THURSO SURF has been a brand that we’ve recommended a lot over the past few seasons and we recently had an opportunity to catch up with founder Shenglong You for a brief interview about what’s in store for THURSO’s inflatable SUP lineup in 2020 as well as what we can expect going forward…
Inflatable Boarder: Congratulations on the great success of THURSO’s inflatable SUP range and we’re really excited to see what you have in store for the future. We’ve always loved your boards and have gotten wonderful feedback from all of the readers that we’ve recommended them to over the years — they are definitely some of the best inflatable paddle boards for the money. What can you tell us about the changes being made to the THURSO SURF lineup for 2020?
Shenglong You: The 2020 lineup will feature carbon reinforcement rails on the side, plus a GoPro mount on the nose. Also lots of upgrades on the accessories. The paddle will be further reinforced by another layer of carbon fiber. The current single chamber dual-action pump will be upgraded to a dual-chamber triple-action pump for even faster and easier inflation. The backpack will also have wheels on the front of the bag such that the straps won’t tangle under the wheels when pulling and it will be more comfortable to carry on the back.
Inflatable Boarder: THURSO’s iSUP line has grown quite a bit over the past few years. Going forward, do you plan to continue adding new models or maintain a strong focus on improving the existing boards in your lineup?
Shenglong You: We will continue to gradually add models to our lineup. This year we will add a whitewater model called the Torrent. And at the same time, we will keep upgrading the existing models with the most current technologies.
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Inflatable Boarder: What are some of the main challenges you’ve had over the past few seasons and what have you done to overcome them?
Shenglong You: It’s hard to predict sales and prepare inventory accordingly so, we temporarily sold out of some of our most popular gear last year. We’re doing our best to avoid that by planning this year’s schedule based on last year’s data.. The best thing is to schedule purchases based on the last year’s data.
Inflatable Boarder: As the inflatable SUP world continues to get more and more crowded with new startups and products, what are the main things that set THURSO’s boards apart from the competition and ensure that you remain one of the best SUP brands in the inflatables market?
Shenglong You: We’ll keep doing what we have done so far, providing great value to the customers while maintaining the best quality customer service. Also as I finish up my Phd in fluid dynamics this year, I will have more time for R&D. Taking an engineer’s approach to SUP design will really set us apart from other companies.
Inflatable Boarder: What major changes to you foresee happening in the future in terms of trends, iSUP construction, etc.?
Shenglong You: I think the SUP market is big and has the potential for future growth. As the beginner paddler market grows, the intermediate paddler market will benefit from that and also gain some momentum. As for the board itself, lighter materials and perhaps dual chamber boards could become more popular.