution. Arbor have a Brian Iguchi split and there’s a new Travis Rice
uphill snowboard from Lib with a directional, tapered notch swallow and
As the world leaders in splitboarding and with a new manufacturing
partner, Jones have upped the game again; Boltless Bridge tech covers
ugly exposed hardware in the board base, bio-plastic topsheets provide
greater durability, one piece steel edges make everything look tidier and
new Karakoram hardware keeps it tight. There’s also a Storm Chaser
split in the pipeline.
Salomon upgrade their two and four part splits with Plum hooks and
custom Pomoca skins and their four part gets a new binding interface
for global compatibility, even with ski touring toepieces. Völkl add a
Split-Stabilizer to their boards for increased torsional stiffness, and
Smokin’ are ramping up their split game with the addition of Prowder
hardware and a new Judy Split for girls.
Like it or hate it, graphic stories are a big part of any board buy. And
there are some corkers coming up. Santa Cruz have topsheet art
from Jimbo Phillips and Slash are showing collabs with Pleasure
Magazine and High Cascade. Loaded continue on their cork and
bamboo journey, Lobster collaborate with Taka Okawa’s Death Label
snowboard microbrand and we’re liking Light’s coloured look through
a gloss finish, which reminds us of resin tints on surfboards. Vimana
have clean cut Scandinavian design courtesy of TheShallowTree, and
Stepchild are using new guy Henry Jones out of Westchester, plus
some stuff that “will probably lead to a cease and desist”, according
to their legal department. Buddybuddy keep things simple with a clear
topsheet showing off the technical core details, and Nikita’s Expression
model uses a coffee berry print that coordinates with their outerwear
So middle finger to the naysayers - the business of peddling
snowboards is alive and well, and so long as you’re keeping up with
what the customer wants, hustling decks isn’t too hard nowadays. The
brands that you want in your boardroom are the ones that your clients
are asking for; the ones built in decent factories, and distributed by
honest people with a long-term vision for growth. Buy plenty of camber,
buy midline with a scattering of premium, buy some boards for softboot
carving if you think it’ll be cool for longer than a month, and you won’t
go far wrong.
Camber is back
Soft boot carving trend
Important refinements to splitboards
Boards are getting wider
Provocative & evocative graphic stories
SNOWBOARD PRODUCT PICTORIAL FW16/17
Twin Top/Unltd Top
Apikal double Capra
Hope/Pilot/ Instinct DCT
Apollo 56/Trenchdigger/Cafe racer
SK8 Banana/Trice/Utility knife
ROCKER & CAMBER
US PATENT N0. 7798514 NS FACTORY BUILT, DENVER USA
Prototype Two/Twenty Five/Warlock
Fate/Highlander/Team Double Exposure
Diva Magtek/Magtek Split/Trickstick
Sugar/Torah Bright/Xoxo NF
Eyegore/Mummy/ Power Lyte
MADE IN EU
MADE IN EU
MADE IN EU
MADE IN EU
MADE IN EU
MADE IN EU
DJVIII/ Don V Estate /Tropical Storm
The Clone/The Continental /The Conti
La Hache/Six Carro/Achab
Photo : Jart
SKATE HARDGOODS 2016 : TREND REPORT
When it comes to the overall health of the skateboard industry, the hardgoods segment has always been the canary in the
coalmine. Healthy hardgoods mean healthy participation and healthy brands, distributors, and retailers. In our 2016 Trend
Report, we put our finger on the pulse of the hardgoods segment and highlight latest trends in retail. By SOURCE Skateboard Editor Dirk Vogel.
Let’s start this trend report by talking about active participation in
skateboarding, meaning core skaters who bust tricks and break boards
– not cruisers, posers, and mall-grabbers. Luca Basilico at BLAST!
Distribution in Italy is optimistic: “The numbers of skaters are growing,
more good parks are under construction, skateboard schools are
booming, and for the first time we also see good participation among
young girls.” And while law enforcement is cracking down hard on
street skating everywhere in the world, Europe keeps the culture alive:
“Here in Europe there is more street skating than anywhere else in
the world, and it’s a different kind of street skateboarding - the street
lifestyle and the way to live in the plazas and streets, means more of a
‘flow’ type style than hammers,” said Pablo Ribera at Jart Skateboards
In the long run, sustainable growth will come from quality skate parks
and plazas. “Since the number of parks is growing, I assume the
number of participants in park riding will grow, while street is also
on the rise,” said Jörg Ludewig, Co-Owner at Urban Supplies. This
trend has already boosted bottom lines, confirmed Steve Douglas, Vice
President at Dwindle Distribution (Almost, enjoi, Blind, Tensor, etc.):
“Right now Europe’s hardware sales are way up – 27% up from July
to September. But we see in our forward numbers these numbers
are slowing up which is only natural. Overall Europe, outside of
Scandinavia, is very healthy and long may that continue.”
Uwe Ballon at Motion Sports in Austria sees a generational trend
revolving around parks: “A lot of kids are skating all kind of parks –
and so are their dads! So we see a good portion of our skate sales
from kids completes.” Then again, hardcore participation is always a
double-edged sword. “Kids who skate a lot want good cheap boards
– meaning discounted boards – or boards for free!” said FJ Hoeller at
Fresco Distribution. This will always be the same, while many trends
come and go – just look at what happened to crazy shaped decks. “One
year ago, unconventional shapes became hugely popular with brands
like Welcome entering the market, but this trend is definitively slowing
down,” said Chris Allen, director at Shiner Distribution in the UK.
With that said, here are the six trends retailers need to watch out for in
skateboard hardgoods in 2016:
1. DECKS: SLOOOW EVOLUTION.
For a fast-moving sport like skateboarding, technical evolution sure
moves slow. Dimensions have finally found their equilibrium: “Deck
sizes are 8 – 8.25 inches. We still sell decks below 8 as well as decks
above 8.25,” said Jörg Ludewig at Urban Supplies. As the wider deck
trend continues, Enuff skateboards in the UK report: “We’ve completely
stopped sales in 7.5 inch decks.” While unorthodox shapes are trending
out, Luca at Blast! expects: “Blunt and bold noses of shorter decks
are coming next!” Meanwhile, brands such as Dwindle – with Uber
and Impact constructions – are pushing deck technologies, but it’s
up to the retailers to tell the story and educate customers about their
value. “Many new variations to all-maple decks have been developed
in the last five years but still have not caught on greatly,” said Chris at
“The numbers of skaters are growing, more good parks are under construction, skateboard schools are
booming, and for the first time we also see good participation among young girls.”
Luca Basilico, Owner, BLAST! Distribution
2. DECKS: PRICE POINTS STILL UNDER PRESSURE.
Despite positive participation numbers, the deck segment is feeling
the squeeze. “Due to shop decks and local decks and the easy way to
get decks done in small quantities at low price, branded decks have a
fierce competition. Kids do not honour the effort that is behind a brand
and look primarily at the price. Some dealers do that too. The dollar
went so strong versus the euro, so the situation is even tougher,” said
Jörg Ludewig at Urban Supplies. Nevertheless, Chris at Shiner sees
price points dropping: “A few years ago, most decks were £55/ €70
but this has been driven down and the highest-selling volume is now
at the £45/ €60 price. There are also still big volumes of shop boards
sold and this still represents over 30% of total volume.” Ultimately,
nobody is to blame for this trend but the shops, as Enuff Skateboards
pointed out: “Retailers need to fight the temptation to import cheap offthe-shelf China products and deal with established brands to ensure
last year and will certainly grow again for 2016.” Meanwhile, quality
skate tools are in high demand, and Luca at Blast! Suggests: “That FKD
ratchet tool is a must-have!”
5. TRUCKS: LIGHTEN UP.
The truck segment still belongs to the Holy Trinity of companies –
Indy, Venture, and Thunder – hawking up to 80% of sales in some
regions. But Chris at Shiner noted: “While conventional trucks are still
the bulk of the business, sales of hollow light and titanium trucks have
doubled in the last year.” Eric Sentianin, R&D Hardgood Developer at
Dwindle Distribution explains: “The Tensor Mag Light truck is 29%
lighter then the industry standard truck, it features a hollow shell and
kingpin and is made from super light and strong magnesium which is
also amazing for grinding, our riders love them.” Distributors like Luca
at Blast! help spread the gospel: “We carry some of the lightest trucks
on the market with Tensor Mag Light and Theeve Thiax. At first, we
had to push promo and test products to shops. But once skaters try
the difference, if they are into having a lighter board, they will stick to
them. The difference is real!”
Photo : Jart
6. MARKETING GETS TECHNICAL.
Technology not only factors into board constructions, but also the
back-end process of ordering and marketing skate hardgoods. Pablo
at Jart emphasizes that retailers need “access to all the products in
the catalogue of the brands and more importantly, the company or
brand or distributor need to have the best service and communication.”
Most brands provide web marketing collateral, while Dwindle has been
seeing great success with its online pre-book program – also exclusive
product that’s pre-book only – which is supplemented by Goto online
meetings with participating shops. “We have a lot of fun talking about
new product and going over the marketing of the key products,” said
Steve Douglas, encouraging shops to get log-ins from their distributor
or contact EMEA sales manager [email protected] directly.
3. WHEELS: SOFT RIDE, PROVEN QUALITY.
Nothing has changed in terms of preferred wheel sizes: “It’s forever
been 52 mm and probably won’t ever change,” said Uwe at Motion
Sports. But while technology is still a tough sell in decks, the “trend
towards quality reached the wheel market. This was a lot tougher ten
years ago,” said Jörg Ludewig at Urban Supplies. Of course, everyone
has their favourite, including FJ Hoeller at Fresco: “Bones are the best
wheels, and skaters know that, at least the ones that skateboard every
damn day.” Pointing out the hottest trend in the wheels segment, Chris
at Shiner said: “Soft regular shape skate wheels are hot – longboard
softness in a traditional skate wheel shape. Bones, Ricta, and Spitfire
seem to own this market.”
4. ACCESSORIES: SOMETHING EXTRA?
Every well-stocked shop knows that the right accessories at the right
time will bring in extra euros at really decent margins. Asked about
hot trends in the accessories segment, FJ at Fresco said: “Branded
griptape is huge! Grizzly is doing a great job there. Even transparent
is in demand for the younger audience, as many boards have top and
bottom graphics. Other than hardware, skate kids buy a lot of beanies,
caps and socks.” Chris at Shiner also has his finger on a universal
trend: “Rails have now become the biggest-selling accessory in the
Closing this report, let’s address a rumour circulating on the message
boards; namely that certain sports equipment manufacturers will
perfect non-wood, performance skateboard decks in the run-up to the
2020 Olympic Games. The end of Canadian maple? Not so fast, said
Chris at Shiner: “Canadian maple decks have and always will be the
most popular option as there is no substitute to this that has the same
stiffness and pop. Something new is unlikely to prove a great success.”
Jörg Ludewig at Urban Supplies is also sceptical: “Skateboarders are
conservative as hell and very price-conscious on top. Standard 7-ply
seems to stay forever.” Looking ahead, Steve Douglas at Dwindle
offered: “We feel that our DSM wood shop currently makes the best
boards in the industry by far and we are committed to that. The future
will we see boards with no wood? Of course. But when is another
Active participation healthy
Skate parks on the rise
Tech decks tough sell without retailer support
Price points pressured, but steady
“Crazy” shape trend slowing down
Hot accessories: Branded & clear grip; tools, and rails.
Customers want light trucks
Softer wheels, reg sizes from quality brands
THE NEW RETAIL LANDSCAPE
The retail landscape has changed dramatically with the evolution of online shopping and it shows no sign of
slowing down. Black Friday 2015 saw online spending in the UK hit the £1billion (€1.4billion) mark, while the U.S
reached $4.5billion (€4.1billion), making for the biggest one-day spends in both countries’ history. It’s no secret
how difficult bricks and mortar boardsports stores are finding it to compete with online vendors, but pointing the
finger and not doing anything about it doesn’t help anyone. Independent boardsports retailers are where it all
started for our industry, and through a series of articles SOURCE Editor Harry Mitchell Thompson is going to take
a look at what needs to be done for survival in the modern retail environment.
I’m going to kick off the series by focusing on a UK-based scheme
called Go UK Buy UK, which looks to inform consumers of the benefits
of shopping at their local snowsports retailer. The project has been
devised by Snowsports Industries Great Britain and they have based the
concept on five pillars: Sound, clear advice; Comfort and performance;
Worry-free warranty; After sales support; Support the sport.
It’s initiatives like this that are needed to inject life into the industry in
hard times. The main things at work here aren’t new, we all know the
benefits a consumer sees when purchasing from their local retailer;
you just need to make sure that your customers know too. Becca Ritter,
Sparks R&D Co-Founder draws a parallel between the boardsports
industry and all other walks of life in 2016: “Whether you are talking
about food - ‘support your local farmer’, or work – ‘don’t send jobs
overseas’ - or the general consumer market – ‘support your local
economy’. This UK Campaign seems to be right in line with them all.
When dollars (or euros) stay in our community, our local economy
thrives. This is true of all goods, including snowboard gear.”
SOUND, CLEAR ADVICE
The bottom line is that we need core retailers as our industry’s anchor;
they are what give us our identity. Thanks to globalization consumers
can get what they want, when they want it, but it’s local shops who
give the best explanations and use their knowledge and experience
to help fit out a customer. A machine or an online function making a
recommendation based on calculating height, weight and ability will
never be able to compete with sales staff. It’s the local store employees
who are there to give bespoke fittings, tailored to each customer.
David Schmid, owner of Pure Snowboarding shop in Switzerland says
his store’s “key features in stopping customers from buying online
or from multi sports stores are personality and character.” Lorraine
Smith from Subvert in Manchester, England echoes this: “We need to
communicate to potential customers the benefits of buying in a local
independent store, as the reality is those stores will no longer be there
for the consumer to visit and to get honest, friendly advice from staff
who are as passionate about the sport as they are, if things continue to
go the way they are.”
Information is best passed on in person and Damon Street, K2 Sports
UK General Manager has no doubts as to where consumers should seek
advice: “Yes, we can research online but how much easier is it to walk
in store, speak to the snowboarder who’s been where you’re going,
can tell you what you need, can fit your boots and make sure you’re on
the right board to ensure you make the best of every run and hit the
slopes ready?” With so many options now available for purchasing, Tom
Wilson-North of ZeroG, Chamonix fame explains speciality retail’s place
in the 2016 landscape: “If the client wants the cheapest at the expense
of everything else he’ll trawl the web for the lowest price. If he wants
it now he’ll go to the bloke down the road. If he wants a mix of all of it
he’ll find the retailer who fits him best.”
COMFORT AND PERFORMANCE
Snowboard boots are the obvious product that springs to mind with
this category; they just simply can’t be bought online unless they’ve
Warranty issuing is perhaps the best example of where shopping locally
can benefit the customer. No one wants to pay to ship something back to
the manufacturers and when something goes wrong with equipment, a
friendly face saying, “everything’s going to be OK” is invaluable.
Subvert’s Lorraine offers an interesting notion: “Perhaps customers
would think twice if all warranties or issues had to be dealt with from
the shop they bought from, whether this be online or abroad. It would
then be the customer’s responsibility to get the product back to the
store.” This presents an exciting opportunity for small/medium-sized
brands to have a think about.
AFTER SALES SUPPORT
Another field where bricks and mortar retailers are simply in a league of
their own is the after sales service they can provide. Letting customers
know they can have their setup tinkered with, or board serviced at a
cheaper rate after buying with you is what it’s all about. Damon from
K2 advises customers: “Do it right and you’ll be there for two or three
hours and you’ll leave stoked and confident – all set and ready to turn.
Oh, and if it goes wrong the same business will sort it out for you!”
Subvert are killing it in the UK at the moment and owners Lorraine
and Darren are the reason behind this. They organise trips, movie
screenings and competitions, putting Subvert at the heart of scene.
“We do events throughout the summer to try and keep the scene alive
and so that our customers can test next year’s product. We also do a ‘try
before they look to buy’ event. We do a shop trip, again to encourage our
customers to test next year’s kit and give us their reviews, which means
a lot to us. They also get to ride with us; we try and create a community
that they want to be a part of.”
been tried on for size. Which brings us on rather awkwardly to
‘showrooming’, where customers are having the gall to try out boots
in store, only to buy them online. We are hearing that some shops are
now charging a fee for boot fitting, which will then come off the final
cost - something two of our sources are a little dubious of. Trond-Eirik
Husvaeg at Vimana recalls: “Some ten years ago a small quantity of
U.S. shops had customers pay a deposit when getting help picking out
gear. That procedure backfired and I believe it only accelerated online
sales away from brick and mortar.” Lorraine at Subvert is also wary of
the idea: “We could look at charging for boot fits but this is dangerous
as our nearest rivals don’t do so. It could work, but only if every store
got on board with it.”
Subvert are running a demo offer, whereby the customer pays to use a
snowboard at a local resort (or snowdome) and if they like it, the demo
price comes off the final price of the board. Lorraine also talks of “setup discounts, and we have a loyalty point scheme in place; the more
you spend with us, the more points you save, and what do points make…
When questioned on comfort and performance, Julien Durant, CoFounder of Picture Organic Clothing advises that retailers should make
as much noise as possible about their snowboard boot fitting: “Boots
are an important purchase and boot fitting should be carried out for
everyone. Stores should push this in snowboarding more – it works for
ski boot fitting!” Becca from Spark R&D surmises: “Support your local
shops by buying gear from them if you appreciate the ability to hold it in
your hand and get a first-hand look at it.”
SUPPORT THE SPORT
David from Pure Snowboarding in Switzerland has a rather gloomy,
yet sobering analogy for today’s industry, comparing the consumer/
boardsports store relationship to that of a child and its parents. “Kids
are happy to grow up and receive support and security from their mum
and dad, but as they grow older kids forget what their parents did for
them. It’s not until their parents are older and not doing so well that the
kid realises what they’re about to lose. The snowboard industry should
remember the virtues of their roots more than ever.”
Customers need to be reminded that their local boardsports store is so
much more than just a shop; it’s the cornerstone of their local scene.
Talking rather bluntly, Lorraine from Subvert shares her technique:
“Bore them with how hard it is to keep an independent shop afloat! In
the nicest way possible, we educate them on the fact that shops will
only be there for them to try on and demo kit if they support their local
And it is so important that we remind people of this. Where was the
place they first held a brand new snowboard? Where did they go to read
the latest magazine growing up, or to bend the ear of the shop pro?
Their local shop is so much more than a shop, it’s an institution, an
after-school crèche, somewhere you go to escape home and school.
Julien at Picture agrees, but also offers some advice for everyone:
“Local stores represent everything we are as older snowboarders. They
represent snowboard’s identity. But they also have to change and move
Photo : Dragon
GOGGLES FW16/17 : TREND REPORT
Whether you’re just slope cruising, destroying the park or venturing off-piste, you want to see what you’re doing and where
you’re going, making goggles an irreplaceable accessory for mountain adventures. For FW16/17 goggles brands are offering an
ever wider and more diverse choice of products for all the needs you can possibly have.
Anna Langer had a look through the new lines for Winter 16/17 for us.
No matter if the rain is gone, clouds are coming in or it’s a bright
sunshiny day, we all want “to see clearly now” - preferably in all
conditions and every situation we can get ourselves in to. What used
to resemble a song-like utopia is becoming crystal clear reality though,
and not just for high-end models, but offerings of all price points.
Strategy. Gloryfy have a similar feature in their I-Flex® Transformer
dual lens that “changes depending on the light intensity from filter
level 1 to filter level 3,” says Christoph Egger, CEO & Founder. And
VonZipper offers a new “WILDLIFE lens that will increase overall
clarity and distinction in mountain terrain.”
Dragon continue their Transition lenses that “allows the lenses
to adapt instantly to a dark grey activation,” as Product Director
Mike Tobia explains, while Smith’s “ChromaPop filters light at two
specific wavelengths, creating greater colour definition, enhanced
natural colour, and unmatched clarity,” says Global PR Manager Ben
Cruickshank. Shred work with a “colour spectrum selective light
filter”, creating “a lens that mimics the behaviour of noise cancelling
headphones on the plane, to eliminate colour noise while riding,” in
their Contrast Boosting Lens and Zeal introduce the “AUTOMATIC+
line. This new line of polarized lenses automatically adjusts from 33%
to 18%, making it the only lens you need in varying light conditions,”
according to Mike Lewis, Director of Brand Activation & Digital
High quality Zeiss lenses can be found in the whole range from Melon
Optics, goggles from Giro, and Rossignol features their Sonar Lens,
“a contrast enhancement filter that improves colours, brightness and
contours on the slope, in all light conditions” says Flavien Foucher,
Technical Equipment Marketing Manager. POC use the Sonar Lens as
well, with an “exclusive VLT level for the best contrast perception,
high brilliance of colours and contours, especially at high speed and
in changing light conditions,” says Erik Liden, Senior Product Manager
Goggles, and adds: “All our kids specific goggles (POCito) will have
this specific lens for best safety practice. For next season we are also
offering both Oleophobic and Hydrophobic treatments on the absolute
majority of our lenses.”
Smith’s “ChromaPop filters light at two specific wavelengths, creating greater colour definition, enhanced
natural colour, and unmatched clarity,” says Global PR Manager Ben Cruickshank.“ChromaPop filters light at
two specific wavelengths, creating greater colour definition, enhanced natural colour, and unmatched clarity,”
Ben Cruickshank, Global PR Manager.
Sinner combine “photochromic lens with our polarized lens to make
one fantastic all round, all conditions solution SINTEC®/TRANS+®”
explains Dennis van de Ven, Marketing Manager.
Photochromic lenses continue to be the most popular style at
Spektrum, and are also featured on POC, Quiksilver, Roxy and anon.
who offer “more styles that come with Polarized lenses fully installed,
something that has been historically offered as a spare lens only
option,” explains Brand Manager Stephanie Kohn.
Carve, and Giro mention frameless designs among their highlights,
Brunotti have “half frame and frameless” models, gloryfy feature a
“literally frameless design” on their GP3, Sinner go for a “partially
frameless goggle,” Dirty Dog introduce slim-line and semi-framed
models, and also Quiksilver and Roxy offer “rimless goggle frames.”
Dragon extend their seasoned frameless lens system, including
swiftlock technology to the X2s, “which is a smaller size than the
X2 for universal fit,” says Mike Tobia. VonZipper’s new model the
ALT Goggle (Alternate Lens Thing) has a rimless / frameless design
too, “that is super light weight” according to Aecio. And Smith updated
their frameless model too: “In addition to aesthetically modernizing the
look of the I/O, it was important to incorporate the advancements we
have made in goggle manufacturing over the past decade: improved
fit, wider field of view, and improved helmet integration,” states Jon
Raymer, Goggles Category Manager.
Shred on the other hand have their own SHREDWIDE approach that
maximizes the field of view through efficient use of material and
design, creating “the largest possible angle from the eye to the edges
of the frame.” POC follow a similar approach: “Whenever we develop a
goggle we start by maximizing the field of view, which allows the rider
to react earlier to objects approaching from the sides,” putting safety
Spektrum mix it up with some classical models, as do Appertiff and
Ovan, “with harder edges, and lower profile, more tailored fit.”
Photo : Giro
Dragon extend their seasoned frameless lens
system, including swiftlock technology
to the X2s, “which is a smaller size than
the X2 for universal fit,”
Mike Tobia, Product Director
In case you’re still not happy with your view, or you just like to
make your own choice, the number of models that can be changed
quickly, even without gloves, is growing steadily. As is the technology
behind it: such as TSG’s “self-locating earth magnets,” VonZipper’s
4PLAY LENS SYSTEM, Bern’s Lens Pop, Electric’s PRESS SEAL
TECHNOLOGY, anon.’s Magna Tech, Giro’s Snapshot “magnetic
interchangeable lens system”, Spy’s Lock Steady™ & Quick Draw™
systems, and of course Smith’s I/O and Dragon’s APX swiftlock
technologies. Making sure to eliminate any “unreliable or bulky
systems that will limit performance,” Shred have come up with their
very own, patented SIMPLY SIMPLIFIED technology, that also “allows
for a very quick lens replacement,” but without the aforementioned
downsides. Airblaster swear by the “FOG FREE performance” of their
AIR GOGGLES - “spend time shredding instead of ‘quick changing’
Whether you need to wiggle your lens out of it or not, all goggles still
have a frame – to some extent. “Smaller frames not only look modern/
fashionable, they allow more peripheral vision through the spherical
lenses,” explains Dirty Dog’s Operations Manager Tom Lazarus, talking
about their new slim-line and Semi-Framed models. Appertiff, Bern,
At the end of the day (or even the beginning), not even the most
advanced technology or most cleverly adapting lens tint can help you
see, if the goggles don’t sit on your face properly and let snow, fog
and whatever creep behind the lens. Bollé address this with their new
B-Flex technology and its memory shape properties in the new Tsar,
so “the user can adjust the lower part of the frame to his/her face
shape very easily and durably,” as Chloé Pasqualetto, Global Goggles
& Helmets Product Manager states. Carve work with “memory foam
for better comfort and a more adaptable fit across the board,” and
TSG use “flexible PU frames with articulating outriggers that evenly
transfer pressure across brow and nose to ensure a complete seal
against the face,” explains Communications Manager Nadja Herger.
Bern try out a “completely new and eco friendly material: Plusfoam™”
in their high end Eastwood and Monroe frames, which has “higher
impact resistance, a higher coefficient of friction, responds better in
extreme climates, and is 100% recyclable.” Ovan also work with a fully
recycled PE frame that is “eco-friendly, insanely lightweight and soft
for comfort,” while Electric experiment with an injected EVA for the
frame material and thermoset compression moulded silicone in their
new ELECTROLITE material.
While cylindrical lenses were all the rage last year and are still
relevant for Appertiff, Ashbury, Giro, Melon, POC, Rossignol,
Shred, Spy and VonZipper, the majority of goggles have gone back
to spherical lenses, with representatives in the new ranges from
all brands. “We still see cylindrical shapes as a current functional
and stylistic trend,” states Aecio Flavio Costa, Marketing Manger
Europe for VonZipper, and adds: “Spherical goggles still represent
the majority of our goggle sales and are a vital part of VonZipper’s
snow business, especially in the larger-fitting frames.” They also
“We still see cylindrical shapes as a current functional and stylistic trend,”
Aecio Flavio Costa, VonZipper’s Marketing Manger Europe.
At anon., tints range from “Blue Lagoon to mirror,” Melon Optics
introduce “Green and Blue Chrome,” Dirty Dog update their line
with “contemporary Emerald Fusion,” Sinner feature Blue Revo and
Airblaster add a new “Green AirRADium” lens.
FRAME COLOURS & PATTERNS
When it comes to frame designs and colour palettes, there really is
something for everyone next year, no matter what you fancy. Shred
and Zeal opt for neutral colours, POC see “some more mature colours”
entering their range, Appertiff for all black, and TSG mix it up with
white, black, dark blue and purple. Brunotti, Spektrum and Carve add
matt options to their lines, the latter adding “pops of colour at the
banding,” says James.
Photo : Giro
Dirty Dog introduce “brightly coloured frames to match the new
intense mirrors”, Bollé and Brunotti go for bright colours as well, anon.
for pop colours, Appertiff features some neon, TSG Cyan Blue, Sinner
have bright neon colours and Smith let “bold floods of colour be the
focus of the design.” And rounding things off on a softer note, Sinner
and Appertiff add some pastels too. Oakley continue with “strong
colour blocks,” and also nod to their heritage with “the clean Factory
Pilot Blackout and Whiteout colour schemes that use the original
Oakley Factory Pilot logo.”
introduce a new, sleeker model with an “injected toric lens”, a new
approach combining two different orientations, one of them spherical,
that Rossignol also apply to their Maverick model, allowing “a wider
and greater field of vision while remaining compact in terms of height”
LENS TINTS & COATINGS
Black is beautiful, has always been and will always be, especially in
eyewear. From Appertiff’s “all black,” to “Black Chrome” from Bollé
and TSG, to “Smoke Chrome and Black” from Ashbury, to anthracite
at gloryfy, “Dark Smoke” at Quiksilver and “Everyday Smoke” at Ovan.
Carve Brand Manager James Robinson agrees that “traditional tints are
still strong” and adds that “it’s more about the coatings or finishes,”
mentioning Iridium in silver & spectrum colours. Electric feature a new
base tint colour called Brose. “It combines the best properties of our
best selling Bronze lens tint with the highly versatile and performance
enhancing qualities of Rose. Brose is now the base tint colour of
choice in our line and it’s awesome.” Spektrum also use a brown base
“that works for a wide range of light conditions,” says Robert Ohlsson,
CD & Co-Founder.
Mirror coatings continue to be important for many brands, like Bollé,
Brunotti, gloryfy, and are now even used for low-light conditions, as
Robert from Spektrum describes their Clear Red Revo: “a lens for low
light conditions that still has a Revo mirror finish that makes the lens
much more attractive than your regular clear, pink or yellow lens.”
Red is becoming more popular in general, like in Spy’s “all-new Happy
Red Spectra™ lens”, Nike Vision’s “new light rose tint in addition
to grey activation,” anon.’s Red Solex™, Dirty Dog’s Red Fusion, as
“multilayer red with an orange base” from Rossignol, Ovan’s “Code
red low-light lens, designed to improve contrast and terrain clarity in
extremely flat light,” and Quiksilver’s new HD lens tint, “a kind of pink
– amber mix of tint, which offers you the best contrast,” as Stephanie
Fontenille-Leuridan, Goggles and Helmets Product Manager for
Quiksilver and Roxy explains.
Matching outerwear and goggles, Roxy and Quiksilver cross over
patterns between both segments, including “camo inspiration with
hand made painting,” for the guys, next to “an urban-inspired line
for endless park and pipe sessions,” called Treeline for the ladies.
Nike Vision takes inspiration from their sportswear and Shred from
their sunnies, mimicking “the designs of our sunglasses that offer
natural wood temples.” Appertiff have a camo pattern too, Ashbury
opt for stripes, Melon for “Marble, Galaxy, Denim,” Rossignol feature
“geometrical and modern patterns, Sinner have a wide variety from
“bright coloured tropical flower prints” to Aztec/cabin colours,
Nike Vision offer a “tortoise print on a translucent frame and a pop
swoosh logo,” while Zeal incorporate “elements like conifers or Aztec
Last but not least, one of the major trends for next winter is design
collaboration. Dragon has Brian Iguchi and Teton Gravity Research
on board, Giro made capsule collections with legendary shaper Gerry
Lopez and famous punk band the Descendants’ singer Milo, Ovan
collaborate with talented artists, anon. teamed up with Black Scale,
L.A.M.B, Playboy, Disney and Marvel again, and in addition to their
athlete-inspired ID collection, Smith collaborate with Woolrich, High
Fives Foundation, Coal Headwear, and artist Matt Furie. VonZipper and
Airblaster take it even further, adding most snowboarders’ favourite
drink to the mix in their collaborations with breweries, making the
metaphorical “beer goggles” almost real. VZ have teamed with local
California beer brewers St. Archer Brewing Co., and Airblaster feature
“classic PBR colourways with a PBR logo branded strap”, saying “Air
x Beer can be a dangerous combination, but beer goggles are always a
Adapting & Contrast-enhancing Lenses
Rime & Frameless Designs
Quick Change Systems
GOGGLE PRODUCT PICTORIAL FW16/17
Airblaster - Airpill
Airblaster - Shifty
Anon - WM1 meow
Appertiff - Bruce
Bern - Eastwood Teal
Airblaster - PBR colab
Anon - M2 fragment
Anon - M3
Appertiff - Dawg
Bern - Monroe
Bern - Jackson Hunter
Bolle - OTG
Bolle - Schuss
Bolle - Tsar
Brunotti - Hasolo
Brunotti - Hilan
Brunotti - Hisano
Carve - Chamonix
Carve - Eskimo
Dirty Dog - After Burner
Dirty Dog - Mutant
Dirty Dog - Stampede
Dragon - NFX2 TGR collab
Dragon - X1 flex
Dragon - X2S
Electric - Charger
Electric - EGX
Electric - Electrolite
Giro - Balance
Giro - Scan
Gloryfy - GP3 Transformer
Gloryfy - GP4 Fabio Studer
Melon - Parker
Melon - Jackson
Melon - Tropical
Nike - Fade Volt
Nike - Mazot
Nike - Command
Oakley - Lineminer Premium
Giro - LE Blok Gerry Lopez
Oakley - Lineminer
Oakley - Prizm Inferno Hero
Ovan - Magni camo
Ovan - Magni
Ovan - Magni MK
POC - Fovea
POC - Iris
POC - Lid
Quiksilver - Fenom
Quiksilver - Hubble
Quiksilver - QS R
Rossignol - Maverick
Rossignol - Maverick HP
Roxy - Hubble
Roxy - Pop Screen
Roxy - Rockferry
Shred - Simplify
Shred - Simplify Blackout
Shred - Simplify Martial
Sinner - Marble
Sinner - Mohawk
Sinner - Snowstar
Smith - IO 7
Smith - IO Reactor
Smith - Riot Sriracha
Spektrum - G001
Spektrum - G004
Spektrum - G005
Spy - Ace Stitched
Spy - Bravo
Spy - Raider
TSG - Goggle one Viking
TSG - Goggle one Viking
TSG - Goggle two EA
VonZipper - Feenom
VonZipper - Jetpack
VonZipper - Skylab
Zeal - Automatic Forecast
Zeal - Fargo
Zeal - HD2 Camera
SNOWBOARD MEDIA ANALYTICS
Tracking action sports media content globally, through print, web, online videos and social networks, RIDE O’METER is
showcasing a selection of the 2014/2015 snowboard season highlights. Presented by RIDE O’METER.COM
Snowboard Analyst : Adèle Hoffman / Data Engineers : Vincent Charpentier & Valentin Barit
WEB / TEAM EXPOSURE RANKING
420 623 ¤
392 081 ¤
387 090 ¤
374 669 ¤
385 963 ¤
This ranking shows the 5 teams with the highest exposure over
the period in international snowboard web press between August
and November 2015. Endemic snowboard brand Burton tops the
ranking with over 400k¤ of advertising equivalency value and an
impressive 10% logo exposure (% of clippings where the logo is
identified), thanks to superstars Danny Davis and Mark McMorris,
scoring some of the biggest online highlights of the season’s first
half. The 4 other spots are taken by top players in the snowboard
sponsorship landscape, with an exposure value between 350k¤
and 400k¤. Stay tuned to see how this season will unfold, with
hyped video productions and promising contests highlights...
Period analyzed: 1/08/2015 - 30/11/2015
VIDEOS / RIDER AUDIENCE RANKING
CUMULATED AUDIENCE (hrs.)
TOTAL PART (sec.)
1 574 766
Period analyzed: 1/08/2015 - 30/11/2015
This ranking shows the 5 riders with the highest combined number of views in snowboard videos between August and November 2015.
Travis Rice tops the ranking with 15 video parts over the period, most of them released last season but still generating over 1.5M views in 4
months. Danny Davis scored strongly with his Peace Park video series, making every snowboarder on the planet dream of riding with friends in
his impressive looking park setup. Ben Ferguson is seeing great momentum too with over 850,000 views. Mark McMorris and Ethan Deiss also
saw a successful period with their respective Burton features averaging out at 150,000 views per part.
SOCIAL / RIDERS
TOP POSTS #ISPO
Former team mates and lifetime buddies, French pals Victor De Le Rue and Victor Daviet are seeing serious
traction from the international snowboard scene, and it’s well deserved. Their latest video parts broke
the internet - their style and commitment haven’t gone unnoticed and they are at the forefront of Europe’s
snowboard scene, which is stronger than ever before. When it comes to social performances De Le Rue has
a bigger fan base with over 15k, where Daviet has 5k, both with promising fan growth of 6%. Looking closer,
both have a fan engagement ratio around 0.3 representing a third of their fans in terms of monthly active
engagement on their posts over the 3 platforms.
DE LE RUE
Follower Fb/ Inst/ Tw
Av. Monthly interactions
Fan Engagement Ratio*
Mark Mc Morris
*Comparison between own rider posts interactions and interactions created by posts
when tagged (Brands, Medias, Contributors & Riders).
PRINT / COVERS RANKING
Find out what’s hot in social media
with the 3 top snowboard-related
posts of the season. Athletes Mark
McMorris, Shaun White and Ayumu
Hirano top the charts.
17 500 ¤
13 253 ¤
11 721 ¤
7 634 ¤
7 319 ¤
7 319 ¤
Scoring a magazine cover remains the top honour and a true career highlight.
This ranking shows the 5 European riders with the highest cover value (¤) in
international snowboard magazines between August and November 2015. Elias
Elhardt sits on top of that ranking with his unmatchable style on the cover of
Method, followed by Aurel Anthamatten on both MBM and The REASON, Eero Ettala
as part of a beautiful piece of art for ACT, Nicolas Müller pushing his tweak on
PLAYBOARD and Marco Smolla / Philip Strauss sharing a inspiring 7th Sky cover.
Period analyzed: 1/08/2015 - 30/11/2015
Hungry for more ? Drop us a line at [email protected]
Photo : Russel Dalby
BIG WIG: CAPITA FOUNDER
CAPiTA opened The Mothership, the world’s most eco-friendly snowboard factory in Austria at the end of 2015. It’s
an audacious move from an exciting company with an inspirational leader at the helm; Blue Montgomery started
CAPiTA when he was 26 and 15 years later, they are one of the most respected snowboard brands on the planet. For
this issue’s Big Wig interview, Blue gives us some more details about the Mothership and goes into great depth on
subjects including entrepreneurship, responsible production, later winters and the changing retail landscape.
By Harry Mitchell Thompson.
Please could you tell us how you got into snowboarding, Blue?
I grew up in Iowa, which is a state in the middle of the USA. There
were no mountains around, only hills. The closest resort was 170
vertical feet and it was 45 minutes away, so we just hiked one of
the hills on the local golf course in my hometown every day after
school. The storyline here is very similar to a lot of kids that grew
up snowboarding in the Midwest, or parts of Scandinavia, or the UK
for that matter, or just anywhere that there are no mountains. But
somehow the friendships and the camaraderie and the snowboarding
is still somehow epic. Often times, when the resorts are really small
it fuels the snowboard dream for people. Look at what the Yawgoons
do at their little resort, or how many true legends have come from
Talma. If snowboarding had a hall of fame, there would probably be
more inductees from Talma than any resort in the world, and when
you compare that little spot in Finland to Chamonix or Whistler, it’s
laughable. Why does a small resort produce better riders than a giant
one? I think it ties back to the search for the unknown and the basic
desire for more. It was that way for me. There was no rope tow or
runs or warming hut at my local slope… just the fairway of the 7th
hole of a golf course. But I was hooked. I read every single magazine
cover to cover, studied every single snowboard video, and dreamed
of someday riding places like Mt. Baker, Jackson Hole, Japan, or the
Alps. I was so obsessed with that dream that somehow I never grew
out of it. We can debate about whether snowboarding is a lifestyle or a
sport or an activity, but one thing that is not debatable is the fact that
it changes lives. It certainly changed mine. After high school I moved
to Utah and rode at Brighton at a time when the scene was fresh and
exciting there. I was lucky enough to live the pro snowboarding dream
in the 90s, and then in 2000 I moved to Seattle and eventually we
We know that for snowboarding to be at its best we all have to be more than participants,
we have to be believers, contributors, investors and curators of what we love.
What’s the thinking behind the building of The Mothership?
The idea - or the dream - of controlling our destiny and creating our
own product has always been there, but the actual planning started
in 2011. We were analysing our business in a challenging marketplace
and we wanted to have more direct control over our fate and future.
We felt that the best way to do this was to be in control of the
production component. We came up with a three-year plan to transition
into a producer and putting the finance and people in place. We found
the location for The Mothership and it was so perfect that we took a
leap of faith and purchased the land. While we were working through
the planning stage, our producer at the time unexpectedly declared
bankruptcy. This was an uncertain and scary time for everyone but
while other OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) brands scrambled
to find production elsewhere, we already had our structure in place
to make an offer on that factory and buy the assets. This enabled us
to keep our product consistent while having flexibility on our design/
build timeline with The Mothership, acquire proprietary machinery
that we wanted, retain our multi-generational workforce that had been
building CAPiTA boards for 10 years, as well as control the outflow
of product from what was the biggest factory in the world. While that
factory was amazing, it wasn’t our goal to have the biggest production
facility. Our goal was to have the best, most efficient facility that
perfectly suited our dreams, goals, and the realities of the modern
What were the risks involved with opening the factory?
For the most part, the major risks have been obvious ones. Some
that we can control, some that we cannot. Most involve investing into
uncertainty. Uncertainty about the current weather, future weather,
and what global warming will mean for snowpack and snow sports
ability. But our answer is the same as it’s always been. While we
appreciate the interest, and as tempting as it may be to try not to miss
any sales, our goal is to be sold out of our production run every year,
ship the best products in the world, with great customer service, an
extremely low warranty rate… and sell through at retail so that we will
be given the opportunity to take another small step forward the next
year. Media is changing so quickly - video is a massive part of CAPiTA’s
DNA, how do you see this changing (platforms/movie tours) in the
It is changing rapidly, primarily because it’s easier to send messaging
and becoming more difficult to send a cohesive message. There is
so much static in the bandwidth, that message retention as a goal
presents some real challenges. On a general level, we’re committed
to helping our snowboarders with a platform for their endeavours.
Whether that’s media partnerships or producing our own content - and
how it will be released - seems to be changing daily, so we just adapt
What advice would you give to anyone starting their own brand?
Fully commit or don’t do it. Entrepreneurship in the current market
landscape is too hard to do halfway. The mentality has to be full-gas,
total dedication, absolute refusal to fail. Many times, smart people
that understand risk management are too conservative with their
good ideas. They try to launch something part-time or without risking
another income source. But risk and reward go hand in hand, and I
look at it very simply: If an entrepreneur doesn’t fully believe in what
they’re doing, why would anyone else?
Even if we shifted our cycle by one month and called the main retail window October
to January instead of September to December, that would improve the machine of our
industry a lot. It would save a lot of money on both sides in logistics and discounts, and
more accurately reflect to the start of the season. But I understand that the buying and
selling psychology around Christmas is a tricky one.
as the years go by. Investing into a sport that is perceived to be in a
decline presents a certain amount of long-term risk. However, we are
optimists in general, and specifically when it comes to snowboarding.
We know that for snowboarding to be at its best we all have to be more
than participants, we have to be believers, contributors, investors and
curators of what we love.
Please could you explain the employee setup there - how many staff
will be employed?
We have 70 employees at The Mothership in Austria. Many of which
are craftsmen and women that have spent years or even decades
making the best snowboards in the world. We also have an office in
Seattle, I share my time between the two locations.
CAPiTA has really gone from strength to strength over the last five
years - please explain your strategy here.
Our last five years really is no different statistically than the give
years before that or the five years before that. We have never been
greedy. We have never tried to grow quickly. We have never flooded
the market with product, or taken a big leap of growth in any one year.
We have grown very slowly, step by step, every year, for 15 years in a
row. We only produce what is pre-booked by our retailers. Currently
we have many in-demand models on back order that won’t be filled
and we get requests to make extra production now that we have that
We are now seeing a definite shift in how late the snow is coming
each year in Europe. It’s easy for us to tell retailers to keep their
heads, that snow will come, and that they should resist at all costs
going on sale in December. What do you a) as a brand do to help
reassure retailers, and b) think we, as an industry needs to do to
accommodate this new, later winter in Europe?
The later winter isn’t specific to Europe, we’re seeing the same thing
in North America. We all know the retail landscape is changing due to
technology, and this change in weather is also something we need to
address. It would be foolish for any brand to reassure retailers about
the weather, so I’m not going to go there, but I do think that there are
some interesting ideas presented by both the brand and retail side
about shifting back our current timelines. The season used to start
around American Thanksgiving in November, but now we’re lucky if
resorts in many areas are open before Christmas. Even if we shifted
our cycle by one month and called the main retail window October
to January instead of September to December, that would improve
the machine of our industry a lot. It would save a lot of money on
both sides in logistics and discounts, and more accurately reflect to
the start of the season. But I understand that the buying and selling
psychology around Christmas is a tricky one, influenced by the
economy as a whole, and we respect the expertise of our retailers in
this area. So that said, it’s a worthwhile discussion and I hope we can
find solutions that work better for all in the near future.
WETSUITS FW16/17 : TREND REPORT
Comfort in cold water is priceless. To make the most of the glory season, consumers are prepared to do anything, including
investing in a high-end wetsuit. Frigid conditions no longer have the upper hand on good surf conditions and improbable new
destinations are cropping up. The efficient, warm and lightweight nature of the top-of-the-rangers make you almost forget about
the icebergs floating beyond the sets. A study by Denis Houillé.
LUXURY FOR ALL
It’s a fact; the winter demand for neoprene is continuing to expand,
just like the surfing public is in general. Younger and younger, older
and older, we all want to surf more often, for longer and further.
Faced with continually increasing demand year after year, the range of
products is expanding and we can see that the market is fragmenting
“and the consumer now has various options from smaller independent
brands,” confirms Finisterre Founder, Tom Kay. It’s the same story at
C-Skins where Technical Director Mark Brown observes that “more
and more clothing brands are launching a wetsuit in parallel to their
clothing lines and we are expecting this trend to continue.”
You can also see more women in the water, in the middle of
winter, commanding respect and, inevitably, participation of men
is also on the rise. Fiona Bray, sales manager for Glide Soul, is
noticing a constant increase in the number of women participating
in watersports all year round. Whether it’s surfing or swimming,
wakeboarding or kiteboarding, “neoprene has to be an extension
of their wardrobe,” says Fiona, so now you have to add “crop tops,
leggings, bodysuits and not just full wetsuits” to your order. Moreover,
to complement its range of technical wetsuits, Roxy have even decided
to add a fashion collection, the Pop Surf Capsule, “designed to add
wow factor to the water with colour prints and offer the best in terms
of cut and performance,” explains Xavier Faucher,
EMEA Product Manager.
More specifically, surfing in cold, or even glacial waters has never
been so accessible and “as winter wetsuits become more efficient,
lighter and more flexible, the physical demands of paddling in the cold
actually decrease,” describes O’Neill Wetsuits’ European Product
Manager, Joe Turnbull. Denmark, Iceland, Russia… every country
wants to be able to kit themselves out and make the most of their
coastlines, lakes or rivers in a workable way, without shivering or
breaking the bank. As Xavier Faucher from Quiksilver sums up, “the
price of wetsuits remains very reasonable considering the technology
that they carry and their manufacturing process.” Indeed, we can see
that sales of 5/4/3 and 6/5/4 models with integrated hood - in other
words the most expensive - are increasing each year and the price
doesn’t seem to put people off.
“Sales can fluctuate according to the mildness or harshness of the
winter,” observes Mark Brown from C-Skins, but ultimately midwinter quickly helps the customer decide on that extra 100-150
euros-worth of warmth. To meet the rising demand for water of 0-3
degrees, found mostly in Europe, Patagonia decided to add an R5 to
their range. No matter what the latitude, the water or air temperature,
winter surfing is benefitting from increasing popularity year after
year, pulling the market into new territories.
“The quality of all the brands is really high now, so the brands work now on really good sizing & fitting.”
Benoit Brecq, Marketing Manager, Madness/HOFF
Furthermore, the top-of-the-range is not the only segment to benefit.
We continue to see these technical characteristics filtering down
towards the mid and entry level ranges. This is especially true at
Alder, whose basic models are blessed with quick-drying liners and
reinforcements at the wrists and ankles “directly borrowed from
our top-of-the-range”, as John Westlake describes. Rip Curl are
also using the strong points of their best-sellers (Flashbombs and
EBombs) to benefit their mid-range models (Dawn Patrol), girls and
juniors especially. At Billabong, the focus is on the entry-level, “It’s
very important to be able to offer high-performance wetsuits at a
reasonable price”, states Technical Division Manager, François Leits.
Insulation, comfort, elasticity… in the end the consumer wins here at
all levels and as Phil Bridges, Tiki Wetsuits Desinger highlights, “we
are getting a better quality/price ratio and tangible sales arguments
rather that pseudo-scientific advertising.” Even the manufacturers
with their headquarters in the Unites States are playing the game and
preventing the Europeans from suffering (too badly) from the increase
of the dollar on imports.
More than just a trend, cold water surfing is establishing itself as
an authentic, enduring, extreme discipline. Even more striking than
crystalline tropical waters, the dark, snowy beaches of the Nordic
countries offer sensational landscapes that make for some refreshing
surf photography. This is a phenomenon that will inevitably be seen in
advertisements, as observed at Gul Wetsuits from whom “cold water
surfing has become a real focus of our communication every winter.”
their habits but we are sure it will be effective in the long term.” Also,
at Rip Curl, even though the zip-free trend still has the wind in its
sails, they have found that some people find them hard to get on and
off, “so we called upon our cut specialists in Australia, Sparrow, to
work on a new entry system for the last nine months.” The results
are already proving really promising as Borja Torres from design
C-skins have attended to the very delicate internal neckline area of the
wetsuit. By creating the “Iris Closure”, they have managed to imitate
a camera lens that makes it easy to get into, keeps it high and without
water entry or exit. Not feeling the cold or tiredness are amongst the
priorities at Onda Wetsuits who year after year are working on “their
wetsuits working correctly with each muscle in the body, especially on
photo: Rip Curl
ASSEMBLY AND COMFORT OF USE
Previously, the assembly of the neoprene panels was considered as
one of the more random things “to watch for” in wetsuit production.
We even thought that the more panels a wetsuit had, the more it would
prove supple and ergonomic. This is not the case at all.
“As winter wetsuits become more efficient,
lighter and more flexible the physical demands
of paddling in the cold actually decrease.”
Joe Turnbull, European Product Manager,
the thicker models,” specifies Global Activator Paulo Green.
Henceforth, even before judging the warmth or resistance of a
wetsuit, the first criteria for customer satisfaction is comfort and fit,
particularly when trying it on. “The quality of all the brands is really
high now”, states Benoit Brecq, Marketing Manager from Madness/
HOFF, “so the brands work now on really good sizing and fitting.”
In reality, not many wetsuit brands have their own templates for each
body size, this is delegated to the manufacturing factory. Only the
sharpest surf outfitters have specialists in their development teams
who are capable of producing and adjusting each panel of neoprene.
This is a difficult level of expertise to reach when launching into this
Alongside frontzips, wetsuits without zips or “zip-frees” are enjoying
growing popularity. Their ease of use and faultless ergonomics
confirm that this trend is here to stay. But to please everyone, ION
Wetsuits are now offering 2 fits, regular (back zip) and tailored (front
zip). “We did that simply to accommodate all body types”, explains
Carlo Rauen: “At first shop managers and customers had to change
Finally, the floatation capabilities of wetsuits is a point that Benoit
at Madness insists on highlighting when talking about the future of
surfing. Given the fact that in winter surfers are confronted with
heavier and more dangerous conditions, wearing a lifejacket is
sometimes unavoidable. “A mix between a wetsuit and life jacket could
be the future of surfing,” he confides.
There’s a real concentration of technologies (hydrophobic, anti-odour,
anti-bacterial) in wetsuit liners this year and they are proving to be
real innovation vectors. Practically non-existent a few years ago,
these interior fabrics add to the properties of the wetsuit. On one side
they add stretch and warmth (by creating an extra layer of air) and on
another they reduce the weight of the wetsuit thanks to a hydrophobic
treatment that prevents water absorption and speeds up drying when
out of the water.
The latest generation of the E5 liner from Rip Curl is said to be even
lighter and 25% stretchier. The whole Flashbomb range will therefore
carry it and to quote their European product manager, Borja Torres
who had the privilege of testing the prototypes this winter, “the level
of comfort and warmth that this wetsuit provides is incredible.”
Infrared technologies from Quiksilver and Roxy bring a few extra
degrees to your wetsuit thanks to a fabric enriched with mineral
fibres that insulate and retain body heat for even longer. Blood
circulation and oxygenation of tissues are thereby improved for better
to declare themselves “a paperless organisation”. So even though
products are going around the world before reaching customers who
then go and travel to spots all over the place, everything is done to
make the production process more environmentally friendly and to
reduce the carbon footprint of the whole neoprene supply chain.
At C-Skins, the cold water specialists, they also have a heat conductor
integrated during the lamination process by way of a glue made of
aluminium foil, which has an impressive effect on the back of the
neoprene. Stay active in the water and your temperature won’t drop.
“We can’t forget that we are trying to make
the best wetsuits out of the best materials and
sometimes eco doesn’t mean top.”
Borja Torres, Rip Curl European
Wetsuit Product Manager.
ECO DESIGN…ALMOST THERE
From packaging, via delivery, to the actual materials used in design,
the efforts made by the surf industry and through each of its players
is considerable. Recycled card and biodegradable wrapping bags
(like O’Neill’s made from corn starch) are starting to become the
norm, delivery by boat is the most used (and soon to be aided by
wind) and the brands themselves, like Quiksilver, submit alternative
elements (non toxic glue, water-based inks, recycled jerseys etc) to
their suppliers. The digital age and emails allows for brands, like Gul,
photo: Alder Wetsuits
Lastly, although still comfortable, wetsuits are becoming easier to
take on and off because of their texture, the liner doesn’t stick to
the skin as most materials do when they get wet. Because of their
sanitised treatments these new wetsuits are garnering praise from all
audiences, particularly those with sensitive skin, relays Carlo Rauen,
Wetsuits Product Manager at ION: “It’s really good to know that we are
now able to offer a solution to those who have suffered irritation from
wetsuits in the past.”
But it’s in production and composition that the most noteworthy
advance has been made. Started just two years ago by Patagonia,
plant-based rubber, and not oil, has become a reality thanks to
the company Yulex. Only just available to the public, these “green”
wetsuits are now “available in 21 styles, for water between 0-23°”,
Patagonia tell us. Confronted with products of guaranteed 0%
neoprene, it didn’t take long to hear the first reactions, somewhere
between enthusiasm and caution like at Rip Curl where Borja Torres
declares that: “We can’t forget that we are trying to make the best
wetsuits out of the best materials and sometimes eco doesn’t mean
It’s a similar reaction at O’Neill Wetsuits who have carried out very
strict tests on these alternatives to finally consider that “the stretch
and quality consistency were not yet satisfactory compared to the level
of the market,” says Joe. Mark Brown at C-Skins is pragmatic, saying
we need to check the reliability of alternatives before being able to
really market them. For Finisterre, “the most eco-friendly products are
those that last over time and are built to be used,” as Tom says. So for
their very first wetsuit on the market, the brand has concentrated on
“maximising the amount of time spent in the water and the durability
of the product.”
Finally, we can note some interesting eco-innovations, notably through
RG8 (Regenerate) programmes from O’Neill and Resurrection from
Rip Curl that are expanding this year; if you take your old wetsuit
back when you buy a new one, you’ll get a free neoprene seat cover.
Then your old wetsuit will be handed to a company to recycle it into
bracelets, wallets and other accessories.
Magic liners: lighter, warmer, more practical
photo: C-Skins Wetsuits
Accessible top-of-the-range and beneficial
to mid and entry levels.
Comfort and ergonomics reign over heat and durability.
Explosion of new surf destinations and populations
“Green” wetsuits gain some ground
FROM EGOSYSTEM TO ECOSYSTEM:
A HORIZONTAL STORY
Albert Einstein said that we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
SOURCE’s Surf Editor Iker Aguirre took this as an invitation to think outside of the box and has conjured up some food for
thought as he continues his exploration of boardsports’ new paradigm.
One of my biggest revelations on the path to the new paradigm came
from an unlikely source. Wogi, a young Swiss man living bare-foot and
often alone in the wild, explained the logic of nature and animal life
to me. With simple words and ageless wisdom, he revisited ancient
philosophy and dedicated a large part of his discourse to the circle.
From the Greeks to the Native Americans and living ecosystems, he
made me understand how observing nature brings you indubitably
to the perfection of the circle and its endless cycles. This was a
revelation that transformed my businesses into three key words:
triangle, circle, ecosystem.
A PYRAMIDAL LIFE
From our most tender childhood years we have been raised in a
pyramidal logic. At the top of the functional organogram: the boss.
Behind, in the underlying layers, is a hierarchical gradient. Everything
is structured according to this system, inspired by the Roman legion.
But did you know that, mathematically, the pyramidal organogram
is the best way of connecting all parts of a system…with minimum
interaction? Read the end of this phrase again: with minimum
It’s an ideal structure for crisis situations where information has
to get round quickly, easily and without question - in the midst of a
legionnaire’s battle for example. But it’s also the ideal structure for
maintaining control over a group. Only one person is in contact with
the whole system, the one at the top of the pyramid. Information
circulates easily if it’s descending, and quickly blocked if it is
ascending or if it needs to freely circulate between the concerned
parties. In other words, the pyramidal structure is perfectly unsuitable
to modern businesses and to the agility required by the contemporary
market. But how can we change a model that’s so deeply engrained?
A burn-out in 2009 forced me to review all the logics of my
businesses. I had three at the time and two almost sank because
of my prolonged absence. I became aware that I could not be the
cornerstone of my businesses. From that day I did everything so that
my businesses functioned without me. The same year, Isaac Getz in
the U.S. published a key book on the question, but it only arrived in
France in 2012: Liberté & Cie. He was also the source of the notion of
a liberated business.
A liberated business gives employees the freedom to take the reins.
The notion of hierarchy changes or even disappears and, on the
premise that by nature man is good, what might seem utopian has
become a reality. Still today, many CEO and business leader friends
refuse to believe that such a change is possible. “A business without
hierarchy? Rubbish…” they tell me. Do you also think that? Without
straying from our industry, let’s look just at Gore-Tex. There are
10,000 employees, called associates, all ready to challenge your
idea of how a business should be structured. If you still doubt after
reading Getz, check out Frederic Laloux and his book (in English)
Future Organizations, a veritable demonstration that the new paradigm
is conjugated in the present tense within thousands of businesses
FROM THE CIRCLE TO THE ECOSYSTEM
Pursuing liberated business logic without even knowing, the words
of Wogi were a major key. Is there a system that’s more complex,
sustainable and efficient than nature? No. Breaking the triangular
pyramid to get to the circle could be an answer.
Straight away I imagined the circle with man at the centre; pyramidal
logic had taken over. A circle built like that is just a pyramid with a
Isaac Getz highlights that the liberated business is above all a philosophy and not a method.
circular base when seen from above. A false change to the model.
The business circle is only possible if it has a project at the centre.
By project, the business supposes a mission, a strategy, a product, a
If the project is at the centre, all people are on the circumference. So
let’s get to work:
1. The circle is a wheel, the project is the axle. The wheel has to turn
for the project to work.
2. To build a wheel, everyone has to turn to the centre to see and
understand the project.
3. For the wheel to turn the circle has to be perfect, everyone equidistant from the centre. In other words, everyone understands the
THE HUMAN AT THE CENTRE
Isaac Getz highlights that the liberated business is above all a
philosophy and not a method. This phrase is worthy of a genius.
Liberating a business is putting the human at the heart of every
equation. As soon as the human takes the upper hand, modelling
becomes (almost) impossible. Any modelling, as virtuous as it may be,
will reach its limits in front of the fact that each person is unique and
each situation as well. As a result it has to adapt and evolve, forcing
us to accept that the miracle, pre-set formula doesn’t exist. You will
only have the ingredients; it’s up to you to whip up a nice little dish
with them. From the mechanical, administrative economy where man
is a cog, we move to the philosophical economy where man is at the
centre and meaning is the inert force that drives the engine of the
4. For there to be a circle, individuals have to make up the
circumference. So it’s impossible for everyone to see the project from
the same angle. Everyone has to understand the project from their
own perspective but there is a common base. Developing this base is
putting people at equal distance from the centre.
5. If everyone is on the circle, the presence of both the CEO and the
cleaning lady turns the wheel. Every man and woman forms an arc of
the circle. Together the wheel turns and without one piece it doesn’t
6. In a circle, no arc is different from the other, not bigger, wider or
thicker. In a circle there is no hierarchy. Leadership ceases to be a
right or an acquired, nominative, obligation of undetermined duration.
It passes through the hands of those who have the skills needed
to resolve a determined problem at a given time. The next day, the
given time might have changed, the skills required too. Leadership is
non-nominative and has a determined duration. What will become of
hierarchy? How about the role of leaders, “followers”. Charisma and
the role of the director? If you open this door, prepare to be further
Once you have built your circle, a cell will come to life at the heart of
the structure. As soon as the structure is constituted of cells, their
interaction creates a living organism that evolves and changes. It will
be a logical, autonomous, self-regulating and sustainable ecosystem.
When it’s no longer a person directing everything but a network that
leads the dance, the ecosystem takes the place of the egosystem.
WE ARE PRIMATES
No sooner than last month, I was hosting a round table on the
economy of tomorrow with scientists, journalists and economists of
international renown. When I presented this challenge to leadership
as a fundamental base of the new paradigm, one of the scientists
categorically replied: “We are primates and in this sense, we are built
to respond to a hierarchy. All horizontal hierarchies are impossible
by nature”. A decorated scientist from one of the top American
Universities putting you in your place could throw you off but if you
yield to the slightest resistance, you will never change the paradigm.
Primate logic revolves around the law of the jungle, our modern
economy and all 20th century economic thought as well. It is the
result of a bad interpretation of the liberalism of words from poor old
Hobbes: “Man is a wolf to man”. It’s basically an economy based on the
fact that we are monkeys without brains, responding to violence and
inherently nasty. Except that I am not a monkey, I don’t like violence
and I think I’m nicer than nasty…and there are many of us like this. We
are developed people, not primates so why can’t we think that how
we interact with others might have also developed? What if enough
companies prove it (Favi, Gore-Tex, Poult, Zappos…)?
LET’S TALK ABOUT SENSE
When I turn towards boardsports, I discover, once again, an industry
that has always intuitively subscribed to circular logics: the workings
of a network, communitarian instinct, horizontal relations with
others in most SMBs (small/medium businesses) and VSBs (very
small businesses), rules of respect for others, the importance of
reputation, passion and meaning to work, personal fulfilment through
professionalism, autonomy and recognition, leadership through action,
not nomination, meritocratic, changing leadership…
Wherever I look, I get the feeling that the boardsports industry always
lands on its feet. Its DNA is 100% new paradigm. Take a look at
Holacracy at Teal Management, sociocracy in business, at the virtuous
applications of Lean Management (not its excesses) and at the many
examples popping up in the world and you’ll soon recognise that the
fundamentals that actually work subscribe to our boardsports DNA.
We are holding the key to much more than just another success; we
have the key to a changing world. We just have to remember where the
New paradigm, boardsports market and corporate well being:
follow Iker Aguirre’s articles on ikeraguirre.com
WOMEN’S OUTERWEAR FW 16/17: TREND REPORT
Women’s outerwear is a category beleaguered by high street plagiarism and price competition. It’s hard to sell
an expensive technical piece when vertically integrated high street chains are offering a similar-looking thing
for pennies on the Euro. But reassuringly, today’s female snowboarders are a growing segment, and more
independent and adventurous than ever before. From park to backcountry riders, piste shredding seasonnaires
up to girls-only splitboard campers, women continue to push their limits in snowboarding - and large it just
as well as the guys on the terrace at après-ski. So let’s figure out how we’re going to make sure next season’s
client gets exactly what she’s looking for in our FW16/17 Women’s Outerwear Preview.
By Tom Wilson-North.
The first key trend is the technical one; every brand we spoke to
aspires to create the perfect “mountainwear” jacket and pant with a
modern and clean look with on-point technicity. The main goal here is
comfort - durability and design mixed together with feminine lines and
the perfect fit. The silhouettes are extended longer and the femininity
comes out in details like metallic zippers, leather patching, colour
palettes and washed look fabrics.
Comfort is a big FW16/17 trend too. Burton’s VP of Soft Goods, Andrew
Burke told us about their long down jacket which hits at the knee - a
direct port from the high street. Templeton back this up - the key piece
of their new women’s line due for launch at ISPO is “the baggiest
slim fit pant ever, with the best freedom of movement, which will
keep you cosy, comfy, fluffy, warm, dry, fun and elegant”, according
to Co-Founder Klaus Zenker. DC also reported a major tweak of their
women’s outerwear skinfeels and linings to drop resistance and
There was an underlying sustainability trend running throughout the
conversations we had with brands. The idea is to be more sustainable
by having one jacket, which is as functional on the mountain as it is in
town. Billabong has added some removable features - principally the
waist gaiter - for greater versatility.
As well as sustainability, there is a clear focus towards planet-friendly
production and work processes. This links into a colour palette
inspired by earth colours and a fabric range selected for their eco
"The only hot trend I can see
is producing and acting on an earth
and human-friendly level."
Klaus Zenker, Templeton
credentials. The ethos is one of enjoying the beauty of the mountains
and respecting them. When we asked Templeton’s Klaus if he could
identify any general theme to next year’s lines, he agreed, saying:
“The only hot trend I can see is producing and acting on a earth and
human-friendly level.” Volcom epitomise this with their Boarding for
Breast Cancer Foundation partnership, which sees an outerwear and
accessories capsule collection next year. A portion of the proceeds
goes directly to the Foundation.
Picture Organic’s sustainable ethos speaks for itself and has been key
to the growth of the brand, and Bleed are also fans of the planet-friendly
approach. “Every person we can convince to choose sustainable
fashion, whether by style or functionality, is a valued customers to us.”
Next year’s primary tones centre around nature and the environment:
a real ‘into the wild’ trend. Colours will continue to run along the earth
colour and jewel tones theme, which is neutral, inoffensive and critically - easy to wear after riding. Prints centre around the military
theme, with the still-huge camo, though there are some Hawaiian prints
we liked that are a port from the green trend.
KEY NEW PIECES
The main idea is to be eco by using the same outerwear in town and
out riding on the hill, then. Cue Zimtsern’s “shreddable streetwear”
- particularly their new Mazonka jacket which works as a transition
piece for riding as well as for city life. Rip Curl went in a more fashionforward direction by designing a new crossover parka called the Amity
Gum which features a heather stretch fabric as well as Primaloft
insulation - they went for “warmth, sexy fit and max comfort” in this
piece, explained their PLM.
On the other hand, Westbeach is playing with new 20k/20k performance
stretch soft lightweight fabrics which they claim make their new Amery
pant as comfy as wearing yoga pants - whilst we can’t confirm that yet,
what is sure is that the pant looks primo, with a huge range of motion.
Don’t forget slightly more bling jackets, which feature heavily next year.
Billabong’s new Rich Dip jacket features a luxurious design highlighted
by metallic copper prints and details. The 15K/15K mechanical stretch
twill combined with Primaloft Eco insulation adds comfort on top of
the unique design. Rojo’s Always Lux jacket is another option - it’s got
textured fabric in a puffer style, finished off with leather trims. You’ll
see it in traditional high-class colours of black, white and alloy grey.
Conversely, masters of technical wizardry Norrona add some military
styling to their new Tamok dri2 Jacket, using soft organic cotton and
cordura mixed face fabric over a waterproof and breathable membrane.
Also on the military theme is the Yoko jacket from L1, which has vintage
“No longer ‘shrink it and pink it’ approach”
military roots and is made for someone in need of a serious snowboard
jacket that still looks feminine and stylish.
Finally, the choice piece from Bonfire is called the Safari Jacket, which
has a tailored fit, extra insulation layer and tech increase to 20K/15K.
Marketing Manager Vicki Vasil agrees - “It’s our female riders’ go-to
Next winter general snowboard fits will be much more of an urbanderived look. It’s all about being contemporary, nonchalant and
comfortable. The key catwalk takeaway with relevance is the long
down-the-knee tailed or fishtailed jacket. There’s also a khaki tailed
feminine parka with fake-fur trim doing the rounds. Holden fits perfectly
into this concept with their new longer fitting fishtail jacket loaded with
rock ‘n’ roll style and some on-point colours, typical for this fashionforward brand.
There is a widespread gravitation towards this longer style, which is
more feminine and trendy than the square jacket of years past. It seems
that the development teams are profiling a girl riding hard during the
day with her long jacket and slim-fit trousers, then wearing the same
jacket during the evening with a hat, skinny jeans and cool shoes. This
isn’t too far wrong - but for this to work girls want to look like they
bought their jacket at Zadig & Voltaire without compromising on the
solid performance and reliable technical features of classic snowboard
There is square pocketing and slightly longer cut jackets over at Colour
Wear, and Airblaster’s new Slim Curve Stretch pants are a great new
option for ladies with curves. Brand Manager Jesse Grandkoski explains
“we realized that our Slim Fit (My Brother’s Pant) is an amazing
and well loved fit for women with slim to medium builds, but doesn’t
accommodate ladies blessed with junk in the trunk - whom it should be
noted that we love as much as anyone!” You’ll also see tweaks to the
bigger sizes of Rojo’s pants to accommodate curvier figures.
Three major retools to report: Nikita have an all new style this year
with pieces that carry high end streetwear vibes - their Blonde Roast
Chicken jacket is dope, with a quilted hood and sleeves and drawstring
waist. Nitro have changed their pant programme with fit updates for
overall slimmer and more flattering silhouettes. Our favourite was their
Tate Pant. Over at Billabong, Outerwear PM Alexandre Berthonneau
told us that all their fits have been “re-engineered for next year to offer
more modern silhouettes, tailored to be worn in the city and not just on
In general, cuts are longer and slimmer for more feminine silhouettes.
Slim overalls like we used to see in the 70’s have inspired bib pants;
DC’s Collective Bib is a 15k tailored fit piece, which comes in a washed
soft oxford, with detailing true of a denim overall. Airblaster are good
Make winter jackets that have essential capabilities
but aren’t designed to be used only for snow
on bibs next year too, and there’s a flattering overall from L1, which
is worth a look. You’ll also see some cool fashion inspired fits from
Roxy and Brunotti, particularly their dropped shoulder look, which
sees the shoulder line slightly less fitted than in previous collections.
Lastly, Volcom’s new Tapered Drop Rise Pant has a fashion-forward fit
featuring a long, dropped rise and narrow hem.
It’s good to know that female snowboarders are no longer short changed
when it comes to feature packages. Roxy are introducing more technical
details than ever before, whilst Homeschool provide female riders with
exactly the same features without going too girly on the aesthetic. “We
made truly authentic snowboard products designed specifically for
the demanding sporty woman. We didn’t take the ‘shrink it and pink it’
approach”, says their designer Erika. Brands seem aware that when in
the market for a technical piece, girls aren’t prepared to compromise
on functionality. Dakine agree; “Our FW16/17 line is for women who
ride hard and don’t want to settle for a downgraded version of a men’s
technical jacket. We’ve thrown that theory out the window and built an
awesome women’s line based on the girl who blazes trail, drops in first
and always shows up in the liftline on a powder day,” says their lead
women’s designer Brittany Crook.
As referenced above, colours are reflective of the overall eco/
sustainable trend, being inspired by nature, the elements - water, trees,
ice and marble - and, of course, the mountains.
Colours that are out front are olive green, lagoon blue and heather grey.
These reflect the palettes we have seen recently on catwalks in ready
to wear fashion weeks, and will remain important in the year to come.
White is also making a comeback as well as pink, orange and blue, with
gold also making a significant appearance at Roxy. Overall, though,
khaki and olive green will be the colour of FW16/17; this is a direct
port from some à-la-mode streetwear brands like Balmain, whose last
collection had a strong army theme.
Nitro and Bonfire’s colours are inspired by jewel colours like dusty pink,
dusty purple, burgundy and emerald. There will also be rich autumnal
tones with a mix of washed back muted colours at Urban Beach and
Animal are going with “winterberries and the natural colours that
surround us; deep purples, inky navies and khaki with fresh accents of
bright mint,” states Leon Young, their Technical Outerwear & Lifestyle
Designer. It seems the bright colour blocking that has been popular for
a few years is done; now colours are much closer to the streetwear
tones you’ll see people wearing in city centres.
On top of having earthy colours there are - as usual in snowboarding - a
lot of all-over prints, particularly camo. We particularly liked Zimtsern’s,
which is principally in green but also available in a dusty pink or blue
shade. Bonfire go for a darker Floral Camo version and DC use a Duck
camo that’s particularly easy on the eye. Animal introduce a “handdrawn blanket stripe that features as the AOP this season,” confirms
The yoga industry is undeniably a huge movement right now, and yoga
leggings have inspired prints: Picture have an overprint style which
mashes different types of prints together in the same way as hot yoga
leggings do right now. There are plenty of tropicals out there too,
notably Hawaiian prints, which we saw at Roxy and Homeschool - the
leaves and dusty pink flowers gel well with next year’s colour palette.
There’s acid wash and tie-dye from L1, and an urban jungle print from
Light. Horsefeathers have washed-effect fabric dots and a carousel full
of colour print and leather look fabrics. Retro patterns are also making a
gentle return - but thankfully not to the extent we saw back in the 1980s
and 1990s. It’s a little more retro, grown-up old-school - think back in
the day industry logos and outline chest prints.
It’s clear that female riders are becoming more savvy and are
demanding fashionable and modern cuts; garish colours and
technicolour clown barf patterns are things of the past. Looking loud
for a week on the slopes before ashamedly donating the vile item to a
charity shop a few years later is definitely ‘out’. It’s refreshing; we’re
dealing with much more natural tones, more muted colours, universally
wearable styles and a fit that is so sorted that girls will want to wear
their new jacket for winters to come.
The general inspiration behind FW16/17 is to upgrade established ranges
by optimising style, functionality and cut. We are back to the basics
with the main focus on performance and usability. The main objective
for many brands is to create two jackets in one; snow jacket and street
winter jacket. We applaud this trend; customers are invited to spend
a little more and spend once; by choosing well they can keep their
piece for a long time, just like in the good old days. And if this modest
production keeps winters cold and mountains alive a little bit longer, so
much the better for us all.
Nature meets technology
Warm sexy and comfortable
Stylist and Versatile
Earthy print inspired by the elements like Hawaiian and camo prints
MEN’S OUTERWEAR FW 16/17: TREND REPORT
Snowboard outerwear has had a tough couple of years and a bunch of brands have had to make big changes to stay
relevant in a fast changing and competitive business environment. The ones that couldn’t keep up have disappeared
entirely. But more positively, the outerwear world is dotted with some runaway success stories; brands that somehow
manage to land the right formula and are paying everybody’s wages and keeping consumer interest piqued. Let’s find
some more of those money-makers as we examine the details in our FW16/17 Men’s Outerwear Trend Report.
By Tom Wilson-North.
PRIMARY DIRECTIONS - TECHNICAL
Next year the high-tech look remains strong for brands identifying
with the backcountry rider, big mountain rider, splitboarder or lottery
winner. This means taped seams, thin fabrics, waterproof zippers and
eye-watering price tags. Norrøna have a brand new line called Tamok
coming out which focuses on darker tones, and 686 have made their
first foray into Gore-Tex within their GLCR range. Quiksilver’s Highline
is a capsule collection featuring Travis Rice’s signature pieces and
Gore-Tex C-Knit backer technology. “This is really the pinnacle of
waterproof outerwear technology: gear that will keep you warm and
dry all day, every day, whatever the mountain throws at you”, explains
their Global PLM Thomas Bourgault.
A sub trend of this popular and well-selling direction is the trend
towards pieces with minimal stitching. The most innovative brands
are using multi-density fabrics and high-science fusing technologies
to reduce the need to stitch panels together. This means fewer holes,
less waste, reduced garment fragility, greater comfort and prettier
aesthetics. Whilst Picture acknowledged The North Face for their
efforts in marketing their Fuseform technology, founder (and happy
The most innovative brands are using multi-density
fabrics and high-science fusing technologies to
reduce the need to stitch panels together. This means
fewer holes, less waste, reduced garment fragility,
greater comfort and prettier aesthetics.
new father) Julien Durant is adamant that his company’s new Eno2
jacket is unmatched worldwide in terms of outerwear innovation.
The package includes seamless double density fabrics with jacquard,
seamless colour blocking, seamless body mapping and a lifetime
warranty on the fabric.
Quiet jackets that don’t sound like a wind
turbine when you’re walking around are
trending too, so make sure you give your
fabrics a good rub when you’re sashaying
The North Face’s Fuse Brigandine using a similar multi-density tech
counters with a twill based fabric structure that, along with a knit
backer, allows the jacket to feel very different from a traditional 3L. It’s
got better breathability than ever, moves easily and is very quiet. Quiet
jackets that don’t sound like a wind turbine when you’re walking around
are trending too, so make sure you give your fabrics a good rub when
you’re sashaying around ISPO.
PRIMARY DIRECTIONS - CROSSOVER
Consider adjusting your approach to selling outerwear, because we
found that multi-activity snowboard jackets are a big part of next
year’s product lines. “We’ve transitioned to make an entire collection
of lifestyle jackets which are as functional as outerwear but slightly
detuned for a more street environment. The brands that we see growing
aren’t sports specific...they’re stylish and versatile,” says Burton’s VP
of Softgoods, Andrew Burke. “There’s no real need to segment”, he
continues. “Of course we’re focused on making the best equipment
for snowboarding, but the lines in the marketplace have been blurred
for the consumer... there’s no reason to keep them up”. Urban Beach
agree: “We’re really focusing on multi-functional, so we’re working
our outerwear to perform as well in a city as the mountains or beach,
but just as functional and usable in cold and wet weather”, they say.
Animal mirror this: “Although we take our winter sports seriously,
we also realize that our customers’ needs go beyond the mountain
slopes,” states Leon Young, their Technical Outerwear & Men’s Lifestyle
Designer. Perhaps it’s time to pad out the streetwear part of the store
a little more with crossover winter jackets by accepted boardsports
Careful, though. Technical full-function outerwear that looks like
streetwear is not the same thing - and this is where it can get confusing
for customers. Zimtstern cited ‘shreddable streetwear’ as a big FW16/17
direction; their Leifz jacket has a rough surface, metal chest zips and
felt badging to look steezy on the mountain but still appropriate around
town. Volcom’s HR&S outerwear line is all about street influenced
snowboard gear. And every brand we spoke to has something similar
in the pipes. Where does this come from? Well, take even a cursory
look at the hot urban snowboard videos of the moment and you won’t
see a single snowboard jacket - it’s hoodies, jeans, cords, jumpers and
workwear. Some snowboarders don’t want to look like they are going
PRIMARY DIRECTION - MILITARY
Military styling and boardsports fit together like toast and peanut butter,
and there’s no change next year. You’ll see this done well at Dakine,
and DC twist it up with military influenced streetwear style. L1, as ever,
gather their inspiration from vintage military, which comes through
clearly in their on-trend, clean and functional line next year.
For a while it’s been long jacket, skinny
pant for the freestyle guys and straight
cut all over for the big mountain dudes.
PRIMARY DIRECTION - OTHER DIRECTIONS
Other directions you’ll want to look out for in the showrooms (or at
least drop into conversation with whoever pays you) are the long
bomber jacket/down jacket trend, and the retro surf vibe which is a
big direction for Quiksilver and Burton next year. There are double
knee pants abound, and bib pants remain un-ignorable in snowboarding
and you’ll see them from practically everyone. Holden’s Fader Bib is a
corker; it’s 20k/20k and the MSRP is very reasonable.
Gadgets and gimmicks are important features in an outerwear collection
- the forward looking and futurist customer loves that stuff, and they
make great talking points on the shop floor too. They’re also often the
first things to go wrong, giving shops fabulous opportunities to provide
excellent aftersales service.
Rip Curl’s Ultimate Search Outfit is a zip-free onesie which has an
also-available avalanche safety vest with integrated inflatable Mammut
Airbag 3.0, as well as avalanche equipment pockets which will excite
the safety-conscious client. Meanwhile, Billabong have a new Boa hood
adjustment system on their Polar Star jacket, and Westbeach are using
a new super-technical material in their new 30K Cove Jacket and Birch
Bib. In fabrics, Under Armour make their first foray into the European
outerwear market with a cool-sounding Reactor Jacket which uses
a fibre foam called VLAB. “The fibres are placed in a V shape, which
yields a very high loft at low weight. The insulation actively helps to
move moisture away from the body, and the shape of the fibres causes
a turbulent air exchange with low velocity, thus keeping wind away from
the body,” they told us.
Speaking of fabrics, there’s nothing utterly revolutionary out there
next year - it’s more about consolidation and improvements to working
practices. Burton have an in-house development facility in China called
Threadworks, in which they designed a face fabric using Cordura with
Gore-Tex. The final high-tech product is pigment dyed and enzyme
washed, which gives it great performance and durability with a unique
Mountain White play safer with classic British Isles fabrics like Harris
Tweed and Ventile, and Horsefeathers are showing washed effect
fabrics and a gorgeous dark denim-like fabric that’s well worthy of a
closer inspection once you touch down in Munich.
For a while it’s been long jacket, skinny pant for the freestyle guys and
straight cut all over for the big mountain dudes. This remains the core
silhouette, although there are some variations to look out for.
Muted, vintage and drab colour palettes
continue to be the most popular. Things
are definitely lightening up though
DC are big players in the street-inspired arena with a Drop Crotch fit on
their Asylum Pant. This means more comfort in the upper thigh whilst
maintaining a clean tapered leg look. 686 noted an increasing popularity
for straighter cut pants for freestyle riding, and Ride are adding two
new jacket styles - a roomy Parka Jacket and a tailored fishtail called
the Roanoke. Colour Wear echo this theme with new tailored parkas too.
There are new fits galore at Sessions and The North Face with full
retools, and Bonfire have a bunch of tweaks that promise to increase
ergonomy. We also saw some interesting raglan cuts and tightersleeved jackets from Light.
Muted, vintage and drab colour palettes continue to be the most popular.
Things are definitely lightening up though, best reflected at Brunotti.
“Our colour card is based on natural sources, mountains, minerals
and the forest”, explains the brand’s PR Manager, Anouk van Haaster.
Rip Curl echo the natural palette inspiration with water, trees, ice and
marble featuring heavily in their workbooks.
Earlier we mentioned the new collection from colour masters Norrøna,
which is slightly less ‘yo’ than before. Their Tamok line is “darker,
rawer and more toned down, appropriate for the true, gloomy northernNorwegian winter”, according to PR & Marketing Manager, Amanda
Lanza-Rygner. At North Face and Urban Beach, however, colour
remains key. The pantone-style purity of Urban Beach’s colours offers
some nice contrasts, whereas TNF told us that their riders prefer to let
their riding - not their jacket - do the talking and are thus asking for one
or two strong contrasting colours per piece instead of three or four in
From a manufacturing perspective it was interesting to see Light’s
approach; they produce in a partially owned factory, which lets them
do away with annoying minimums and sample room hold-ups. This
allows them to offer way more options - they offer all their pants in 15
colourways and each jacket has four different variations. Next year their
colour focus is on classic mountaineering tones as well as street style
looks with a focus on melanges in khakis, burgundy and anthra.
Finally in colours we’re seeing a wider adoption of good old white,
particularly at fashion forward brands like Templeton and L1. “We’ve got
lots of white”, explains L1’s Jon Kooley. “This was a demand from our
team riders which felt reasonable as most snowboard outerwear tends
to stay away from white altogether.”
Love them or hate them, there will always be a demand for the all-overprints in snowboarding. Zimstern have one called Paperwork and Nitro
have a cool sounding reflective print that looks tone-on-tone until the
light hits it.
Consider changing your approach to
selling outerwear slightly, because we
found that multi-activity
snowboard jackets are a big part of next
year’s product lines.
Airblaster have a cool pattern called Night Jungle - palms on a very
dark background - and partner with Lucas Beaufort on a repeat
camouflage pattern that’s called Critterflage. “It’s a reflection of Lucas
imagining and creating friendly monsters and appears on first glance
to be a classic vintage camo”, says Brand Manager Jesse Grandkoski.
Homeschool keep the tropical thing going too with a Hawaiian Galaxy
print showing watercolour florals on a subdued palette.
First layers are a key part of every snowboarder’s riding gear,
whether that means rails outside the sports centre at 2am or splitting
yoyo couloir laps in a storm. Whilst not outerwear, baselayers ought to
be represented in your shop. Shouldn’t they? Templeton’s Klaus Zenker
doesn’t think so. “Base layers is a tough market and almost impossible
to sell in average snowboard shops…plus we don’t want to offer the
seventh copy of a Ninja Suit”. Airblaster are well aware of the impact
their seminal piece has had on the worldwide chilling-gear market.
“Despite a lot of mainstream brand corporate knock offs, The Ninja
Suit is the original one piece hooded base layer suit and still the best
long underwear on the planet”, they say.
There are some interesting new movements in baselayers next year.
Brands we spoke to universally agree that merino is still the best stuff
out there. Westbeach have an all-new merino line in three colours,
super.natural are bringing out a 230gr merino Expedition Series
with some cool prints and Horsefeathers go merino in various levels
of colour insanity. There’s a full new baselayer line from Norrøna
cantered on a merino-wrapped nylon thread. While we’re on the
subject, it’s worth noting two interesting pieces of trivia about merino;
firstly, the sheep that provides the yarn is one of the strangest-looking
beasts you’ll ever come across, and secondly - and critically - a small
percentage of people are allergic to it and can’t wear it.
With that in mind, it’s important to propose an alternative. Volcom’s
baselayer programme gets a revamp using drirelease and recycled
polyester, and Bleed have a cool base layer using Tencel, a material
obtained from eucalyptus with soft skinfeel and high breathability.
There’s also a new base layer from Picture using Polartec Powerwool.
“We’ll be selling at 99¤”, says Picture’s Durant. “We won’t do price
point because we don’t want to sell low quality polyester products like
our competitors - even if some of those are very popular”.
Consumers need educating in this category because the overriding
consumer misunderstanding is that a 10¤ baselayer from certain
brands will do the same job as an expensive technical piece in the
boardshop. Luckily established players are doing their best to help us.
Pally’Hi are communicating around the benefits of their blend, which
contains recycled materials and bamboo to their merino blend, whilst
industry heavyweight Mons Royale are pushing their FWT partnership.
Their signature Mons colours are very strong and - from next year their higher necklines will offer face protection. They’re also shouting
the merino story to whoever will listen. “Because merino comes at a
premium price point and most base layers stay in your drawer unless
you’re out on the hill, the customer doesn’t get great value. But if it’s
styled so it looks good too and you can wear in on the street, to the bar
or the gym it becomes a much more useful garment – more valuable.
In the same way that the activewear trend sees people wearing their
sportswear to the café, with a Mons garment you can wear it as
activewear, casualwear or - of course - as a performance base layer”,
shouts Mons Royale spokesman Richard Birkby.
More than ever brands have been putting their riders in the driving
seat in terms of product development, and also collaborating with the
world’s finest shapers to create some unmissable pieces. Dakine’s fourpocket Control jacket was developed by Peter Line and Eric Pollard,
and 686 are showing Tor Lundstrom’s first signature jacket called the
Cult. There’s a Scotty Lago jacket from Neff called the Parker with
Realtree camo, and Protest have a 10K piece designed with Nadasurf
Powderboards. Frank April gets a signature 32 ensemble called the
Kaldwell, and Eiki Helgason’s signature models – the Baker jacket and
Cronus pant - are looking good over at Horsefeathers. Then there’s
brother Halldor Helgason’s atrip brand, about which you’ll have heard
unless you have been beneath a rock for the last two months.
Park-wise, Nitro have developed a jacket called the Shaper’s Choice
with the qparks crew, and DC have added an outerwear component to
their Snow Park Technologies partnership. “The #1 initiative was to
create something that would support SPT’s standards in what they do
on the hill. From hood to hem we worked very closely with Gunny to
design something that we believe compliments both brands”, they told
So there you go; a ton of twists on classic trends, some pimpin’ base
layers, lots of white, multi-density fabrics a go-go and a few new
approaches to selling snowboard clothes. Over to Airblaster’s Jesse for
the last word: “There are a lot of timeless elements that are considered
‘just trends’ or ‘played out’, but I think this is more a result of brands
that try to hop on perceived trends, instead of manifesting timeless style
through their design. Good music is always good music. Just because
a certain genre gets popular doesn’t mean that it is no longer good”.
Amen to that, brother.
Technical and minimalist
Vintage military styling
Multi-activity winter jackets
Base layers with face protection
Rider developed outerwear
Dark tropical prints
Photo : RECCO
MOUNTAIN SAFETY EQUIPMENT FW16/17 :
It’s a pretty safe bet to say that most people who like the mountains, love the white gold as well, especially when
it’s fresh, fluffy and untouched... And while avalanche trainings are crucial to help you avoid peril and provide vital
advantages when you’re out there, nothing can ever guarantee avoiding sketchy situations. The best option is to prepare
your customer as well as you possibly can and ensure the best chances for survival.
By Anna Langer.
Besides properly educating oneself on what’s going on in the
backcountry and where the major risks are hiding, riders need to
ensure that everyone in their group is tooled up in order to search, and
to be searchable should the shit hit the fan.
This is the main drive behind Recco’s “Be Searchable” campaign
that aims to dramatically decrease the burial time - one of the most
crucial factors in surviving an avalanche. A growing number of brands
and over 800 resorts and mountain rescue organizations worldwide
are partnering with Recco, adding reflectors to their gear with
corresponding detectors to increase avalanche safety. They are even
working on detectors and apps for drones that are able to search even
the most remote terrain without much difficulty. Next summer their
first helicopter Search and Rescue detector, the SAR1 will launch,
enabling the search of a square kilometre of terrain in three to four
Searching with a transceiver for a companion also wearing one is still
the first and most effective measure, but there isn’t always someone
with such a device on hand. Many tend not to pack all the right gear
when chasing freshies just off the side of the piste - statistics from
ANENA cited by Recco even states that alarmingly 50% of burial
victims off-piste do not wear transceivers at all. Which is still far too
high, considering that there has been tremendous innovation in the
last few decades, that not only make being found much easier, but also
the process of searching and finding someone. Whereas before these
devices were extremely costly, there price has come down – a factor
that not all consumers are aware of.
Most state of the art devices use three antennas as well as acoustic
and visual aids on digital displays to make operating in emergency
situations as easy as possible. Automatic switch back to sending mode
in case of an avalanche during search is included in many models as
well, such as the Ortovox 3+ that combines smart antenna technology,
real-time display, flagging function and much more into a mid-price
device that works on just one battery. Mammut’s Barryvox also
combines a digital and analog device with three antennas for quick,
easy and intuitive operation when you don’t have a second to waste.
Pieps now have digital displays with visual aids in all models.
But no matter how fast you can be found, you’d preferably not get
buried at all – enter airbag backpacks. There are slightly different
systems on offer from different brands. The Arc’teryx Voltair
Avalanche Airbag can be deployed multiple times and also taken on
aeroplanes thanks to its rechargeable battery – an industry first. Black
Diamond’s JetForce balloon is a little bigger with 200 litres and takes
3.5 seconds to expand around the neck and towards the sides, and is
not compromised by the low temperatures, thanks to cold-resistant
electronics from Pieps. Ortovox have dropped electronics completely
for their new Avabag, making it “the lightest and smallest airbag
system in the world,” and less prone to corrosion, dirt and icing up.
Mammut have updated their whole line of avalanche airbags, both
backpacks and the inflating system, eliminating all kinks and makes
wearing them even more comfortable. The brand says there is now
“virtually no excuse left to not take this part of your personal safety
equipment on any trip off-piste.”
With their new P.RIDE, airbag trailblazers ABS take functionality to
the next level. Enabling radio connection between up to 10 partners,
every group member can not only inflate their own airbag, but also that
of another active rider, who may not see what’s building up behind
them. Their new wings that inflate on the sides of the pack, ensure a
“beneficial horizontal position, minimizing injury risk,” and have a 30%
bigger effective surface for even more float.
For anyone who prefers to fly downhill with minimum weight, Dakine’s
Poacher Vest offer storage for all backcountry essentials without the
bulk of a proper backpack. And through their cooperation with Mammut
and the RAS, the Removable Airbag System, you can add life-saving
airbag “wings” to the vest as well.
Enjoy the mountain and be safe out there!
Torleif Aarskog Myhre joined the Session team in
Norway at the age of 19 as a sponsored snowboarder.
Torleif started working part time in the Session
Stavanger store, and moved up through the company
after finishing his studies in 2008. Now head buyer for
the chain with 12 doors and the webshop, Torleif shares
some buying knowledge and also tells us what he thinks
brands could be doing to help shops increase sales.
How long have you been a buyer for your store and how did you end
up in this position?
I got hooked up on the local Session team at the age of 19 and I started
working for Session in 2004. I was really proud to get the opportunity
to work for Session, which was, and still is the strongest and biggest
skateboarding and snowboarding chain in Norway - we’ve been here
since 1988. I started part time in Stavanger (Flagship store) for a
couple of years while travelling and studying Sports Science. After
finishing my studies in 2008, Bjarne (CEO) offered me a Shop Manager
position at Session Kvadrat. I worked there until 2011/12. After this I
started as head of the buyers group combined with more back office
work and assignments. Looking back at past seasons, what have been your biggest lessons
on writing orders and selling products?
In the early days most of our buying was based on “hands-on”
experience and expertise. I’ve learned it’s easier with better systems,
better sell-through reports and statistics. We often do our order
sheets by shop and compare products with stock/inventory. The
biggest challenge when you are buying new products is to balance
sales statistics and to predict future sales – what’s hot and not. This
was easier before when the market didn’t change so fast. Today with
social media the change is really fast and you need to be on your toes
to keep up.
If you could ask brands for support - what would it be for?
Product information must be easy to understand for customers. Easier
access to marketing support such as pictures and product information
that can be used as selling tools would be a bonus. An easy-to-use
B2B site would make e-marketing and the whole process from storage
to sale much faster and smoother. The goal should always be to get
your products ready for sale as fast as possible. Marketing is too far
ahead of retail. It needs to be more like: Products in store + marketing
= sales and happy customers, instead of: marketing + a delay in
product arrival = inpatient customers.
What’s your opinion on the current state of snowboarding?
The current state of snowboarding as a sport is good! The level of
snowboarding is insane and it’s still pushing forward. From a selling
point of view we had a good year in 2014/15 with increased hardgoods
sales of 30%, and it seems like the trend is going in the same
direction for this coming season. The freestyle segment is of course
the strongest but we see a growth in the splitboard and backcountry
market too. From our point of view this opens new doors to new
Do you have any advice to upcoming brands on how to be attractive
to retail buyers?
If we are talking about winter products it is easy. The deadlines are
way too early for key accounts. It’s really hard to place big orders
when the season has just started. This can result in wrong decisions
and wrong products. Punctuality is important especially when it’s
Which tradeshows do you attend and how important are they for your
ISPO is important for the industry and for us as retailers to see
brands’ position in Europe. We don’t do any pre-orders at ISPO,
almost every deadline for us is before the tradeshow so the decisions
have already been made. Of course there’s some deadlines after the
tradeshow too. In Norway we have distribution for some of the biggest
brands and all the buying happens the two first weeks of January (way
to early!). What techniques do you have for putting together your order sheets?
I use excel sheets with all the information on every SKU. It can seem
pretty heavy, but we import all our sheets into our system to build up
inventory information. We make one master and then we do one sheet
per shop together with the shop manager. It’s a pretty demanding
and heavy job, but it’s the most important part of the buy-in. When
we include the shop managers it gives us a more tuned “inventory
package” for each shop. Local knowledge is really important in our
industry. Small adjustments can make a big difference
on sell- through.
DWINDLE DISTRIBUTION’S STEVE DOUGLAS
Interview by Boardsport SOURCE Skateboarding Editor Dirk Vogel.
Steve Douglas has seen the highs and lows of the skateboarding
industry from every angle. As an upcoming vertical skateboarder,
Douglas left London, England in 1984 to pursue his dream in the
promised land of skateboarding – sunny California. “I had only one
thing on my mind… to turn pro,” he remembers. The dream became
reality in 1987, when Douglas earned his pro model on Schmitt Stix
skateboards, making him one of a select handful of Europeans with a
fully-fledged pro board from a U.S. hardgoods company.
and Zero Skateboards, plus Fallen Footwear at the company’s
headquarters in El Segundo, California. For our 80th issue, the
seasoned veteran shares his insights on the health of the industry,
the European market, and explains why hardgoods brands are still
the lifeblood of skateboard culture.
Then came 1989 – and skateboarding flat lined. When the music
stopped and many of his fellow vert skaters found themselves
without a chair, Steve Douglas joined his board sponsor Paul
Schmitt in co-founding New Deal Skateboards in 1990. A catalyst for
skateboarding’s creative (and commercial) renaissance, the company
ultimately grew into Giant Skateboard Distribution, home to marquee
brands such as Element, Mad Circle, 411 Video Magazine, and
Passion runs deep within our industry, also when it comes to
choosing the companies you work for. What were some of the factors
that attracted you to Dwindle and its brands?
Ever since my first US brand I rode for, which was Madrid in 1983, I
always rode for a brand that had its own wood shop. After Madrid it
was Schmitt Stix, and then when we started New Deal. So Dwindle
had that box checked with DSM [the Douglas Street Manufacturing
woodshop in Shenzhen, China] being a global company with a footprint
in three continents. Being very similar to Giant [Distribution] as a
multi-branded company was another factor, together with the people.
Staying true to his passion for skateboard hardware, Steve joined
hardgoods powerhouse Dwindle Distribution in 2005 together with
fellow 1980s UK pro skater Bod Boyle. As Dwindle’s Vice President,
Douglas now maintains leading hardgoods brands including: Almost,
Enjoi, Tensor Trucks, Blind, Cliché, Darkstar, Dusters, Kryptonics,
Who are some of the people you connected with at Dwindle?
Gary Valentine was an old team rider on Schmitt Stix and I had
We work really hard on trying to push skateboarding forward. I believe it is the
role of every skateboard company to do this. But when you don’t have your own
factory, you are quite limited.
always respected the Hill brothers. So when they invited me down to
Australia on the [Globe’s 10th anniversary] ‘Swindle Tour’ [in 2004],
I was like, “My goodness, these guys are incredible!” It was an easy
decision and then having the opportunity to work again with my longtime friend Bod [Boyle] – it was a done deal!
You and Bod were among the first European pros with fully-fledged
sponsorship and pro models from US companies in the 1980s.
What was being a European pro like back then compared to today?
It was totally different! There were way less pros, way less
companies, and we had way less support from the global distributors.
I think that today’s skaters have it a lot easier, which is great,
because it could not have been any harder in the old days.
Speaking of support on an international level, how does Dwindle
help European pros and retailers?
We participate fully in the market and many of our pros live in Europe
full-time. Our European pros include Youness [Amrani] and Willow
for Almost; Ben [Ramers] and Wieger [Van Wageningen] for Enjoi;
Lucas [Puig], Lem [Villemin], JB [Gillet], Flo [Mirtain] for Cliché;
Manolo [Robles] in Spain for Darkstar; and Sewa [Kroetkov], and new
rookie pro Sam Beckett for Blind. And this line-up doesn’t even get
into the ams… Not only do we work directly with the key shops and
websites on making custom marketing assets, we also have people on
the ground working with local media and all of our distributors from
offices in London and Barcelona.
What is your estimate on the health of the skateboard industry right
now in terms of active participation?
It is down for sure across the board all over the world. But the great
thing is the amount of skate parks being built. This means that when
participation comes back, the skaters will have many quality places to
And what about the business side of skateboarding, how healthy is
the market and what are the risks and opportunities right now?
For the established hardgoods companies it has its challenges. It’s not
a very healthy business and this is the reason you are seeing so many
hardgoods companies struggling right now. The opportunity lies with
having our people and riders in the market and taking market share.
So many of our U.S. competitors do not have the ability to focus on a
key market like Europe and many don’t understand or even care about
it, quite honestly.
On the subject of Europe, how do you see the boardsports retail
landscape in Europe evolving?
I think you will see it become more like the U.S., with more
[boardsports] retail chains growing across Europe. You can already
see it with mail-order companies.
What are some of the synergies with Globe as the owner/parent
company behind Dwindle? Does it help in terms of manufacturing,
distribution, and so on?
There are so many synergies: Our woodshop DSM, Hardcore
distribution in Australia, and all the backend logistics. Plus, with
Globe we have financing from a strong, global, and publicly traded
company with no debt, in which the Hill brothers – who are also
skaters – are the major shareholders!
The positioning of all the individual Dwindle brands is quite unique.
How do you safeguard the artistic integrity and direction of each
brand in the portfolio?
We pretty much let all the brands have free rein. We only really get
involved when we have to, which does happen from time to time. We
also meet with all brand managers in person every six weeks or so,
which totally helps out.
Out of all the hardgoods brands still in business, Dwindle is among
the most seasoned. What’s the secret to remaining relevant and
respected as a hardgoods company for over two decades?
It’s like the old saying: ‘Adapt or die!’ We are continually looking at
the business in the same way we would look at our skating – every
day going out there and striving to improve and never being satisfied.
We try to instil that sense in everyone at our business; that sense of
continuous improvement. And it never stops.
Dwindle is a major driver of new, improved technologies in hardgoods
– from IMPACT to lighter trucks to wheel formulas. Is it still hard to
convince the average skater, and by extension, retailer to adopt better
technologies, at a higher price point?
It’s challenging just to get shops and skaters to try out new
technologies. But once they do, they get hooked! It was the same with
our pros at first, but now our riders are so stoked that over 60% of
our team rides technology boards and can’t ride anything else. Some
countries and some shops totally embrace technology. And I would
like to see more, for sure, because these are not gimmicks – they
actually work. Our Mag Light Tensor trucks are 29% lighter than the
industry standard truck, just pick one up and you will see that it’s
incredible how light they are. We work really hard on trying to push
skateboarding forward. I believe it is the role of every skateboard
company to do this. But when you don’t have your own factory, you
are quite limited.
Pushing ahead, what is the overall vision for the Dwindle brand
We want all the companies to stand on their own two feet and be the
best they can be. We want to have a brand for every type of skater out
there and we want to have a board for every type of skater. On top of
that, a price point for everyone out there, also.
Where would you like to see the skateboard industry five years from
Hopefully, the industry will be a lot healthier for everyone. The
hardgoods companies need the money to make full-length video
projects to drive excitement. We need to do more global tours, so the
entire industry needs a healthy hardgoods industry, because we are
the ones that drive the whole thing forward, in my opinion.
And finally, what will you be doing after this interview?
Going straight into a meeting about skateboard videos!
THE FASTEST GROWING
SNOWBOARD BRAND IN EUROPE
VISIT US AT ISPO B6.320
SCANDINAVIAN FREESTYLE MACHINES
IN FRANCE, ITALY, GERMANY AND AUSTRIA
photo by marius svendsen
Started in 1979, Westbeach are a true heritage snowboard outerwear brand who have totally overhauled their back office and
product aesthetics/tech for FW16/17 thanks to extensive market research and a renewed energy from the new management
team since moving to the UK in 2008. Westbeach are focusing their outerwear game on the backcountry market, with their
lowest tech piece coming in at 10K/10K going right up to their backcountry specific pieces at 30K/30K.
Please tell us the reasons behind the
rebranding of Westbeach.
Westbeach originated in Canada in 1979 but has
been UK based since 2008. Although we are
proud of our Canadian roots and our heritage as
one of the original snowboard clothing brands,
growth in new markets and new product
categories meant it made sense to refresh the
logo and creative direction of the brand. Having
researched and tested several concepts we are
delighted with the reaction to the new branding,
which we have received both in Europe and
what is required.
3. We are Empowering - we aim to empower
the global snowboard community to continue to
push boundaries on a mental and physical level.
4. We are Positive - a simple attitude that
underpins everything at Westbeach, simply
seize any given day and get the most out of it.
We feel these brand attributes have enabled us
to produce an incredibly strong and innovative
product range for the fall 16/17 season. It
is our most comprehensive range for some
time covering new product categories and
demonstrating a clear brand DNA.
In what ways have you changed the company
to meet the needs of the re-launch?
We have looked at every aspect of the business
over the last three years form supply chain
all the way through to design and branding.
It’s not unfair to say that very little of the old
structure remains and we are confident in
saying that historical quality and delivery issues
are now firmly in the past. We now place a
huge emphasis on quality control right from
the sourcing of fabrics and trims through to
a final check before dispatch. We also have
a fully integrated business management and
warehousing system providing us with the
ability to rapidly turn around orders. These two
factors have resulted in high-level customer
service and satisfaction.
We have defined and focused on four positive
attributes for the brand:
1. We are pioneering and the vanguard of our
industry and this is more evident in the 16/17
line than ever before.
2. We are Authentic, after three decades in this
industry we have seen it all come and go and
we draw from this experience and understand
Where does Westbeach now sit in the
boardsports market place?
The brand had a small slice of market, we were
producing only outerwear, the range structure
was confused and there was no clear product
or price hierarchy.
Once we had examined the brand in depth
it became clear we had a strong following
of consumers who were only able to buy
outerwear from Westbeach. These loyal
followers were continually requesting products
in other categories and everyday price
accessible products. From this it was clear we
needed a streetwear offering and also technical
mid layers, base layers and accessories.
As a brand whose origins are firmly routed
in surf and skate it also made sense for us
to develop product in these categories. We
have new stretch boardshorts and technical
skatewear in development for summer 2017 and
let’s not forget Westbeach was born from the
famous reversible boardshort we produced back
in the late 1970’s!
Please talk us through your target market,
which customers will be buying your
We took a good look at our customer base
over the last decade to see who they were,
this process proved much trickier than we
ever imagined. We found Westbeach appealed
to a broader audience and it was more about
lifestyle choices and attitude rather than
your traditional age and demographic split.
For example the Westbeach consumer has
an attitude that they will push themselves to
the limits and they want kit which will allow
them to do this, therefore we will only produce
product with a high level of performance hence
our decision to make 10K/10K our entry level
outerwear spec, make the bulk of our range
20K/20K and introduce 30K/30K into our new
So as you can see being armed with this
knowledge has enabled us to produce a product
range tailored specifically to the requirements
of this audience. It has also enabled us to make
informed decisions on how and through which
channels we communicate with this audience.
definitely heart and soul in our products.
How do you see the development of the
apparel market in general?
I think consumers are becoming more
adventurous with how they accessorise.
Wearing a beanie is now less about the need
to just keep warm but a way to express your
style, on the mountains or in the city. There’s a
new generation of younger people wanting to
experience the love of adventure, which has led
to a larger variety of brighter and much bolder
clothing and accessories.
Moonshine MFG is a Washington-based company specialising in high-end longboards. Their products are all handmade in
the Pacific Northwest by local employees from ethically sourced local wood and International Sales Manager Colin Jacobs
explains how this helps the company stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Can you tell us about the history of the
Moonshine MFG is a grassroots brand founded
on the factory floor. Workers at Slingshot
Sports’ wakeboard and kiteboard factory in the
small town of North Bonneville, Washington,
saw the potential to apply the same materials
and technologies used in Slingshot’s high-end
twin tips to create longboards unlike anything
else on the market. These workers were given
the freedom to experiment in the factory on
their own time, and before long it was clear
that they were on to something truly different
and special in the industry.
Who is behind Moonshine Longboards and
what are their backgrounds?
The factory workers remain a key component
behind the Moonshine brand and research and
development. Officially, Moonshine MFG is a
sister company of Slingshot Sports; both are
operated under the umbrella of 7-Nation, a
parent company created alongside Moonshine
to facilitate operations of the separate brands.
Slingshot was founded in 1999 by brothers
Jeff and Tony Logosz, both of whom remain
integral to the brand. The factory, called the
Distillery, is managed by Bryan Trullinger
and continues to manufacture the vertically
laminated wood-core boards for both brands.
How do you differentiate from the
Moonshine boards truly are unlike any other
longboards on the market. We use the same
advanced processes for our longboards as
for our kite and wakeboards, which include
features like vertically laminated wood cores
instead of standard maple ply, precision
machined and 100% level truck mounts,
compression moulded and CNC machined
wheel wells and, last but certainly not least,
fibreglass finish and fully lined urethane rails
and truck mounts that make all of our boards
impact resistant and completely waterproof.
No other brand is employing the same
materials and techniques as Moonshine MFG;
when you see one of these amazing boards
you can tell the difference instantly.
Do you support/collaborate
with any athletes?
Although relatively new in the industry, we
already have a very strong following of riders
collaborating with our brand. Our list of
official team riders is growing as we speak,
particularly in the racing arena, where we
have quickly made a name for ourselves as
one of the hottest new brands on the market.
We have a core group of fully sponsored team
riders who are paid for their services and
provide direct insight and feedback to our R&D
department. In addition, we have several flow
team riders who represent our brand, help test
gear and create regular media content.
How do you use local resources
in your products?
We are very proud of the fact that all of our
boards are hand made in the Pacific Northwest
by local employees, from Pacific Albus wood
sourced from a sustainable tree farm just up
the river from the factory, that’s as local as
How has the longboard industry developed
throughout the years in your view?
We’re still the new kid on the block, but one
development we noticed, and one that sets
Moonshine apart from much of its competition,
was the trend of brands moving manufacturing
overseas to cut costs and increase production
to maximize profit. This contributes to the
cookie-cutter line-ups we see from many
brands; shapes and graphics might change
slightly from year to year, but true change and
innovation is lacking.
How do you stay ahead of the game?
Although our price point may be higher as
a result of keeping manufacturing local,
sustainable and uniquely high-tech, we feel
the quality of our product speaks loud and
clear to the benefits of our processes. As we
forge ahead, we remain dedicated to these
core values. Our future ambition is to continue
innovation in the build of our boards as we
expand our line-up to more sizes, shapes and
styles. You are also present on the apparel/
accessories market. How do you transfer the
Moonshine spirit from the longboards to the
tees, caps etc.?
Moonshine’s branding is catchy and has a
good general appeal that we try to translate to
our accessory line. Admittedly, our accessory
line is still in its infancy, but as we grow as a
brand and build a larger following, we expect
that our accessory line will evolve along the
way. Our new line-up of 2016 accessories
is about to launch and includes several new
designs we feel are rich with the Moonshine
Visit Moonshine.Mfg at ISPO Booth #B6.228
Australian based surf and lifestyle brand, Mambo aims to help artists gain exposure by providing a platform
for their work. With art, music, humour and surfing at the core of the brand, Mambo has over 30 years of
history and still creates fresh collaborations every season.
Please could you explain the current Mambo
The design and creative HQ is in Sydney,
where the marketing originates, and helps
keep our core philosophy. The brand has two
trademarks - a unique reality which occurred
when it was sold in 2002. In the European
territory, Andrew Gerrie is the CEO (ex-CEO
of Lush), Mark Tydeman is the MD and was
involved in Mambo from 1993 - 2003. Stan
Wan is the Global Creative Director. We work
in Europe with a local creative team called
Beach London, who are coordinating artists,
graphics and events, allowing us to focus on
the territories and cooperating on the global
marketing. There is a sales office in London,
which handles all European distribution.
Jarrod Clarke is UK Sales Manager. Jeff
Bradburn (ex Quiksilver) is European Sales
and Distribution Consultant.
How has the brand changed between now
and when it was founded 31 years ago?
Mambo began as an anarcho syndicalist
collective of stirrers and modern mystics,
which went from a garage in East Sydney
to becoming a much-loved institution of
ratbaggery. It became an international
clothing business that presented a manifesto
of concepts and cartoons attacking
hypocrisy, politicians and organised
religion, whilst at the same time promoting
Australian eccentricity to the world…’ Today we are still endeavouring to be
the same and preparing to re-focus our
battle for the hearts and minds of the next
generation. We have changed the way in
which artists are involved with the brand.
Previously, artists would turn up at the
door and show work in various forms of
completion. Dare Jennings, the owner, would
pass judgement, offer advice or sign off. So
it was very Sydney-based. It expanded over
the corresponding years, and the internet has
now offered global cooperation with artists. What makes Mambo different from the
Mambo operates according to four essential
pillars - 1. Art - When Mambo started, it began
with the aim to help artists find a medium
to exhibit their work, contribute to a brand
and make some money. The artists were
into surfing and/or music, so the brand
naturally raised the bar of the traditional
surfing ethos through an injection of humour
and intellect. The mentality of surfing,
music and art culminated in a freethinking,
light-hearted, even cynical irreverence
to retailing and the surfing industry in
general. It bridges the gap between high
art and commercial production by injecting
humour into what was initially a logo-driven
One of the most important contributors,
Richard Allan, posed the initial statement
that drove the ethos of the company with his
tee shirt and accompanied by the line; “More
a pair of shorts than a way of life.” One of
the highlights of Mambo’s existence was its
contribution to the Surrealist Exhibition
featuring Salvador Dali and Renee Magritte,
amongst others. This history of promoting
fine artists is still a cornerstone.
2. Music - What revolution hasn’t had a
musical base? Mambo is no different. Reg
Mombassa, one of the artists who defines
Mambo, was in Mental as Anything (Aussie
new wave/rock band). 3. Surf - In our own words, we are “the
bastard children of surf culture”.
4. Humour - This is about the irreverence of
a nation. One of the brand’s enduring images
is of Mambo’s iconic dog farting a musical
note. Numerous major brands have tied
themselves to some animal as their company
mascot - we just added a fart to ours!
What marketing are you currently running?
We have a major exhibition, featuring
the largest collection of Mambo art ever
assembled, touring Australia - 30 Years of
Shelf Indulgence (opening in London in May).
A collaboration with Emma Mulholland has
just launched on ASOS. There is also a new
collaboration with Anya Brock. What opportunities do you see in the apparel
We see opportunities to develop some of
our core lines - printed rayon shirts, printed
hemp shirts and shorts, and re-invent them
for the current market. Using new sustainable
materials is a clear opportunity, and the
companies we work with are developing
distribution to allow retailers and distributors
to buy direct, reducing the overheads and
increasing margin. brand profile
Heimplanet make iconic tents with inflatable structures allowing them to be erected in two minutes. The Hamburg-based
company also makes functional luggage, which allows their consumers to live their outdoor life to the full. Started by two
friends with a love for the outdoors and travelling, Heimplanet presents retailers with well thought out products allowing
the consumer to spend longer outdoors. CEO Stefan Clauss profiles the brand for us.
Could you tell us the history of Heimplanet in
a few sentences?
Heimplanet was born during a surf trip along
the Portuguese coastline in 2003. We travelled
along the coast and had to set up our tent
several times. One day we arrived quite late,
it was getting dark and it started to rain while
we were trying to pitch our tent. It was then
we started talking about the idea. At the time
it was just fun speculating about a tent from
the future, it wasn’t until 2008 that we took it
seriously and started to really work on letting
this idea become reality.
How would you define the brand’s identity?
With Heimplanet we want to represent a travel
inspired lifestyle. Traveling means a lot to
people and the way we travel has changed.
Traveling, now more than ever, means to
search for real experiences, and what could be
more real than waking up outside in the middle
Who is in the managerial team, and what are
Heimplanet was founded by Stefan Schulze
Dieckhoff, who used to work as an engineer,
and myself, a former consultant for strategicmarketing. We grew up together and wanted
Heimplanet to represent the way we have been
travelling all our lives.
How did you get the idea for inflatable tents?
We asked ourselves: “What would the tent
of the future look like?” and stumbled across
the work of Buckminster Fuller who was a
huge inspiration for us. He made the concept
of geodesic domes famous, which are now
known for their great stability. We then
translated this concept in the future by using
air to set up the structure. You just unroll and
inflate it. The whole set up takes about two
What sets Heimplanet apart from your
Every Heimplanet product offers something
unique. It starts on the material level and
accompanies the whole design process.
The results are products that fulfil the
highest quality standards and offer great
versatility so that they adapt to your needs.
No other industry has higher standards and
expectations when it comes to functionality
than the outdoor industry. This is our
benchmark and inspiration.
How would you position Heimplanet in the
European ‘outdoor’ market?
From our point of view, the European outdoor
market focuses very much on the expedition
side of outdoor travels. If you had asked us
in 2008 if we would have called ourselves
outdoor people, we would have denied it, but
looking at our lifestyle we were exactly that,
just not in a way that conforms to the typical
‘outdoor’ market. Most of the action sports
that we grew up with are outdoor sports and
the whole experience is much more than just
the action. Getting to the next spot, meeting
new people and staying outside where things
are happening are equally important.
What other projects are you working on?
We are working on some great collaborations
right now. It is exciting and equally
educational to work with partners from totally
different backgrounds. At the same time we
keep our focus on our core products to extend
our range. In 2016 we will introduce a new
range of packs and a new tent design.
Where would you place Heimplanet in this
development of the outdoor market?
The outdoor market is a very conservative
market and even though innovations play
a major role, you really have to earn your
acceptance. We saw a great shift this year,
which resulted in great customer feedback
and the first editor choice awards. So far the
outdoor channel is the most important for us,
but our direct channel shows the potential that
is coming from the action sports and lifestyle
world. People want more, real function and
they are searching for iconic products. This is
where Heimplanet products bridge between
these two markets.
What would be the ultimate Heimplanet
Think of surfing, snowboarding, mountain
biking or any other outdoor sport; you
are constantly searching for new spots
and traveling there is a huge part of the
experience. We have everything you need to
get you and your equipment there and keep
you outside, be in the moment and make
yourself at home, wherever you go.
including a merino terry-looking cotton. Our
outer layers include garments like our Mtn
Shirt, worn for riding or chopping wood.
Socks have become a category our retailers
love. The category getting the biggest growth
right now is our neck and headwear. Our
range has doubled in size for winter 2016 and
includes a variety of balaclavas and neckwear
(tubes). We have some interesting innovations
in this area, like merino mesh allowing easy
breathing whilst keeping the cold at bay.
Koroyd has been supplied to brands including Nitro,
Salomon, Smith and HEAD. Using it in manufacturing
is 70% lighter than a normal wooden core snowboard
whilst having more than twice the elasticity.
Implementing the material into helmets and protection
provides smaller, lighter and more absorbent products.
Look out for Koroyd at ISPO to see how they can help
increase the performance of your products.
Please could you summarise what Koroyd is and the different forms
it can take?
Koroyd is an innovative tubular core material. Our patented production
process creates a honeycomb like material with unique material
characteristics that offers superior performance compared to existing
technologies, specifically when applied as a lightweight core material
inside snowboards and skis and as an open cell energy absorber in
helmets and body protectors. Which action sports brands have you worked with over the years?
Our first sports partner was Nitro snowboards. At the end of 2010
we presented to them and they set about testing Koroyd in a range of
boards and construction types, which led to the launch of the Nitro
Ultimate and the Factory series at ISPO 2012; lightweight boards,
which didn’t suffer from increased stiffness and chatter. Nitro gave
Koroyd its first opportunity in the sports market and helped us
establish the business we have today and are our exclusive partner
in snowboarding. In skis Koroyd is integrated inside Salomon free
skis, HEAD ladies and touring skis and Elan jumping skis. We have
launched truly revolutionary helmets in both snowsports and cycling
with our partner Smith Optics. Last year we launched the ‘Evolution of
protection’ (EOP) range of thin and lightweight back protectors, which
can be integrated inside vests, backpacks and garments. Endura, Nitro
Snowboards, Fly Neo and Squirrel have built products around these
protectors. In Moto we collaborate with EVS and UFO. Any more action sports collaborations in the pipeline you can tell us
In each market we are developing with different premium brands.
We identify premium by reviewing a brand’s perceived position in the
market, technical capabilities, communication channels and quality of
final product. In each market we try to identify three or four potential
partners who meet these criteria and then approach them to introduce
Koroyd and see if there is common ground on which to collaborate on.
We have developments with further brands in watersports, ski, cycle,
moto and outdoor pursuits. 2016 partners will be communicated at the
time of launch.
How does working with Koroyd benefit an associated brand?
Our priority is to understand the brand’s product offering and identify
how Koroyd can bring genuine innovation to their line up. Achieving
these technical advantages by integrating our cores is essential.
Through our close cooperation with the brand we strive to bring the
end user a unique experience to enhance their activity. Something
measurable, which cannot be achieved with existing materials or
The main benefit for brands is the success from bringing innovative
products to market, which lead to increased consumer demand.
In many cases our brands have increased retail prices, increased
margins and seen increased sales in store. Additionally to developing products with different brands, we also
saw that you have your own range of back protectors.
We recently developed and launched our EOP central spine and
back protectors, which various brands are integrating inside their
backpacks and garments. The EOP 1.0 is an ideal way to protect
your spine, by inserting it inside your backpack. It is the thinnest and
lightest, homologated to the highest standard (EN1621-2 Level 2),
which leaves more capacity inside the backpack for your equipment
and does not weigh you down. Nitro is launching the new Slash 25
Pro backpack with a pocket designed specifically to fit the EOP 1.0.
Retailers will be able to purchase the EOP 1.0 back protector in retail
packaging and offer consumers the option to upgrade their backpack
by purchasing it in store.
What are the benefits of Koroyd compared to regular materials being
used in existing products?
Koroyd is 70% lighter than a normal wooden core snowboard whilst
having more than twice the elasticity. It leads to a very lightweight
final construction, with a familiar ride to existing wooden boards - the
first lightweight core material that doesn’t negatively affect experience
on snow. When applied in body protection and helmets, Koroyd absorbs
more energy than EPS, PU and Visco elastic foams whilst having lower
densities. So it opens the option to produce smaller and safer products
that are also lighter, and at the same time increasing ventilation.
IN BOARDSPORTS: BE TRUE, JUST START…
Everything is changing; the climate, the people, and their behaviour. But when it comes to changing towards
corporate responsibility, most major boardsports brands are lacking strategic direction. In search of answers
on how the boardsports business can overcome these challenges, Franck Laporte-Fauret from EuroSIMA
helps us to understand where the surf industry is at and where it’s headed.
By Cira Ridel at GreenroomVoice.
Not too long ago, “consciousness” was the major buzzword in
our industry. Magazines in the late 2000s were full of high-gloss
advertisements depicting recycled boardshorts and products
supporting philanthropic causes. And now? Did many initiatives fizzle
out because the product failed to compete with conventional goods in
terms of price, performance, and design and therefore didn’t convince
the consumer? In the bigger picture, it seems like our industry has lost
its environmental lead to major players in the textile industry, who are
pushing sustainability with more success.
Agreed, sustainability is not the easiest philosophy to implement,
especially in an industry where a carefree, laissez-faire, and even
reckless attitude is the main cultural driver. But that might be changing
as well, as individual creativity and accountability are stealing the
spotlight. As part of the #keepitreal mentality, sustainability is gaining
momentum again, this time on a personal level. Roll up the sleeves!
Just look at Dutch teenager Boyan Slat, founder of Parley for the
Ocean, who set out to fish 20 billion tons of plastic waste from the
The solutions are out there, together with mass amounts of good will.
All we need are authentic initiatives that get the scene excited. Every
child wants to save the planet on Instagram, youth does care and there
is a true way for meaningful business with a future.
From a sober perspective, shouldn’t shredding in a pristine, natural
environment and conserving said environment go hand in hand? As
long as business was booming, most large brands in our industry
would have whole-heartedly agreed.
“The first step consisted of supporting environmental projects on a
financial level through the EuroSIMA Environmental Fund,“ said Frank
Laporte-Fauret, Director at EuroSIMA. “This was easy at the time,
since the market was in a growth phase.”
“Next, some brands bonded together into an environmental committee
to work on ‘good practices’ and implemented environmental
management in their headquarters via the EcoRide Label,” said Frank.
“Almost 20 brands were involved and this collective dynamic still
applies. But we are also noticing that several large surf brands are
reducing their commitment in terms of their corporate responsibility.”
For a new hope, look towards family businesses and upcoming brands.
Burton Snowboards remains a leader in terms of authentic and
responsible management practices. The brand has been increasing
its annual share of bluesign-certified materials, while also strongly
implementing the Higg Index for measuring environmental impact in
the supply chain.
“We are also noticing that smaller and rising brands in Europe
show great initiative!” said Frank, enthusiastically. “They are deeply
committed and willing to go to great lengths. They start their business
with environmental management already integrated into their supply
chain and products – right from the start. It’s all a matter of faith.”
SMALL AND LOCAL
There is an encouraging number of emerging companies with values,
good community spirit, local influences, heritage and a much more
integrative approach. British brand Finisterre are an exemplary
company when it comes to environmental management, who created
their wetsuit in an open innovation process, involving over 300
consumers including their athletes.
Picture Organic Clothing is another young brand with a commitment to
sustainability, which has won them a large community of supporters.
Brands such as Pyua, Bleed Organic Clothing, Verkor, Shelter, Surfin
Estate, Api’up, Wetty, Defocus, Lastage, Inbô, Notox, Earlybird, Borealis
Snowboards, Bureo Skateboards, Ruffboards, etc. are authentic in
their commitment towards responsible practices, and also rally largescale communities behind their efforts.
It’s all about taking a first step. “Just start,” is what Jill Dumain,
Director of Environmental Strategy at Patagonia told me seven years
ago. Support your local economies, repair your clothes, and keep an
open eye for what can be salvaged and recycled. Every euro invested
into sustainability is a step into a more liveable future.
CONNECT AT ISPO
Visit the GreenroomVoice Booth “INSPIRE” (B6/526) at the upcoming
ISPO tradeshow in Munich to witness solutions implemented by
progressive companies in the outdoor segment. Also don’t miss the
“Boardsports Get Together” on Tuesday, January 26 at 6 p.m. at
01-LIGHT BOARDCORP – ISUP
Light Boardcorp are Launching a complete line of
premium ISUP models in 2016. The range includes
a 10´2” and 11´2” Allrounder as well as a 12´6”
Tourer and 14” Race model in various colours.
All models are manufactured in top level 2 layer
technology. The set includes a solid backpack
trolley and Bravo´s latest double action pump.
02-NOW BINDINGS DRIVE BY JEREMY JONES
No stranger to anyone, big mountain legend
Jeremy Jones is just that - a legend. The
unbelievable descents he’s made, and locations
he’s been to, leave you itching to embark on your
own shred quest. Designed by Jeremy himself, the
2016 Drive is now equipped with Hanger 2.0.
03-BURTON - ALMIGHTY BOOT
The Almighty Boot offers ultimate, whilst
providing a firm flex, with PowerUP Tongue for
greater response. The total comfort construction,
Shrinkage footprint reduction technology,
awesome snow-proof internal gusset, and Level
2 Molded EVA Footbed with ESS support shank,
and an Aegis™ Antimicrobial Coating, ensure
your feet are kept warm, dry, comfortable and
hygienic. The Almighty Boot also has the NEW
Life Liner, with Dryride Heat Cycle Lining, and
Tuff Cuff. The DynoBITE EST® Optimized Outsole
with strategically placed rubber traction pads and
ReBounce Cushioning ensure this boot offers
outstanding comfort. With Burton’s Speed Zone™
lacing system, powered by Burton exclusive New
England ropes (with a lifetime warranty) you’ll be
on your board in a flash.
04-ARC`TERYX VOLTAIR AVALANCHE AIRBAG
A trim profile avalanche airbag capable of multiple
deployments within the same backcountry
excursion. The heart is a 22.2v Lithium polymer
rechargeable battery that powers an advanced
engineered centrifugal blower for superior
inflation performance in adverse conditions. The
Voltair has a mechanical ‘always available’ trigger
handle, easy-to-use leg loop and perfect for airtravel (battery is easy to remove). Made in Canada
at ARC`TERYX´s own advanced manufacturing
05-AMPLID - THE AUGMENT BINDING
Based on the chassis of Amplid’s popular Balance
binding, the Augment features a new injection moulded
ankle strap which takes responsiveness and edge
control to a whole new level. Customisation comes in
the form of Amplid’s Surf Strap, a narrower ankle strap
for the rear binding which allows a looser, more agile
06-ELLIOT BROWN - ELECTRIC BLUE FACED
Gaining many fans in this year’s Elliot Brown line up
is their range of interchangeable strapping - offering
literally thousands of combinations. This dark brown
pull-up leather on an electric blue-faced Canford has
leather that develops a subtle sheen as it wears in,
giving the whole watch a unique and very personal
07-AIRHOLE - INSULATED AIRTUBE CINCH
The Cinch is back with an updated ergonomic shape
for maximum comfort and protection. With 100% down
fill, the mask is field tested as the warmest for weight.
The direct injected silicone Airhole allows the user’s
breath to enter and exit freely, keeping your face dry
and warm, especially with the super soft tricot face
08-MONS ROYALE BELLA COOLA TECH ZIP HOODY
The ultimate base layer for girls who push their limits,
this fuses all the natural attributes of merino with
technical performance in one product. A slim athletic
fit, contoured mesh panels and flatlocked seams give
close-fitting, breathable comfort. Raglan sleeves
maximize freedom of movement and thumb loops
keep everything in place. The long front zip provides
ventilation or insulation and the hood lets you batten
down the hatches.
09-RECCO - ACTION VEST XV D3O
The high-end product of the XV range, the Action
Vest XV D3O, offers the main features of the Action
Vest XV including a Recco reflector and adding the
D3O technology associated with an anatomic belt for
comfort and better fit. A new optimized back protection
area, focusing on spinal injuries with a longitudinal
plate, combined with an adjusted belt makes you feel
safe and does not limit your range of motion while
10-PICTURE SPREAD HELMET
Picture have developed Composite Fusion Plus, an
impressive new innovation in the helmet industry,
which will be introduced for the ISPO Awards. The
technology brings more safety by quickly dispersing
impact across the helmet to soften hard blows.
Picture continue their green story, ensuring 100% of
their products are made with recycled EPS from the
Japanese car industry.
11-ALUMINATI - DRIP DYE GREEN CRUISER
“Tastier than a fresh candied apple”, Aluminati cruisers
are dripping with graphical goodness. Though, you
won’t find wood or plastic at the core of this board. All
Aluminati decks are made from aircraft grade aluminium
meaning you have one sturdy, eye-catching ride.
12-PHUNKSHUN WEAR DOUBLE BALLERCLAVA
Phunkshun have taken their two best selling masks
and combined them to create the ultimate product
for protecting against winter weather. The Double
Ballerclava is made from recycled plastic water bottles,
using Repreve fabric, has a water repellent double tube
construction around your neck/face, is lined with mesh
and also features an added hood, for seamless integration
when wearing a helmet.
13-SP-GADGETS – REMOTE POLE 40”
Extend your range and your possibilities with the SPGadgets Remote Pole and get the best possible shots of
the action: simply attach your GoPro Wi-Fi Remote, Smart
Remote or even your mobile phone (with SP-Gadgets
Phone Mount) to the Pole and get going! The rugged and
ergonomic handle gives you extra stability and control
and, together with a remote, enables you to shoot exactly
what you want the way you want it. Extendable from
14–40” (36–99 cm) to give you even more freedom for
14-BURTON - CARTEL EST BINDING
The Burton Cartel EST Binding has a dual-component
EST baseplate. The single-component hi-back
construction features a Living Hinge, zero-forward lean,
canted hi-back design and with DialFLAD. Trust the
new Hammockstrap with flex slider and NEW Supergrip
Capstrap to keep your feet in place, with added security
from the double take buckles, featuring Insta-Click for
speedy entry. This medium cushioned binding has an
AutoCANT SensoryBED cushioning system, with B3
Gel so you can ride all day. The medium-stiff Cartel EST
Binding rides exclusively with Burton Boards Featuring
The Channel™. Burton have created this awesome binding
using re-ground materials to reduce waste.
15-SANUK - DONNY TRIBAL CLASSIC SIDEWALK
“Steeze” the day in these funked out editions of one of
their most classic sidewalk surfers. The ultra squishy
footbed ensures ultimate levels of function and comfort
for those ole’ dogs of yours. This mean, clean funky
machine will keep you movin’ and groovin’ from morning
till night! www.sanuk.com
16-POW GLOVE CO - THE ALPHA GTX
The Alpha GTX leads the pack as an example of the POW
Glove Co commitment to building gloves that feature
innovative technology and quality materials. The Alpha
GTX is backed by the GORE-TEX guarantee - to keep you
dry, and also features the Premium Pittards Oiltac Dragon
etched leather, merino wool lining and Primaloft Gold
insulation amongst its key features. To see the full POW
Glove line drop by at ISPO Hall B6 Stand Number 406.
2015 was an interesting year for the boardsports business in
Germany that showed different faces and facets in different sectors.
Jörg Ludewig, Co-Owner of Urban Supplies Skateboard Distribution
in Wiesbaden sums up the year, “as the saying goes: inconsistent”,
with positive developments in skate hardware, where decks and
completes are selling well, and “bad” experiences with apparel, while
online retailer WeAre.de talks about a “fantastic year,” even the “best
in the last five years” as director Steffen Oberquelle reports. Stefan
Zeibig, owner of the Switch Boardershop in Straubing, is happier
than he’s been about the last two years too, although he considers
the main reason for that being footwear and longboard sales. And
even though shoes will “always work”, Stefan suspects a decline
in the longboard market next year, that is already looming on the
horizon and has already been mentioned by different retailers and
distributers. Jörg at Urban Supplies also recognised this trend, even
though they are not “intensely involved in the longboard business”
and hence didn’t feel the “downfall of longboards” so dramatically.
In general the “pace has become noticeably much higher,” says
Steffen from WeAre.de: “Brands and trends alike rise and fall much
faster than they used to in previous years. Within one season, a
brand can move from strongly growing sales and stable margins to
dwindling sales with smaller margins. We’re not going to point out
anyone in particular here, but it’s a fact, that the ups and downs are
coming much faster now, and the curves are much steeper too.”
Except for shoes. “Sneakers have been our top issue in 2015,”
Steffen at WeAre.de notes, “with a special mention for Adidas with
their Superstar and Stan Smith models, which were among the top
performers. Other sneaker brands in our range like Nike SB, New
Balance and Asics had a really good year as well.” A trend running
similarly in bricks and mortar retail as well, where “the Swoosh
sells extremely well” as Stefan from Straubing reports. “Everything
that falls into this runner-style category is working really well
at the moment,” Stefan states, confirming the global trend for a
sporty-fit lifestyle, that is already conquering the textile sector with
activewear. But to Stefan it’s also important to still stock “real skate
shoes” from proper brands Emerica, éS or Globe; authentic brands
who have been part of the business for decades. Because there are
still “fans of that too, who don’t really buy into the whole runner
trend but prefer a classic skate shoe.” He even thinks that “they
will never die out – I even think this target group will emerge again
over the next couple of years. One day the runner trend will be over
too.” Bearing in mind the trends and developments Steffen observed
within his online client base, he could be spot on with that.
Jörg says that the whole market has become “very price sensitive,”
meaning he has had to balance out the majority of price differences
(due to the dollar shift) within the distribution itself, to make sure
their goods are not “out-pricing” themselves. “The price level of
textiles imported from the U.S. has moved up a lot,” he continues,
“so a lot of customers are switching to cheaper alternatives. That
has become socially acceptable. Primark etc. are real competition.”
Sadly, Stefan shares this experience in his shop, too: “Apparel was
rather weak, people aren’t as brand-conscious with their clothing
anymore, as they are with shoes,” and sums it up Bavarian-style:
“They don’t care what they wear.” Of course a little “gang” of
die-hards, who want to show the world that they’re skaters or
snowboarders through their t-shirts all year long will always stay,
but the “logo brand shirt wearer” has gone.
There’s far more to boardsports than logo tees, and nothing is more
crucial to boardsports than the hardware we need to surf, skate
or snowboard. “You’re not earning big bucks with hardware, but
if I’m a boardsports shop, it’s part of the deal,” Stefan explains,
who is holding on to his approach, contrary to many other core
shops, who have cut this sector. “I can’t just follow every trend,
selling longboards and sick t-shirts. Of course it’s nice to have the
other stuff that sells, but I do need the hardware too, otherwise
I’m not an authentic shop any longer.” For snow, he works a lot
with Burton, one of the most authentic labels for him that’s not just
still owner-led but also invests a lot in future customers with their
kids programs. Mervin, Bataleon and Lobster are important for him
as well, generating the most demand on the customer side these
days. “People are specifically asking for them. And I really like
Goodboards too, they’re doing great snowboard business. From 365
days a year, it feels like these dudes are on the mountain for 500!”
And authenticity is not just important for him and his shop, but also
the brands he sells. “When you went into a core shop back in the
day, you knew that all labels were involved in the sport somehow.”
Today a lot of big online retailers also stock denim and other fashion
labels, “which also has its part in the culture,” he admits, but says
the identity of a brand is portrayed so much better in a stationary
At the same time, connections and relationships between “too many
or the wrong retailers“ are just as important for internet suppliers
such as WeAre.de, especially if specialising in boardsports as much
as the Hamburg-based company does. “Brands who don’t follow a
clear strategy here and simply sell their stuff out to random shops
have lost already. While it’s obvious that there is no such thing as
THE strategy that works for all brands, I’m stunned and speechless
that in the year 2015 there are still brands out there who send their
reps out to take orders and then produce 20% more than their total
pre-order bookings as standard. That’s like driving down an autobahn
in fog at 200kmph, knowing there have been 20 crashes already,”
Steffen sums up.
It seems like it’s time for a real change in attitude, not just in our
industry but also with consumerism in general. Jörg takes this
even further: “Unfortunately mainstream media, tradeshows, and
big corporate groups seem to blank out reality easily in order to be
able to continue sending out ‘positive news and reports’. This has
gone much further than keeping up good spirits and now borders on
simple denial of reality. So much is being corrupted, almost no one is
earning proper money any more so some rather harsh cuts are sure
to follow.” Of course these are hard words that need some time to be
digested first, but boardsports have never been known for being soft
– boardsports are all about hurting yourself until you nail that trick,
and about doing what it takes to follow our dreams.
What a year it’s been. The end of the winter season blessed us with
some pretty good conditions. Summer – the best we can say is that
it was not a complete washout and did bring some decent swells - if
not sustained sunshine. Autumn blessed (!) us with some amazingly
mild weather and the watersports market continued well into October
and even into November. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away,
and the winterports business was really slow to get going.
At the time of writing this (early December) we’re still waiting for
some real snow to fall so that people will start to feel like parting
with their cash. Though it does seem as if many are already in the
Having just returned from Kaprun for the Nitro meeting, the glacier
boasted plenty of snow, and sun, and wind. But the valley was
greener than green with only patches of artificial snow remaining.
That said, some resorts are opening early, meaning like our business
- it’s mixed. As I am sure you know, these meetings are to look at the
new products, ride the new kit and sink more than a few beers. We
see old faces for the second time in 12 months (the first being ISPO)
and we swap stories, ideas and anecdotes. Then we go our separate
From a distribution perspective (and with Credit Control in mind)
there’s no doubt that this has been one of the hardest years. We’ve
had more procrastination than ever and we’ve had some fair sized
casualties. Those that remain in business still retain that amazing
‘stiff upper lip’ and an unwavering faith in our markets – it is always
my fervent hope that the failure of some retailers will benefit those
remaining in business rather than seeing it get swallowed up by
Amazon. Sadly I feel that this may be a forlorn hope, as Amazon
continues to eat away at the outdoor market.
And what of Black Friday for the UK? I made a point of not buying
anything (apart from a beer or two) and I particularly loved the REI
approach in the USA who closed their doors, gave all their staff and
extra days paid holiday and encouraged people to get outdoors. The
cynics will say it was a well-planned PR stunt. Who cares - good on
them for spotting the opportunity. Let’s all get on the bandwagon and
see if we can join them outdoors – whether it be on water, tarmac or
And as for our own coalface… I spoke to three diverse retailers
starting with Peter from PJ’s Surf on The Gower in Wales. Peter
sums up the year: “Not bad but not a year to write home about”. PJ’s
is one of a couple of dozen ‘real’ surf shops in the UK and he gave
me a clue as to his success when he corrected me on a question I
asked about the sport. “For me it’s not a sport – it’s a way of life.
Those retailers that follow this way of life will always survive. Of
course we’ll never be millionaires but love what you do, and do what
you love. PJ’s survive by offering honest sensible advice from people
who do what they love. Those corporate boys cannot offer that. Our
customers know it.”
Duly corrected on the way of life (which I totally agree with), I asked
Peter about clothing. “We’re really a hardware store but of course we
do sell clothing. I’m pleased to say that our biggest brand is our own
label stuff. People want to be part of our store and are proud to wear
our brand. It’s great and it’s something that you’re simply not going to
get from all these online giants.”
2015 on The Gower has been blessed with some good swell but only
mediocre weather: “It’s been another OK year. Nothing spectacular,
but just OK. You can’t have everything can you?” This was how the
conversation ended with a very philosophical, very happy and really
Darren at The Snowboard Shop in Fleet is of the same ilk as Peter.
“We’re in this game because we love it. We love talking snowboarding
and skating. That’s what we’re about.” Of course talking the talk
doesn’t pay the bills but business is not so bad for Darren: “We’re up
on last year and we’re busy. Whilst it’s been a bit of a roller coaster
ride – up one month, down the next, up for two weeks and down the
next – overall it’s good. Pricing is brutal with all the onliners fighting
it out but we still believe that our strength is our bricks and mortar
store. We’re totally confident in that but at the same time, we realise
we may have to get in the mix”
Darren has a novel solution to the problem of showrooming: “If
someone comes in for a boot fitting we charge them £20. If they
buy the boots then, of course, they get the £20 off the boots. If they
don’t buy the boots they get a £20 credit to spend in store which, of
course, encourages them to come back.” Personally I think this is a
really good approach to the showrooming problem – he is basically
sifting the wheat from the chaff and if someone wants to use his
expertise and buy elsewhere then they have to pay for the privilege.
All this said Darren has a great footfall-conversion rate: “I reckon
that up to 70% of people coming into our store make a purchase
– I may be a little optimistic at that but it isn’t far off.” Finally it’s
changing times for Darren and his team “The scooter business is
over and we’re out. But we’ve introduced SUP this year and hope that
it can bring in some much needed summer business”
Now I have to finish off the year with Jeremy at TSA and, in his
own words, he’s storming: “We had good growth last season and
it’s continuing this season – particularly in entry level boards
which I’m really pleased to see.” TSA has seen a 10% decline in the
average price of a board but this is not down to discounting or price
matching. Far from it: “Top end boards are still selling well but entry
level boards are flying – it’s fantastic to see. This, on top of kids stuff
flying out the door means we have a good sustainable business for
the future.” But surely Jeremy is affected by the bun fight? “Not so.
We made a call to get out of the sh*t fight years ago – we’re different
and that’s paying off!”
Finally the last word goes to Jeremy on Black Friday: “It’s boll**ks.
There was one UK store offering 30% off for Black Friday. Then next
weekend it was their birthday so what do they do… 20% off again. We
did nothing for Black Friday on our hardware and we had a stonking
three days.” It can be done.
For France, 2015 was an annus horribilis, punctuated more or less by
horrendous violence. January 7 and November 13, 2015 will remain
engraved on our memories forever. The French government has
declared a state of national emergency until February 26 after seven
simultaneous attacks in Paris and Île-de-France saw the deaths of
130 people and left hundreds wounded. It was in this context that
popularity for François Hollande saw a spectacular rise. According
to one survey, 50% of French citizens interviewed had a favourable
opinion of the Head of State who regained the same popularity as
he had in summer 2012, just after being elected. But the state of
emergency in France only seems to be benefitting the National Front,
which is rising and embedding. Testament to this is the party’s record
scores at the last regional elections. The National Front pulled off
another historical breakthrough on Sunday, December 6, at the first
round of regional elections, with a national score approaching 30%
and a leading position in six of the thirteen new metropolitan regions
following the territorial reform.
On the economic front, whilst the establishment is still charting
growth of 1.2% in France for 2015, it quickly reviewed its projections
for 2016 and 2017, dropping to 1.4% and 1.6% respectively instead
of the 1.8% and 1.9% they had anticipated up to now. “Outlooks on
economic upturn and inflation remain subject to the threat of a
decline”, underlines the Banque de France, explaining the erosion
of its forecasts by “a slowdown in global growth”. According to
the French central bank, the economy picked up because dynamic
exports were up despite “the slowdown in global commerce identified
at the start of 2015”. As for unemployment, the recovery was very
short-lived. The number of people registered as unemployed at the
Job Centre rose again sharply at the end of October with 42,000
more jobless (1.2%) - bad news for the government that last month
believed that the unemployment curve had started to take a turn for
the better - a promise from the François Hollande campaign.
The boardsports market now has an unprecedentedly sellable
image. The French are attracted by these sports and the image they
carry. Examples of this can be seen in various international brands’
advertising campaigns, using the different sports as well as their
images to promote products that are sometimes far-removed from
our world. In the four corners of France, all shops agree, the French
public are more and more attracted by these sports but as Tim from
ALL’s Bro in Toulouse confides, “this is not necessarily felt in shop
For retailers, 2015 started with good weather and snow conditions.
Snowfalls in February 2015 were significant across the whole
of France and especially in the Pyrenees. Abundant snowfalls in
February and record snow depths helped sales along and purchases
of technical outerwear prevailed over equipment. In resort, these
snowfalls had a positive impact on sales, more specifically on
accessories, particularly gloves, beanies, socks and small extras.
More generally, the number of shop visits was quite stable. This
trade has always depended on the weather but that’s nothing new
and does nothing to explain the major trends either. This year access
to resorts was particularly sketchy, which put off day and weekend
The months of April and May were also slightly up; an improvement
essentially in technical equipment and everything that touches the
surf world. The start of the summer season, however, was hardly
encouraging. The current economic conjecture, the war between
physical shops and online shops and the rise of prices were
significant factors in this timid start. The sources of this setback
were various: the later dates of the school holidays, the less than
perfect weather, how the bank holidays fell not being conducive
to work, etc. There are so many factors to explain why the start of
season had trouble getting started. The general rise in prices due to
a historical $/¤ exchange rate certainly didn’t help out.
While the start of the season was pretty quiet, “sales in June and
July saw a good improvement on last year”, confides Gontrand
Marchal from OGM Bodyboard Shop in Capbreton. This trend was
confirmed by all the coastal shops. “While the month of June was
slightly up on last year, it’s certain that July was much better,” Fred
Tisné, manager of Tao Surf Shop, Hossegor tells us.
The glorious weather of the 2015 summer season seems to be one
of the factors for our industry’s situation. Indeed “extraordinary
temperatures in June and July combined with really nice waves
for the period encouraged tourists to come and prompted them
to consume,” according to Didier Poupon from Bud Surf Shop in
Longeville-sur-Mer. The same goes for the Mediterranean coast
where “the nice weather and the little waves led to sales of entrylevel boards,” according to Patrick Colin from the shop Aloha in Six
Fours. The story was similar in towns. In Lyon, David from ABS
noticed “a good rate of sale in summer wear and notably shorts
and baseball caps.” Even still, other “products such as bucket hats
or skate shoes seemed to be slightly down this season” for Florian
Bathaud from Okla in Toulouse.
The skateboard section seems to be the “section having most
benefitted from this extraordinary weather,” for David who confirms
a trend already well established for some time now in France: “The
cruiser remains a really good seller and the start of the season didn’t
seem to show any signs of this slowing down, on the contrary.”
As for SUP, the weather also lent a hand to the market, notably in
relation to sales of “inflatable excursion stand ups and beginner
SUPs, which constitute the biggest chunk of sales,” according to
Patrick from Aloha.
Regarding the back to school period for street shops, after a pretty
quiet summer, sales were “up on last year and the year before,”
according to Romain at ABS in Lyon. Florian Barthaud from Okla
in Toulouse backs up this trend: “We noticed a slight improvement
compared to the 2014 back to school time; this period brings large
increases in sales”. The start of the winter season in France
was relatively mild and as Catherine and Norbert from the shop
Atmosphere in Gap explain, “the change of season was relatively
slow and winter arrived later than last year.” So we saw a reduction
in back to school season sales for shops more geared toward the
Nevertheless, in Stand Up Paddle, Pat Colin from Aloha in Six Fours
noted a slight increase in sales: “We are always improving, especially
in sales of technical products like wetsuits and boards, etc. This is
still due to the rise in popularity of SUP and the continued infatuation
with the sport.”
One thing is even more obvious this year than ever, online purchases
are taking a bigger and bigger portion of Christmas present sales
volumes. Indeed, e-commerce is growing once again this year and
it’s now mobile phone and tablet purchases that are seeing the most
growth. This is a trend that retailers are taking on board and adapting
to by offering more services and advice to their customers.
I’m going to start off by looking at online business here in Italy.
In 2015 the turnover for Italian online business will hit 16.6 billion
Euros, and that will be an increase of 2.2 billion (16%) in comparison
to 2014. Here is a little breakdown from where the growth is coming
from: tourism (+14%), informatics and electronics (+21%), clothing
(+19%), media (+31%) and these segments have also increased:
food, interiors and cosmetics. According to Milan-based online
research outfit ‘Osservatorio Digital Innovation’, online business in
Italy has established itself in the same way as it has done in other
nations including France, Germany, the UK and the U.S.A. Good
numbers, but the question is where is all of this turnover going?
Talking to different retailers we notice that the big chunk of this
online business is ruled by the big players and by well known online
retailers from Germany, Austria and France who sell into the Italian
But just running a website with lots of products doesn’t mean
you’ll sell. A well coordinated marketing push combined with good
service and an easy to use, good looking website is needed to make
it work. Even if an online store isn’t providing huge turnover, it´s
still important for many retailers to serve as a shopping window.
In general, 2015 was a tricky year for many retailers. First of
all the weather and climate conditions played their part; really
hot temperatures during the summer with over 40° degrees and
very warm temperatures until the end of December didn’t help
in selling snowboard hardgoods and heavy jackets. Competition
between core stores and big box stores grew bigger, while brands
try to expand into mainstream consumer stores, which makes the
core stores struggle. And what’s happening in bricks and mortar
boardsports retail? Lukas Höller from Sublime shop in Bolzano
reckons customers are becoming far too familiar with multiple
The Spanish economy has seen continued growth in the second half
of 2015, although at a somewhat slower pace compared to the first
six months of the year. GDP experienced an estimated increase of
0.8% during this period, with a year-on-year variation rate of 3.4%.
As in previous quarters, this progress in the markets was propped up
by a strong private domestic demand, whereas net external demand
seems to have maintained a negative product contribution.
Overall, economic and financial performance in recent months along
with the changes identified since June in the applied technical
assumptions, confirms the recovery scenario anticipated in June’s
Quarterly Report, with an estimated growth of 3.1% and 2.7% in
2015 and 2016, respectively. Expanding economic activity in Spain
is expected to continue through the end of 2015 and throughout
2016; in particular, the average GDP growth is expected to hit June’s
estimates of 3.1% this year and 2.7% next year.
After successive positive figures in June and July for the first time
during the last year, the CPI fell again in August (by 0.4%). This new
disinflation is associated to recent further reductions in oil prices in
the international market. CPI may see a slight upturn of the yearto-date rate at the end of the year although losing 0.5% on annual
average. In 2016, this rate would stand at 0.8%.
With the aim of translating this overall scenario to sliding sports,
I took to the streets to talk to Kike Arranz of Boardsport Daktak,
one of the leading shops in this field in Madrid. “The array of surf
customers is wider than years ago. More and more male and female
customers are taking up the sport. We have noticed this, for example
in the number of wetsuits we are selling. Surfing, along with
snowboarding, are the most booming sports at the moment. After a
stagnation period in snowboarding sales, they have now consolidated
again. Starter surfboards are selling very well and that means people
are beginning to take it more seriously. Last season we noticed some
discounts throughout the year, and they are holding out for events
such as Black Friday to make their purchases. Gianluca Tognoli
from Frisco Shop in Brescia would like to see more support for core
stores because he says they were the ones who put these product
categories on the map and made it relevant for bigger stores by
creating a cool image for the product in the first place. Gianluca also
says stores need to focus purely on brands that are concerned with
‘keeping it core’ in this new type of industry where everyone has to
compete against big box stores and huge online discounters.
When talking about brands, the bigger players lost a bit of traction in
the core segment because of their wide/large distribution through
many different channels. Products such as GoPro are seeing slower
sell-through in the core segment because kids can find the product
everywhere nowadays. And as Gianluca from Frisco said, the real
core has returned again where brands such as Thrasher, Diamond
and Palace are selling like hot cakes because of their exclusivity and
more limited distribution. Nike as a major player stands out from
the crowd and still seems to do well everywhere, showing strong
results in all kinds of stores from core to mainstream. It´s a thin
line and every store needs to find a product selection that works for
their customer base. Overall the boardsport segment is trending and
numbers are good but with distribution becoming more mainstream
it is a struggle for many smaller retailers. Italian newspaper ‘La
Repubblica’ recently reported that skateboarding is fashionable, but
the brands it featured weren’t core with the exception of DVS. This
shows that what the mainstream needs is education and only core
stores can tell the story.
See you at Bright in Berlin this upcoming January!
Franz Josef Holler
improvement and we hope it will continue this season.
Regarding skating, this sport is always going to be there, despite
the fall in sales due to the longboarding boom. At the end of the day,
skateboards are both very affordable and easy to use anywhere. If
kids save their pocket money they can have a good set-up for a small
After retail, we explored the manufacturers’ opinion and in particular
that of Eduardo Cenzano, General Manager of Trinity Techonologies
(boardsports service and product design), and a member of the surf
industry cluster Surf City Donostia. “As a company dedicated to
producing B2B products, this year we have detected a major increase
in the interest in our products, especially from international markets.
The industrial sector translates this interest into longer term orders
when compared to sales to private individuals, so we expect most
leads made in 2015 to transform into orders in 2016.
Regarding end customers, international sales have experienced a
very significant rise due to the launch of new products under licence
by the leading brands in the sector, which has finally consolidated
the innovative and differentiating nature of our products in the USA
and Asia-Pacific. At national scale, we have seen some recovery
from 2014, however, this improvement lags well behind that of
the international market. We hope that this positive momentum
that appears to emerge consolidates in Spain in 2016. In any case,
we have definitely detected a clear trend in the boardsport sector
towards exploring new technologies, innovative trends or even
radical products. Years ago only expert visionaries in the sector
could visualise this trend. In the national market this trend is much
more limited, and sales concentrate on more consolidated and
Jokin Arroyo Uriarte
The summer from a fairy-tale, an autumn for the books and a late
winter – 2015 may not have been ideal, but it sure was an interesting
year. A season start as late as the last can have its perks too, as Didi
Feichtner, Sales Rep Austria for Mervin Mfg, Faction Skis and Lokahi
Boards explains. “Despite the very late start, the season was pretty
good for us, with stable sales until Easter.” Most shops sold pretty
well compared to the previous year, so much so that some retailers
even took advantage of so-called “close-ups,” buying boards for
cheaper prices at the end of the season. “And not just when there
was still snow, but also after” Didi continues. Hence he’s not too
worried about another late start to winter. “November was quiet,
but still strong in sales. Some of our retailers have already sold all
of their pre-orders and are now in full swing for winter.” This may
be aided by the fact that many shops have cut down their hardware
ranges. “Most smaller shops nowadays only stock one premium
brand plus one, maximum two cheaper ones. Classic multi-sports
retailers like Intersport for example even stopped selling boards,”
Didi is still confident for a good winter, an attitude Christoph
Bammer from Motion Sports Distribution with headquarters in the
capital Vienna shares and confirms: “Splitboarding continues to be
a must and a great revenue driver for shops,” especially Karakoram
and SP Bindings, which are “really rocking!” he froths. “New events
like splitboard and freestyle camps, banked slalom and freestyle
sessions will strengthen the snowboard sector,“ Christoph continues,
feeding hopes for a stable market in future. Skateboarding has
already accomplished that in Austria, with a continuous rise for
some years now, the last being no exception. “2015 we sold more
completes from Blind and Darkstar, and also the DC Super Hero
completes from Almost were pretty good,” says Christoph. “U.S
The watersports market, thanks to the growth of SUP, is holding
up pretty well and it’s bringing the wetsuit market with it, which,
while still not exploding, does represent attractive revenue for some
specialists. The surf market, although very small in our country void
of waves, is steadily growing and with the Swiss fondness for quality
and travelling spirit, don’t hesitate to buy equipment at specialised
Swiss shops and pay the cost of transporting their boards on their
surf trips. The segment is small of course, but it does have the
advantage of not being too reliant on the weather and doesn’t really
depend on tourism.
The skate market has remained more or less similar to last year,
maintaining good sales figures even though we can clearly see
an abatement of the craze for plastic cruisers in most shops. The
problem with skate sales is not really the sales volumes but the
margins that are made on them, firstly this margin is small but also
the base price, which is not very high, has substantially dropped in
recent years. It is therefore very hard to make any decent money.
Being the number one business in the boardsports world in our
alpine country, the snowboard market is at the centre of the debate.
Firstly, the market is decreasing by about 10% each year and has
brands are losing ground in the active core skate scene though. A lot
of skaters now prefer to buy Euro brands, like Magenta, Polar, Isle
or the Sweet successor company Sour Skateboards.” Cruisers and
drop-through longboards remained strong as well. But since August,
Didi has noticed a slight decline that Christoph confirms: “By the end
of summer the market felt saturated, probably due to a load of cheap
suppliers and the incredibly wide spread availability of longboards,
from book stores to supermarkets.” But he keeps a positive outlook
on 2016 nonetheless: “We had pretty nice pre-orders for 2016 and are
positive that longboard sales will even out on a rather high level.”
Softgoods and apparel are not as clear, unfortunately. “A lot of
retailers ordered less from bigger brands and are trying out smaller
ones,” says Christoph, suggesting, “a lot of them are in trial mode
right now. No one knows what will work and what they should stock
up on.” Didi shares similar experiences with outerwear: “Retailers
bought less and more selectively, not filling their warehouses.” The
golden November didn’t help either. “When it stays warm this long,
many customers don’t even bother buying a new jacket, but will
continue to wear their old stuff for ‘those couple of weeks’.”
Since a lot of shops are “trying new things,” it’s “hard to make out in
which direction the trends are going,” thinks Christoph. “Skullcandy
had good results with their Sports Performance line this summer,
and just in time for Christmas the new Wireless In-Ears and OnEars came out to the shops.” GoPro seems to be “running out of
steam a bit as well,” he says “albeit on a very high level. The sales in
cameras are definitely declining though, although accessories from
GoPro and SP Gadgets continue to be strong sellers.”
What an emotional year; the scarce snow in winter, a mixed spring, a
summer of extreme temperatures followed by a rather warm autumn,
bar a few days. All this didn’t really help the Swiss boardsports
market in 2015. But beyond these meteorological facets, there were
a lot of macro-economic changes such as the price reductions due
to the strength of the franc against the euro, the intensification of
the struggle against foreign websites, the decline of tourism and the
overall drop in shop visitations.
done so for ten years now. Secondly, consumption has changed;
today we estimate that 30%-35% of boards sold are destined for the
rental business, which means that there is a greater proportion of
low-end boards sold and in turn is drastically reducing the turnover
for brands and distributors. Next up, obviously the Internet has
completely changed the market and is giving a large number of
“traditional” shops massive headaches and leaves them searching for
solutions more than ever. These days the consumer is three clicks
away from being perfectly informed about both the equipment and
the price. This poses two problems, firstly, customers are arriving in
the shop knowing exactly what they want, are not easily advised and
then unless the said equipment happens to be in stock at the retailer,
who is having progressively more trouble selling his/her own
stock, the retailer is forced to sell on special order. This is largely
facilitated by the more and more frequent use of B2B platforms put
in place by suppliers. They are very useful, efficient tools but they
do not encourage the retailer to take any risks during purchasing at
all. Then we have the obvious problem of price comparison, indeed,
some German, French and Austrian sites are really aggressive
and their Swiss sales are increasing each year. This forces Swiss
retailers to redouble their efforts and creativity to offer a morethan-perfect service to prevent their customers from ordering
online. Above all, this often leads to a drop in their margins with a
systematic 10%-15% reduction on the recommended retail price and
to offering more and more benefits like free lifetime services, repairs
and other free after-sales services. The game has changed, everyone
knows it and is working flat out, but no one seems to have found the
brought to you by Boardsport Source & ActionsportsJOB.com
brought to you by Boardsport Source & ActionsportsJOB.com
SURF / SKATE / SNOW / SUP TRADE
FREERIDE WORLD TOUR
SIA INDUSTRY &
AIR + STYLE
PRO SHOP TEST
SIA ON SNOW DEMO
FREERIDE WORLD TOUR
AIR + STYLE
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH
MARGARET RIVER PRO
SUMMER X GAMES
SPIAGGIA DI SANTA SEVERA
ITALIAN SURF EXPO
LOW PRESSURE STUDIOS SALES MEETING
Austrian agent Bjorn
Creative director Danny Kiebert
DBK is stoked on the new gear!
Halldor and Dennis Dusseldorp preparing
for the Switchback presentation
International team manager L’Arrogs
Jeremy Sladen of The Snowboard Asylum
Malachi (BC Surf and Sport) gets a tattoo
from Galya Gisca
Malachi, and the US sales team touring
Amsterdam the traditional way
SPLIT & RELAX 2015 - SPLITBOARD TESTIVAL HOCHKÖNIG
Amplid’s Rich Ewbank
Muck (Munchie Konsilium)
and Jakob (Burton)
Pia Schröter (Vökll) and Muck
Robert Login (SP) and Willi Schiedermeier
Patrick & friend
WORLD SNOWBOARD DAY 2015
Airhole Face Masks crew with 28cm of Fresh
Happy World Snowboard DAY
from the Stubai Zoo
Antti Autti, Ounasvaara
Boarders’ Shop, Bucarest, Romania
Gian Simmen - Laax
Snowpark Nesselwang, Germany
Travis Rice celebrating with friends
at Jackson Hole mountain resort.
WSD15 in Jilin, China