POD: Parker Borneman, Edison Conner - Boardroom Show
Parker Borneman and Edison Conner of Varial Surf Technologies on the Boardroom Podcast Podcast brought to you in part by RIDELIST. I present two Santa Barbara Surfers that have known each other since childhood: one, an engineer who studied at Penn and worked at Elon Musk’s SpaceX; and the other a USC grad with years in the finance world as an institutional broker and with some work history within the surf industry. Find, Share and Sell, Action Sports gear with those like you, those who Ride.
Parker Borneman, Edison Conner, podcast, RideList APP, ride list, boardroom show, surfboards, shapers
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POD: Parker Borneman, Edison Conner

POD: Parker Borneman, Edison Conner


 Nov 19, 2018 – Parker Borneman and Edison Conner of Varial Surf Technologies. Podcast brought to you in part by RIDELIST. Find, Share and Sell, Action Sports gear with those like you, those who Ride.

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2Comments

  • Scott W. Bass

    Scott W. Bass / 20 November 2018 3:47

    Hey Scott,

    Just finished listening to the Varial Surf episode and wanted to weigh in on the topic of: “how do we convince the end consumer to buy into new tech?”

    Speaking for myself, I’ve always been very interested in new surf tech for three main reasons: 1) performance; 2) durability; 3) environmental impact. Probably in that order of importance — I’ll only ride it if it performs well; I don’t care if it’s durable if I won’t ride it; and a product that I don’t use, or that falls apart, is maximally wasteful. Each informs the next.

    Surfboards are expensive enough that when I buy one, I want to know it works. The issue with new construction technologies is that no matter how much marketing is done on the supposed benefits and advancements, I still don’t know how it really performs in the water. Lingering questions always remain: “how damp is the board?”, “what’s the flex like?”, “how does it feel in any given condition?”, “is it good in an egg or log, or just shortboards?”. Inherently, these are questions about performance, and they cannot really be answered without riding the board or learning from the experience of others.

    Having ridden many different constructions from traditional PU, to various epoxies, EPS with wooden deck and carbon rails, to firewire’s proprietary constructions, I can definitely say that the way a construction feels matters a lot. Honestly, I’ve sold pricey customs at a loss because the new tech just felt bad, and it’s what has kept me primarily on a narrow range of constructions.

    So here’s my take. You are right, companies like Varial (and XTR for that matter) need to up their marketing game. As a consumer, I would suggest there are at least three things they need to do better to get me to risk my hard earned cash.

    First – Demo’s: They need to get these boards under people’s feet. Be it through demo day’s, like Firewire’s wandering demo van, or through leaving demo boards at shops (ideally both), this needs to happen. Why? I want to feel a Varial board under my feet before I buy one.

    Second – Surf Clips: I wan’t to see what these boards look like under my favorite pro’s feet. Give me clips with Shane and Baron ripping exclusively on their varial boards, and give me footage of them talking about their experience (not regurgitating marketing lines). Yes, it’s cool that a brand can say a guy won an event on their tech. No, no one knows about it unless you tell them. A world title win on Varial means nothing unless you market it with a big “Italo won on a varial board! Here’s what he thinks about it” I don’t know about you, but I usually cannot see what what someone is riding on the webcast unless its blatantly obvious.

    This is something that brands like CI and Firewire do particularly well by the way. CI has been pumping out videos of team riders on Spine-Tek, and Firwire always provides ample footage of new constructions and models. And it works! Another great example is what CI did with Campbell Brothers on the Bonzer, videos of Britt and Malcolm talking shop and team riders ripping Bonzers ignited a renewed interest in the boards. I would have never bought my first Bonzer if not for the videos of Taylor Knox proving they could be pushed just as hard as anything else.

    Third – Reviewers: These construction technologies need to get into the hands of legitimate reviewers that can break down and weigh the cost benefit without the veil of brand incentive. Unfortunately, this is harder to accomplish due to the lack of quality reviewers in the surf world. In my opinion, Noel Salas is pretty much the only one legitimately in the game. And while his opinions are solid, they are very much based in his particular conception of surfing… we need a wider range of opinions. Shred Show was a good source before Chris got hired by Firewire, and the guys at Benny’s Board Room do an okay job, but there really isn’t much. Most surf reviewers just regurgitate marketing material and act too “laid back” to give a helpful opinion.

    Someone needs to step into this space if we want to see new technologies catch fire… You and David would actually be great at it if you wanted to take it on. I know you’ve done a bit of reviewing on The Boardroom website. More of that would be solid, or even a new segment of Spit! where you guys both ride a board and just chat about your experience.

    I think these are things the industry desperately needs if we’re going to ask people to risk $800+ on new tech.

    Anyway, just my two cents. Solid podcast as always. Stay stoked. — S P

  • Scott W. Bass

    Scott W. Bass / 20 November 2018 3:48

    Sam

    Thank you; great email.

    I’m forwarding this on to Varial ;

    I love the idea of David and I doing a Podcast as reviewers of a design.

    Great stuff Sam! Thanks for being an engaged listener.

    Please let me know how I can be of service. Call or text anytime.

    All The Best,

    Scott Bass

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