Has the appetite for performance race boards and surf SUPs in the post-lockdown United Kingdom increased? One thing is certain, there’s a growing tribe of #InfinitySpeedFreaks and SUP-savvy players are moving fast in response to these emerging watersport trends.
Infinity SUP drops in the UK – What’s the story behind this partnership?
We always thought Infinity was cool. We knew the product was good and the performance was there. We knew the dealers wanted the brand in the UK and a few of them asked us to try and help. I reached out to Infinity and started talking with Dave Boehne and Nate Smieja. It was a turbulent time with a lot going on behind the scenes at Infinity and the timing was not quite right. A year later we picked up the conversation and made it happen.
Why Infinity? Was there a gap in the UK market that this brand fills?
Tom:Infinity is a boutique brand, it is one of the few independents who are not part of big watersports companies. They are a bit different and that appeals to some people. They are one of the market leaders in performance race boards and surf SUPs. The surf SUP scene has been pretty much ignored in the UK but we love it and wanted to do something there.
Tom Beaton of Maxtrack
The sheer enthusiasm from everyone you speak to about the brand is infectious, everyone loves it. There have been spatterings of the Infinity range in the UK for a good few years now but far less than we thought there could be. The performance SUP market is only filled with a few key players here in the UK, but the demand for variety is growing.
Freddie Oldfield of Maxtrack
Could you tell us more about the Infinity quiver available in the UK?
Tom:The uptake for Infinity has been great. We have had the whole range pretty much this year in good quantities. We are making sure there is stock available of all the models in as many sizes as possible. The race SUPs are probably the most popular part of the range right now with the hollow Whiplash and the Blackfish Dugout leading the way. The New Deal and the Wide Speed are also models we are very excited about.
Freddie:There’s something for everyone and we wanted to get involved with it all – Race, Surf and Foil. Tom and I both surf SUP when possible, and foiling has taken over my brain over the last two years. On top of that, the race SUP side of our business has always proven strong – We couldn’t leave any products out! We’ve even got good stock levels of the Blackproject+Infinity Collaboration paddles which have been really popular. There is a tonne of sizes of each product which can make it difficult to have everything but as Tom mentioned we’re doing our best and hope to plug any popular holes in our stock over the coming seasons.
Could you tell us more about your distribution structure?
Tom: We have been around for 25 years now as a distributor. We focus on performance brands and technical products, so Infinity fits right in. Our main categories are Kitesurf, Foil, SUP and Kayak. However, we also do a lot of accessories, snowboards and more. I am the Sales Director and we have Freddie and Lindsay managing sales and customer service. We have a warehouse full of stock and a B2B ordering system to make everything as smooth as possible.
Where can the end consumer find Infinity products in the UK?
Tom: Infinity dealers are spread around the UK and a quick search online should be able to find you the board you need. We have also been attending events with demo boards to help let people experience an Infinity.
Freddie: We tried to be quite specific with our retailership for the Infinity range, and I’m proud to say that we managed to start working with quality shops in all corners of the United Kingdom – The bulk of which have demo models for anyone to try out before they buy, which we think is incredibly important in this performance sector.
COVID pandemic and market trends… Could you share your insight on the current state of the UK SUP industry? The sport of stand-up paddleboarding has exploded globally during the COVID pandemic. What does the UK market look like now?
Tom: COVID was an unprecedented time for SUP in general with a huge increase in participation. It became mainstream. There is an overstock issue on the price point and recreational side of things now which will take some years to resolve. This is really quite a different market to what we are doing with Infinity. The race scene is healthy and the participation at events is increasing. Likewise people are enjoying the waves and foiling is growing quickly. A percentage of people who tried SUP during the pandemic will carry on and try one of these more advanced disciplines.
Thank you for your time and we can’t wait to see more riders in the UK #paddlelikeafreak!
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