MOAI, Dutch SUP brand inspired by Polynesian explorers: Interview with the Founder, Pleuni Holthausen

Inspired by the intrepid spirit of Polynesian explorers who traversed vast oceans using nothing but the elements as their guide, MOAI, a family-owned, Dutch watersport brand, pays homage to these adventurers through its designs. “We wanted to capture the essence of their journey and infuse it into every aspect of our brand,” explains Pleuni Holthausen, Founder of MOAI, committed to blending distinct design with affordability. The Team behind MOAI strives to create more than just a product – it’s about crafting an experience, a lifestyle and fostering a community bound by a shared love for the ocean.

Hi Pleuni, welcome to TotalSUP! Could you tell us more about yourself and your watersport background?

As a kid I grew up on the water, I come from a watersports family. Since I remember every holiday and a free weekend, we were in, on or around the water. My father built sailboats so as a family we had an affinity with this industry.

I started out as an importer for dinghy boats and later for SUP boards in 2009. In 2017 I started the MOAI brand. With this brand we wanted to make a difference. To create an affordable recreational product with a remarkable (and amazing) design which every user will love. MOAI is a family brand, started together with a passion, consisting of a small and close team.

What’s your vision behind the MOAI brand?

With the brand MOAI we pay our tribute to these amazing Polynesian explorers, who loved to be on the water, travel the Pacific Ocean for thousands of kilometers, and only used the sun, the clouds, the moon, the stars and the current to guide them. Our designs are inspired by these adventurous ocean travellers.

MOAI is not only about products. MOAI promotes a lifestyle. We want to connect and create the perfect experience for our consumers. The MOAI community continues to grow, there is so much more to explore together.

Who is the MOAI brand aimed at?

MOAI positions itself in a mid-segment with a wide target group. From recreational users till the real advanced watersport enthusiasts who both choose for an affordable product of excellent quality and a great design.

Could you tell us about MOAI world presence? What’s your distribution model and steps to becoming a dealer?

MOAI is sold throughout Europe. We have an established network of dealers and distributors. MOAI is well represented in the North of Europe although the extension of this network will still be beneficial. We are still seeking for key partners in the South of Europe to expand the MOAI brand even more. Always ready to enlarge.

What are your most popular SUP models?

There was a strong demand for high-quality allround SUP boards with a great design. MOAI 10’6 and MOAI 11’ are one of our first all-round models and therefore still the most popular models of our range. With each strong features and advantages to suit all tastes.

MOAI 11’

However the MOAI 12’4 is also received favourably. This model is designed for two people, who can choose to SUP or rather kayak. Users were highly positive by this option. Making adventures together is even more fun!

MOAI 12’4 Multi-person board

And let’s not forget our young adventurer. Our kids board with funny banana-design was a great move to give them the opportunity to explore the SUP adventures with their own board! This model definitely belongs to the most popular ones.

Where can paddlers demo test MOAI boards?

Several MOAI dealers with physical stores enable consumers to test the MOAI boards first. They will let users compare different boards and give them the right advice to ensure they will find the perfect match!

Photo credit: SUP Breda via MOAI

Giving back: Could you tell us more about the environmental and health organizations that MOAI supports?

When the MOAI brand started in 2017 we wanted to give back. We support several charities who share the same passion. Everyone deserves to enjoy our nature. By donating and volunteering to nature- and humanity organizations like WWF, surf therapy or dog search teams around the water, we believe we do something meaningful as a brand.

Could you tell us more about the MOAI SUP community? Do you collaborate with SUP riders? Can they become your brand ambassadors?

The MOAI community has grown rapidly. They are closely connected with our brand. We have several collaborations with influencers and affiliate partners. We are always open for new brand ambassadors as we see great value in them.

Photo by Elke Smit Photography | CanalSUP via MOAI

What are the perks and challenges of building a SUP brand today?

The watersports industry has grown enormously, in particular the supboard market. The range is now so wide you will have to find a way to stand out. We must keep thinking ahead and continue to strengthen our brand. We have to compete against big brands with large investors.

MOAI remains itself as a brand, taking that as far as we can. Being unique with our own Polynesian inspired design and outstanding quality we will continue to achieve our goals.

Photo by Michal Guzik | Courtesy of MOAI

What’s in the pipeline for this year?

Many new things are coming up! We will launch a diversity of yoga, such as SUP board mats and balance boards. Redesigned SUP boards in soft pastel and earth tones. In addition, we’ve been thinking of our furry friends and dog pads in MOAI design. Enough to look forward to!

Thank you Pleuni, we can’t wait to test the MOAI boards ourselves!

To find out more about the MOAI brand, visit 

Explore MOAI 2024 collection here 

Follow MOAI on Facebook and Instagram

*Images courtesy of MOAI

About the Author

Anna Nadolna

Anna is the Founder of SUPer Whale, a Cambridge(UK!)-based emerging watersports brand and a stand-up paddleboarding community. She is a certified SUP Flat Water Instructor accredited by International Surfing Association (ISA). Anna is also a digital marketing, storytelling aficionado and a growth hacking enthusiast.

To follow Anna:

  • Facebook Link
  • Instagram Link
  • YouTube Link
  • Twitter Link