Customer research often has dramatic effects. When surfboard manufacturer Surftech showed new graphics to surfing instructors last summer, the firm got valuable feedback and acted promptly, according to Transworld Business.
Surftech’s new Learn2Surf soft-top boards are a direct result of this market research — in this case checking out how instructors were using their existing boards. “Last year we changed some of our graphics on these boards and some of the surf schools complained that we took the Stringer line off the board, so it was harder for them to get their students centered,” said Ryan Guay, Surftech VP of sales. “We then saw an instructor drawing circles on the board with wax, and using that on the beach to teach the students.
“The lightbulb went off pretty quick after that.”
Surftech already had a line of soft-top boards. The hard bottom of the board provides the stiffness needed for fast surfing but the top is more comfortable for beginners. Soft tops are often used by surf schools and as rentals.
The new Learn2surf Softtop Series has what Surftech calls Board Positioning Technology. Taking the clue from the instructors, Learn2surf board tops incorporate useful surface patterns. Depending on the board, the soft tops have a variety of inserts or recesses with combinations of colors, textures, or height differences. Those patterns help new surfers know where they should position their bodies for easiest paddling, and where to position their feet when they pop up on the board.
The Learn2surf series starts at $655. Other board companies make soft tops, but Surftech has applied for a patent for their Board Positioning Technology. In addition to surfing schools and instructors, the Learn2surf boards are also appropriate for DIY beginners — retailers can suggest a Learn2surf board for someone who wants to learn by watching videos. To that end, Surftech plans to have an online YouTube series for new surfers.