The time is right for another way.
What do we really need and what do we really want? We asked the right questions first, and fully armed with crystal clear design objectives set to work with the best design team for the job. The result :- we believe a truly purposeful, concise sail range with everything we need , bags of WINDRANGE, hard as nails DURABILITY, EASY to SET UP, EASY to TUNE, gimmick free with bang on PERFORMANCE and a massive dose of ATTITUDE!
Windsurfers are alive with Attitude, universal and binding, defined through persistence, emotion, injury, and the euphoria of it all. That’s what we get, the importance of the right things, really great performing sails that go with reliable affordable masts that look sharp and work sharper.
We are passionately proud that our first line of Attitude sails is founded on these principles to offer a real choice... We would like to say big thanks to all the real windsurfers who have provided the DNA for this exciting project, and brought Attitude sails to life.
Intelligently designed toughly engineered alive with attitude.
Like we said, it’s time we changed.
THE ATTITUDE SAILS BRAND STORY
Translated SURF Magazine interview of founder Job Verbunt by editor Stefan Grolleman published in 2014.
It's well known that The Netherlands has a rich history in the sport of windsurfing. And in Spring 2014 a new chapter in that long windsurfing story was written, with the birth of a fresh Dutch sailing brand: Attitude Sails - the brainchild of Job Verbunt, who aims to deliver the public a fair alternative with a more budget-friendly, alternative sail line
Coming from Equipe Trading, the people behind the successful Unifiber masts and accessories brand, this startup comes from an experienced team that has developed considerably in the past twelve years.
As SURF can't let the birth of a new Dutch sailing brand pass without the necessary congratulations, we called founder and Equipe Trading boss Job Verbunt, the driving force behind Attitude Sails to ask all about 'his' new brand.
SG: Congratulations! The sails look awesome! But how has Attitude Sails actually come about? And how does the new brand fit within Equipe Trading?
JV: Equipe Trading has been established since 2002. We started as an importer for a number of wind surf and winter sports brands but in 2006 we had the ambition to do more!
Unifiber has developed well and is more or less 'complete' so, once we stood in a mature way in the market, with sales outlets in more than 50 countries, it was time to take the next logical and challenging step in the windsurfing world.
Despite the downward trend and super competitive windsurfing market we wanted with Attitude Sails to deliver value for the general wind surfing public.
SG: Netherlands is euphoric to again have a Dutch sailing brand, but how Dutch is Attitude Sails anyway?
JV: Attitude Sails is one hundred percent a Dutch brand. It is designed and owned by Equipe Trading BV located in North Brabant.
The whole development and marketing and production of the sails is, however, internationally oriented. The windsurfing scene is a niche markets where specific knowledge is not always available within our own borders.
The graphic designs are made in the Netherlands for the technical functional designs we have sought cooperation with one of the best sail designers abroad with years of experience.
The test work is in the hands of the sail designer, who works with a select group of private testers. We gave concrete design objectives based on a number of properties that we think will be appreciated by a wide range of windsurfers.
In the future end-user feedback will be crucial for further development. Although the test riders collect the data, they are not the ones who will determine the further development of the sails, this will be done by customer response.
Furthermore, we enjoy the freedom to work with designers who we feel are best suited for the job. For the current collection, we have collaborated with one sail designer but we do not rule out in the future, for example for the wave and freestyle sails, using a different design than the flat-water sails.
Ultimately, we want with model to strive for the best –possible product. Regarding manufacture it’s unavoidable that sails themselves are produced under expertise in one of the most famous sail manufacturers in China.
SG: Is 2014 be the ideal time to launch a new sail brand?
JV: Actually, it was the original intention to launch Attitude Sails in 2013. Once we’d taken the decision to start the project, we wanted to have the final product going to the market as soon as possible.
However, we had a sharp setback at the time we were almost ready to produce. The factory that was first set to make our sails decided to drastically raise prices without any notice.
Delaying the launch was a tough choice and we were, all together, put six months back. In retrospect, it might have been a blessing in disguise, because the quality and communication with the factory where we work with is now to our full satisfaction.
This improved cooperation leads to a better end product.
SG: The line consists of five Attitude Sails sailing, tell us about each model and, will the line be expanded in the future for a wide range of sailing?
JV: The approach of Attitude Sails is that we have a compact and concise line in the most common sizes and with one colourway per model.
The line consists of a global wave sail; that's the Rebel, designed for a range of sea conditions. Despite the five battens and the deeper of profile the Rebel draft can also transform towards more sideshore-oriented sailing, with less pressure and faster on- / off power where every wave sailor can be comfortable. T
he AllStar is a versatile four-batten with a more radical behavior that’s happy in side-shore conditions with fast on- / off power.
Freestylers also enjoy it with less downhaul, more body and a tighter leech like many most modern freestyle sails. We also target windsurfers looking for an easy-to -handle sail, so The Source is the perfect 4x4 for windsurfers seeking sufficient maneuverability both inland and at sea on a sail that also generates the stability of a free race sail.
The RPM is our weapon for those who want to scream around without any hassles with cambers.
Finally, the Hornet is a free slalom sail with three cambers with butter-soft rotation and provide a more stable and more powerful profile.
The Hornet is especially impressive and late to reach it’s upper wind range limits. This sail gives power and breathes when you need it.
SG: With Attitude Sails’ focus is on ‘true’ windsurfers. But how does this translate into practice in the product? How will the consumer see this philosophy in the product?
JV: Most brands invest a lot of time in sails designed for pros and so sails for the ‘sporting’, ‘leisure’ windsurfer receive less attention.
These are therefore different approaches. We want to lay the substantive focus of our sailing on the largest group of end users. On the water you will experience that all models have a huge wind range, so you windsurf more for with less cost in a wider range of conditions.
We also opted for the use of many high quality materials. The thick X-ply material for example can be seen more in almost any brand in the flat-water sails.
Our competitors will find that too heavy and too expensive. However, we believe in sustainability and, while we don’t think the weight of a sail should be underestimated.
A beefier sail can still be light in the hands if it’s designed the right way. The final result of these design criteria is that the sails, once in use, are replaced less often and offer longer UV resistance.
Also we do not make concessions in the quality of the battens, and we are one of the few brands that use the Standing Batten configuration in the larger wave sails.
These battens, with a stiffer end piece provide an extremely stable leech, which helps massively to control the sail in the upper wind range.
Finally, we want to clearly distinguish ourselves in the way we communicate. When it comes to our sails, we'd rather not come with incomprehensible, technical and nonsensical marketing slogans.
We’re trying to offer them to make sense in the world of the windsurfer that each model is intended for. This may sound logical, but surf to a number of websites of the big established brands and you’ll immediately notice that marketing has too often taken over from clear communication.
Someone sailing 100 days a year may know the scene inside and out, but someone that studies hard, works fulltime … doesn’t have time to distinguish sense from nonsense.
So we’ve tried to be as clear as possible how we communicate our content. Our marketing exists to tell what the end user will experience when sailing our gear on the water, without creating false expectations.
SG: How do you translate the above philosophy toward the pro team? Will you do it without a strong team of professional riders?
JV: The approach is that we want top sails on the market at a fair price with the input of substantive arguments for the primary benefit of future Attitude Sails owners. We do this without the overhead costs of a pro-team.
SG: The brand has the sails on a two-year cycle in the market, what advantages does that give? Will that remain the principle in the future?
JV: In many existing brands, there is still a pronounced and in our eyes traditional price / marketing strategy. These brands launch their sails to extremely high launch price, which should be representative of quality and innovation, only to subsequently dump their product for, shall we say, a fairer price later?
Many existing brands still follow the annual product cycle because they realize sales numbers many times higher than if they didn’t.
With R&D budgets smaller than their water bills the only adaptions are often simply adapted graphic design. With a minimum of biennial design there’s more time to evaluate and make improvements.
If in practice the sail designs last even longer than we will even leave our sails unchanged for three or more years.
SG: The sails are budget friendly, and the brand launch is intended to provide a real world, serious quality alternative?
JV: Yes, for recreational windsurfers we also believe Unifiber gives outstanding value, quality and service from the start. With Attitude Sails we’re one step further by working with even lower overhead.
Whether this continues to be workable in practice remains to be seen. A low price is still often associated with low quality, which with Attitude Sails is certainly not the case! A new brand launch offers not only a good price / performance ratio, but also to develop an ‘experience’.
SG: We get the feel that Attitude Sails, as regards the Netherlands, has been received well on launch. How is the new Dutch brand received internationally?
JV: It’s certainly made a nice start, thanks to all of our dealers and early adopters who believe in Attitude Sails. In three years our goal is to sell 1000 sail a year and to ultimately break even.
That’s just to become a small sail brand. To eventually grow into a medium-sized brand we must sell about 2000-4000 per year. So far, we’re on schedule.
For dealers and windsurfing centers Attitude Sails offers an accessible yet flexible stockholder proposal, without any massive financial risk.
The public can windsurf with first class service from their dealer at a price more like a direct-sale item. Where they like to purchase their equipment and materials instantly there are several possibilities to buy the sails quickly online.
SG: The website of Attitude Sails breaks with the rest of the brands on the market and looks professional and artistic, is that what you call ‘attitude’ in the sails?
JV: Attitude can be interpreted very broadly. We associate Attitude Sails with properties that possess many windsurfers, namely perseverance, freedom, passion for the things you do.
Windsurfing is indeed a difficult sport and really just for people who can stick with it and have time and access to water.
In our communication around Attitude Sails we try to unite these elements. The creation of the brand is a long and instructive step by step process where we want to be more and more professional.
SG: How do you see Attitude Sails in say, 10 years time?
JV: We’d be happy to see Attitude Sails users enthusiastically recommend their experiences of the brand and the sails to fellow sailors.
In terms of content, we want to continue to develop the sails for maximum quality and performance that speaks for itself!
We will achieve this by continuing to listen well and to translate all meaningful feedback to grow even better, more sustainable products that we continue to offer at a fair price.