- Sales figures are obviously still going upward in the surfboards market, but at what rate? (1 or 2 figure growth?)
I would have to say Plonka sales are up around 10% from 2015 and we are expecting a better increase 2017
- The performance/hybrid shortboard has been a hit for 2 to 3 years now. Still is?
For sure, when you consider that for the past 5-10 years (even 15 years) so many new people have been introduced to the sport of surfing and went through a surf school using massive beginner surfboards. At some point these novice surfers are going to go out and purchase their first surfboard (stores online or in a local surf shop) and in my opinion it’s this purchase alone that has fuelled sales on hybrid shortboards. Now add “ foam is your friend” into the equation and everyone just performs better when there is a little extra foam in the nose for example. All my boards are hybrid shortboards and 50 % of my clients are the ones wanting to transform their surfboard to a smaller more manageable size.
- Is there a trend toward quivering?
Yes. More and more surfers enjoy having multiple boards in their quiver, because the surf conditions change daily and we should be flexible on what type of craft we should be riding on any given day - correctly suited for the conditions. Even tho i sell mostly short & wider summer surfboards which are perfect for the summer months in France more and more surfers are surfing right through the seasons (winter and summer) meaning their equipment needs to change from summer to winter boards. By having an available quiver of small wave surfboards and boards for bigger waves which are totally different in shape and purpose, possibly helps the surfer (longterm) to be more adaptive to their equipment , when we have a quiver available on demand.
-The “weirdo” disruptive designs (such as Tomo shapes & Kelly Slater Designs) have more than gained traction over the past years? The weirder the better nowadays?
“WEIRD” boards are ok!! as long as the surfboard functions - which is the most important factor.
I am not too interested in the whole “weird” surfboard evolution like Slater designs and the too, because for 1 i have already found a product that works for my clients and 2 i believe that there are already so many other creative shapers in the world that are happy creating their own “weird” version of their own product and these guys do it more for the passion than money. And trust me i have seen some pretty “weird” surfboards.
- The shortboard length has shrunk in 5 years or so, why doesn't it mirror on the final price? (smaller foam blanks and less materials)
It does not work like that when we make the surfboards, because the process of manufacturing the boards is still the same- very laboured. It’s the old traditional way using man labour to produce each stage of the manufacturing process. The surfboard blank is the same, shapers still shape the board and need to be paid, the same for the rest like glassing and sanding. Hopefully one day the manufacturing process for surfboards will move to a less labour intensive process and ideally create an environment where the process is quicker and possibly less waste materials are encouraged.
- How much has the volume awareness changed your relationship with customers? Board calculator is the new (computer generated) sale method
Good question. In recent years i would say about 50 % of my customers have some kinda idea of the volume their prefer and we always end up making something along those lines. What’s great here is that more and more surfers are becoming more involved in a different way - not only the dimensions of the boards important , but now volume adds to the “feel good feeling” of the board under his feet. The client know’s when the board has too little or too much volume so we work closely with our clients to get the best working solution by getting the correct dimensions, volume and their actual surf experience to produce a great surfboard for the customers personal needs.
- Entry level: what’s new for the beginners and casual surfers beside the ol’ mini-mal and funboard?
Everyone has started to understand that a short, wider and thicker surfboard are fun boards.
All beginners started on massive foamies and will eventually make the transition to a shorter surfboard. The same goes for casual
- How do you address to the female surfer/customer? (designs, looks) Same question for kids.
Each person has their own version of what’s a great surfboard so my job is the speak to the client and get all the information about their preferred needs, their experience and any other details which helps to me produce the perfect custom order.
The obvious questions will be size, how long have they surfed for, their ability , weight , age etc
- Aging surfers: the 40 to 60 y.o. surfers make up the numbers and they are the ones with the money. What boards are they looking for? (performance with extra foam or retro top end with fancy glass job?)
I think this age group of surfers always concentrate on volume to help with paddle power and catch more waves.
- What are your top 3 (5 ?) selling boards?
The favourite surfboard model is the Plonka. Full of volume in the middle which helps with paddling and then the small round tail with single into double concaves.
Size: 5’10 x 20 1/2 X 2 1/2
Diet Plonka is the small version of the Plonka - less width and less thickness , but the same shape on the outline. This is our more performance based model.
Size: 5’9” x 19 1/4 X 2 3/8
The BIG BOY Plonka is a version of board for surfers big size, around 100 kg.
They will find a good stability on small surfs, a facility of paddling and catching more waves.
Size starts at 6’3” X 21 1/2 x 2 5/8
- Size matters: are 8+ foot guns representing a noticeable outlet?
O for sure. Hossegor has a big wave scene and the classic 8’0 and 9’0 foot guns are very popular here. Everyone wishes they had one.
- Constructions: innovation is everywhere, are surfers eventually open to change(s)? What do you bring on the table for 2017?
I am very interested in epoxy and vacuumed production surfboards at the moment. I plan to set aside 2017 to developing our own Eco-Plonka range. Bio- sourced epoxy resins and recycled materials with less or no waste.
We also offer professional Surfboard Shapers Workshops in Capbreton.
- Distribution: is online direct selling an option in the future or will you always entrust your offer to the core shops?
I think its about 50/50 because in summer everyone want to spend their money on new equipment and can choose their perfect surfboard from the stock on the racks vs just about everyone using the internet for everything.
My website works well for information on Plonka Surfboards and sales.
Planet friendly: what are you doing to ensure your staff's health and make the planet slightly less damaged?
We are planning to move over to bio-sourced epoxy resins and recycled materials with less waste.
By using non-toxic epoxy resins means the air is clean and not harmful to the staff.
By using non-toxic epoxy resins, recycled materials and less waste means we are (at least) trying to make a difference towards going “green” and producing eco-friendly surfboards for the future.