Sorry for the delay in joining on this thread. Remi, who sits here opposite me in our office, has mentioned it several times.
Over the years, we’ve been under tremendous pressure to keep Starboard’s board range tight. As a brand that loves new concepts, it’s hard – so we’re trying to find a good balance between the two. If you look closely at the 2012 range, we’ve sadly eliminated the Serenity and the K15. The Atom will go after New Year. It’s a shame because I still really love them all and I really believe they are great boards. I have a special edition Atom and a Serenity which I will keep preciously in a collector’s vault. It just goes to show the amount of pressure we have from the market and our sales network that has to finance each model we release.
When it comes to technology, we’ve also had to trim down the options. You’ll see that our freestyle board is now available only in WoodCarbon, for example. The Evo is now in Wood or WoodCarbon, when last year we offered a Technora option. The Futuras, and the new 2012 Carves that will be launched on January 1st for that matter, are now available only in Carbon and Wood.
When we did this merging for the Futuras and Carves, we had to choose which technology will be the basis for the ‘new Wood’. We chose Technora because it had the price point and a larger gap to the top-of-the-line Carbon. We also had some issues with two test centres on the Technora in 2011, along the rails around the mid-section, which required some extra reinforcements. We saved some weight by losing the deck paint, but overall there is a weight increase. This is why the 2012 Wood is significantly heavier than the 2011 Wood.
In terms of marketing, we knew that there will be a period of transition and that people would be disappointed that the Wood is no longer Starboard’s flagship construction – but it’s something we just have to go through. As the years go by, Wood will have to be content with being the mid-range construction. For those who are disappointed with the weight, hopefully the lower price will be a consolation.
Effectively, there is no direct replacement for the ‘old Wood’, with its unique price/weight/stiffness ratio. The Carbon option remains the top choice for the best possible acceleration and minimum weight.
As a side note, our hand was also forced by the fact that other board brands called their lower mid-range construction Wood. Their price and weight was more like our Technora, so we had the problem of windsurfers not choosing to buy our Wood because ours was more expensive (people didn’t seem to notice it was lighter back then!).
Finally, I want to make it clear that this Technology merging between Carbon, ‘old Wood’ and Technora to become Carbon and ‘new Wood’ is ONLY FOR THE 2012 FUTURAS and the new 2012 CARVES (the latter are to be released after New Year).
The Wood technology on the Evo, Quad, iSonic and Kodes are still built in the full PVC sandwich, full Wood deck and full Wood bottom skins. They are at the same weight as last year plus a little extra as we added a reinforcement patch around the rail of the front foot. There is no plan so far to change their construction either, as the ‘new Wood’ that is currently used for the Futura/Carves will not be strong enough for extreme wave and freestyle boards, or light enough for slalom.
While we’re here, I’d also like to quickly mention another Technology transition we are making, not directly related but similar. Over the next year or two, you will see the term ‘WoodCarbon’ being replaced simply by Carbon, even if the bottom uses Wood. You can see this in the 2012 iSonic 97 Carbon for example, or the 2012 Futura 101 Carbon. Next year, the wave boards will also be renamed Carbon, even though the construction will remain identical, i.e. with Wood on the bottom.
So within the big Carbon Technology family, there will be boards that are built with the actual carbon material on both deck and bottom, and others will be using carbon on the deck only, with wood on the bottom. We choose between wood and carbon for the bottom construction, depending on the use of the board. Wood is more controllable and stronger, so we are using it for high wind slalom boards and wave boards. The reason we want to make this terminology change is to simplify the perception of technology options.
By 2013, we want to have simply three main families in the future: Carbon, Wood and Tufskin.
I hope this helps (and I hope that I can still remember my forum password),