Wednesday, May 2, 2018

News about Patrik Models, Foils, Boards and Fins


Hi

I have been waiting for some of the 2018 equipment ranges which have still not been introduced.  

Patrik

Patrik finally introduced his new slalom range which now includes two construction options.  He is still not showing his hollow boards which would make three.

Anyway the two constructions on the site are GBM (high spec) and GET (lower spec).  The red GET boards are quite attractive, not much heavier but more flexible (probably good for control in the smaller sizes).
    
What concerns me slightly is that the two construction lines seem to be different designs.  Here is the 130l version of each construction.  Have a look and see what you think:



All the sizes seem to show slight differences between grey and red models.  What gives?

Industry Concerns

I am still waiting for MB slalom and free ride models, most of the Avanti sail line, Naish’s 2018 Starship etc.  Angulo may have thrown in the towel.  They have had no new stuff on their site since 2016 and Peter Bijl has nothing on the sales part of his site.
 
These things are easy to complain about but the sad thing is that they all point to troubles in the industry.  The traditional windsurfing market is shrinking and everyone (each supplier and consumer) needs to consider the way forward.
 
Suppliers clearly need to broaden their customer base with kiting, SUP, foiling, apparel pure surfing etc, with windsurfing being a shrinking part of what they offer.  The industry also needs to develop a business model to give the best chance of surviving.  

I’m not sure what such a model may be.  Maybe everyone signs on to the central manufacture of accessories (lines, extensions, mast feet, booms etc), standardized and manufactured in one place to contain costs.  I’m thinking three levels of each thing (high tech, medium tech and budget).   Each supplier would then merely choose a technology from the factory, have its branding affixed and take bulk orders.
        
Another approach could be to decentralise the whole thing, manufacturing small quantities of equipment in a range of small facilities spread across the windsurfing globe.  This could be done using a combination of clever licensing agreements and strict quality control together with modern manufacturing and materials technologies.  Such an approach could be both lean and flexible.   I may share some ideas about this in a future post.

Anyway, here are three nice new developments:

Foil

Mert Ozener alerted me to RRD’s new aluminium foil,  sporting an adaptable mast head which can be configured to accept a whole range of fin boxes.  
This is really intelligent and commendable.   

The pity is that it is only available in aluminium.  I suppose CF is more difficult to set bolts into.  They prefer to mould everything into one piece for integrity.  Anyway - well done RRD.



Fin

Gareth Hill mailed me from England saying that he has ordered a Fly-Fin from FRPGear.  Gareth is one of our local sailors who has homes both here and in England, allowing him to live (and sail) in perpetual summer.  He is also a competent windsurfer who will provide feedback on the fin’s performance in terms we can all understand and relate to.

The guys at FRP have produced a large (and slightly bewildering) variety of shapes for their fins and have even made their own board.  Fantastic!

 
I’m not sure if all of this stuff works for normal high performance blasters but I admire the energy, enthusiasm and inventiveness of these guys.  

Their fabrication is top-notch because of their history with the technologies.  Gareth is going to give us feedback on the fin he has ordered and I can’t wait.

Boards

Danny Bruch is in the process of establishing a new windsurfing brand.  It will be known as Diamond Boards and it promises to be something special.


Danny, as most of you will know, is a world ranked windsurfer who spent many years developing boards for Starboard.  

He has moved to Tenerife where he has organised a manufacturing facility very close to his local windy beach.  Very nice.
  
The set-up provides an opportunity to manufacture in the morning and test the very next day, an example of the lean, flexible approach mentioned above.  

Danny compares his concept with the established Cobra factory based approach where you fly to Thailand, fashion your proto-types with the factory, fly to a suitable testing venue with the proto-types, test them, amend shapes where necessary, fly back to Thailand and furnish the final amended plans for volume production.  This is a hugely wasteful process and Danny’s set-up is so much more elegant.    

Diamond Boards will offer their own proprietary shapes covering all the windsurfing disciplines but will also offer the opportunity for you to specify something tailored to your own needs.  
Say you really like your Starboard Kode Feewave, but would prefer it with a power box centre fin.  You could specify such a thing, lodge your payment and await delivery.  Very cool!

Good winds         

6 comments:

  1. About Patriks,
    it seems that GET Slalom (simpler version) dont have option for CutOut plates anymore, here is one image from GET slalom board

    http://surf-forum.com/forum/thread/16417-neue-patrik-range/?pageNo=53

    So possibly cutouts for bigger sizes have been redesigned.

    Construction wise GET slalom should be great for average slalom blaster. It has similar construction as GBM F-Race, Glass bottom and Carbon Top.
    GBM F-Race feel so easy and fast on heavy chop. I own 120 F-Race from 2016 and love it, cant find anything wrong with that board. And now i got 150 F-Race few weeks ago...
    ...what a machine for Heavy (fat) Sailor like me. Feels so direct and free and when planning it feels so much smaller than 85cm wide board, almost as fast as my 120L F-Race

    Margo

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    1. Thanks for this Margo.

      Like you, I'm a huge fan of the F-Race boards. The 120l model is what I would use in my own quiver instead of my pure slalom boards.

      Anyway, I wait to see a new red Patrik on our beach to have a good look at it and chat with the owner.

      Regards
      Phil

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  2. Phil,

    The ‘functional currency’ in Asia where much of the world’s capacity for the production of windsurfing equipment is based, is US Dollars (USD). This has made makes fluctuations in the value of the Euro (EUR) against the greenback a critical consideration, since Europe (where a fair share of the demand is) has not only seen a heavy deterioration of disposable income since the 2008/2009 financial crisis, but also pricing issues, since distributors have felt the need to offset the devaluation of the EUR (against the USD) into their price tags.

    What has exacerbated the problem is the increasing use of composite materials in daily life, and this has prevented to fall in their prices, despite the fall in oil over the last couple of years, oil being a major raw material.

    I felt it necessary to start out by highlighting this, since we in Turkey have been feeling the bite of an ever weakening currency. The resulting rise in the price of windsurfing equipment (in local currency terms) has shied demand away and exerted financial pressures on windsurfing centers, the very places that act as nurseries for new comers into this sport. (I was one of them 5 years ago)

    I sense that the emergence of more local brands/ custom shops in Europe, (eg Diamond, Flikka, 100 boards, AV Boards, Elixir, Phantom windsurfing, MB etc.) and even in the Americas (Tillo International in Miami, and one or two brands in Latin America) I think may be response to this. That is to say, bring the product closer to the target market and do away (as much as possible) with currency induced pricing worries as well as transport costs.

    And now for a general observation of the industry. The key word here is Allen Greenspan’s term: “Irrational Exuberance” : here referring to the relentless pursuit for greater performance and edge, regardless of what the mass-market wants. As a result windsurfing has become a fringe sport on its own, a cottage industry that is never able to keep itself at the center stage. Windsurfing by nature is supposed to be a flexible sport, that can be done in all conditions– contrary let say, to wave surfing that requires a specific water state. And yet, there is still debate about the sport being excluded from the Olympics... And sailing cups get more sponsorships, prize monies, media coverage despite the very fact that a majority of us may never step on a performance racing boat, let alone a 10 foot dinghy? .

    I think just as much as the industry needs to nurture engineering talent (which it has) it also needs mindful and level headed management. Take it from a guy who has dedicated his professional life to brokerage and investment banking, and who has made it his mission in life to keep track of management teams and corporate governance. 

    There is still hope:

    a) Inflatables...Especially Duo’s semi inflatable offering is in my opinion the best thing that ever happened to free riding. And its foil compatible!
    b) Foldable sales...RRD has a great line up here.
    c) Wind foil/wind sup/sup combo boards...Like Naish’s Hover 120. Foil surf, wind foil and sup all in one.
    d) The reintroduction of the windsurfer class : not the most portable of equipment, but designed to bring laid back fun into sport, just like in the good old days.

    Best, Mert



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    1. Thanks for this Mert. We can all learn something here.
      All the best
      Phil

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  3. for MB boards I saw this ...
    https://www.seabreeze.com.au/forums/Windsurfing/General/MB-Boards-Interesting-shapes?page=1

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    1. Thanks JW.
      I have been through the entire thread and it makes for interesting reading.

      We still need to see one or two independent tests on MB boards (preferably freeride and slalom) to begin to get a proper sense of these shapes.

      All the best
      Phil

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