Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Billabong. Vs RipCurl

I guess creativity is running dry in major surf companies. I am aware that Fluorescent is in full power, I have seen it for the past two year on shades, on clothes and now on print ads. I would like to see a bit more originality, specially when you have the marketing Rip Curl or Billabong's marketing budget.

Next time, I may even see fluo while grocery shopping??

Monday, December 22, 2008

When an image is better than words

I really enjoy seeing good ads, nothing better than a picture that says it all.

I usually prefer clean pictures, that are simple and to the point. When it gets overloaded with color, arts,etc..it just get confusing and also I feel they just try too hard.

No need for me to explain the Komunity ads..it speaks for itself.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sun protection

Florida is certainly the best place on earth to test sun cream, before moving to California, I must have tried all of them and quite frankly even by applying a new layer every two hours, I would end up like a lobster by the end of the day.

So here is quick note on what work and what doesn't

Bullfrog and Neutrogena are really not practical, they may work for 30 minutes but after that a hot summer in Florida will cook you.

Coppertone : Sport Continuous Spray SPF 50 is not much better, but if you are by yourself, that the way to go to put sun cream on your back.

There is also this man ego thing because I barely see any guy asking their surfing body to put sun cream on their back. Am I the only who cannot reach the middle of the back???

The one that has worked wonders is Aloe Gator gel is great for the face,back,etc.. but don't use it on your stomach as it is really greasy, you are guaranteed to fall off your board. For stomach you can use the Aloe Gator for kid.

From time to time, I use Ti02 (titanium dioxide) on the nose and bellow the eyes, but it sting the eyes and skin if you put too much. Well if you don't put enough, you get burn. I guess you need to be Australian to wear this stuff:)

The final one that work really good is Vectra, but it is quite expensive compared to other brands. So I will leave that up to you. Nonetheless if you look at the long term, it is certainly worth it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Don't get stuck...underwater

My buddy Chris told me over a month ago that we was surfing in front of the golf clubs , which is a pretty good break but has bunch of shiit underwater, making it possible to get the leash entangled during delicate situation. Most of the time we get small waves in Florida so it is no big deal. However the day Chris surfed, there was a ripping drift, so bad that he could not even reach his leash and have enough grip to free himself. He is an amazing surfer, and to know that he almost drown was a shocker to me.

As an engineer, I started to think about ways to prevent this type of accidents and thought about a quick release system.

However my thoughts of becoming rich and famous vanished when I checked out the competition to see an other genius came up with the idea...Damn it...XM stole my idea. lol
Do anybody think I could get royalties ???

Monday, December 15, 2008

When Butt matters....

I am gonna be honest, to have some good lookin' chicks in bikini in a surf mag is quite pleasing.
Reef has became synonymous with women curves (mostly backside view). I am still wondering how butt and sandals are related but it sure created a buzz in the teenager world.

Other companies (mostly startup) are trying as well, but it just feels like a marketing tool and it doesn't feel right.

So why Reef can get away with it, it's because they were N 1 in the customer mind, it is part of the brand spirit and that is why others feel like copycats.

SIA report / December 08

Note: Internet sales had the highest average price tag of all channels for every category other than bindings.
Note: Snowboard apparel sales were up 8% in specialty shops, an increase that was eclipsed by the 164% increase in online sales of snowboard apparel in 2007.08.

Those diapositive were found on transworld (business section)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

That's it, That's all

Last night, Leslie and I went and saw the movie Premiere That's it, that's all. At first it was a bit difficult as i saw three post with each a different time and nowhere it said that we should register to be able to see the Premiere.

Once in, the evens was really cool: Red Bull coktails were flowing, and the DJ was bringing some good vibes

The crowd was eager to see what is the next step of snowboarding, others were here to discover what this sport is all about. Only in Florida will you get a Rastafarian introducing a snowboard movie.

I grew up watching snowboard movies, the least I can say is that scenary, sound and image quality is really not what come in mind when I think about snowboard movies....well all that changed when I saw That's it, That's all, featuring Travis Rice.
Obviously Travis is ripping it with tricks like a triple cork, music is blasting and helicopter shots are ridiculous. During the whole movie, I was amazed by the quality, I thought it was a National Geographic movie, it was so good.

After the movie, there were a draft for winning freebies such as dvd, jacket and even one trip. My wife was called "Lupai" and won a dvd. We also learned that the event was organized by Florida Snowboard Association (FSA) with the help of Quiksilver and Red Bull.

I think it was an amazing night, the whole party was free and I found that particularly during this time, that's is simple awesome to have companies offering such an event. Stay tune for more.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Von Zipper Vs. Smith Optics

So yesterday I was talking about interruption marketing. I have nothing against ad, my problem is that some companies out there don't use the ad to its full potential.

Let's take the Ad from Von Zipper and compare a similar product from Smith Optics.

The ad from Smith says "the best team, the best eyewear"...Alright they sponsor Bobby, CJ, Yadin but if you look at the best team, I would think Donovan, Andy, Taj, and Parko are way better so to the consumer it is such a cheezy thing to say "best team" in what??? does that make Smith the "best eyewear"?

If it was only about product, I would buy shades at Walmart. But by wearing a brand, I am communicating a brand spirit, I am saying something by wearing Von Zipper instead of Electric,etc...So the ad's goal is to communicate this spirit.

VZ's ad is really creative, it's about fun, unique and original. It is exactly what you want to feel when you wear shades. Nonetheless it should not be creative for the fun of it, you need to have brand consistency and how you carry your message.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Interruption Marketing

Each year $1,000 is spent on every single American (adult, kids, grandma) in the States. I often say and also experienced from my past experience in a Marketing department, that while we all agree to say " I don't really know how effective is the ad but we better be in the mag as all our competitors are". Good chance that your competitors are thinking the same way you do.

That is the reason why so much money is spent on Interruption Marketing. To be effective, companies thing they need to in as many mag as the competitors. and if they do more coverage, they think they have a better grab on their potential audience.

But the conclusion is that the more we interrupt, the less people pay attention. The first reaction companies do, ads don't work as well so we need to place more ads to become effective and here goes the vicious circle.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I have talked before about how Nixon is repositioning its brand. Last weekend I even noticed an headphone's ad in Details' mag.

I think the fact they are going to promote headphone's in the fashion and music industry is gonna open some doors for people to look into their watches. In addition it increases their product offering to the core customers.

I haven't tested them yet but I will try to go to a shop very soon and will update this post.
There are three custom designed, custom built headphone models; The Master Blaster (an over-ear studio quality headphone), The Nomadic (an on-ear travel headphone) and The Wire (an in-ear headphone).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wetsuit Vs. Sand

About a year ago, my wife Leslie bought me a Cinch Sac. At first I thought I would be using it once or twice but after a while it soon became the best surf accessory that I had gotten in a while.

What I used to do was to remove my wetsuit on the sand but then I would bring home 2lbs of sand. I would then wash my wetsuit in the shower, which is a good way to have an argument with your loved one when she goes into the shower and see that you have modified women's heaven into a dirty beach spot.

And then even after cleaning the wetsuit you will always have some sand left in the wetsuit, which is quite irritating while surfing.

The idea is great but I found the design a bit too rudimentary for me because when I used this stuff to go to Black's beach and have to walk for ever: a wet wetsuit is quite heavy and there are no good handle ,except this cheap rope that friction on the shoulder or on the wrist.

In addition I would have liked to get a couple of pockets into this bag for keys, waxcomb and maybe a FCS key as well.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sanuk: the mammoth

I think everyone who has worked in a creative department loves to design new ads, new stories, a new way to sell a product: that is the fun part of our job. However a team should be aware at working a brand consistency.

I really like the latest ad from Sanuk, it's light, funny and it is simply different from all the ads you see in a mag. I would say it pictures pretty well the brand: ugly shoes that are actually pretty comfortable.

However I haven't found the slogan resonating with the ad: " highly evolved style with prehistoric comfort".
In my opinion prehistoric means rough, rocky , anything but comfort and looking at those shoes and how there are pictured through the ad, I would describe them as prehistoric but damn comfortable.
So by simply switching words, the ad could get its full potential: "Prehistoric style with highly evolved comfort".

With that said, Sanuk is counteracting all those surf companies that are saying I am the definition of style...here they could position themselves as I don't give a damn about style, we are all about comfort.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Best of the Best event

I just came back up from the Best of the Best event. Unfortunately today, the wind had died down but yesterday was a fun show. The wind came out of nowhere during lunch time so lots of people were able to have a better look at what kiteboard is all about.

The whole crew from Best Kiteboarding was there to co-host this collegial event and there were couple of other brands on the beach.
Coming from San Diego, there is always an action sport event going on, unlike South Florida that seems to be known for its night more than its outdoor activities.

So it was definitely refreshing to see bunch of people kiteboarding, having music and we were all having a good time. In the future, it would be nice to have more events like this one.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Billabong Ad: the Prism

On average a consumer will see about 3000 marketing messages a day. Print ad, TV commercials, Banners,etc.. are what I call Interruption Marketing. The goal is to stop the consumer for a brief instant.

Interruption doesn't work no more, I bet you that the following day, you may only remember 3-4 ads that have grasped your attention. Which lead me to write this blog: surf mag are mostly ads, there are few good ones like Insight, Community and then there are terrible ones.

I am gonna talk about the Billabong Prism ad.
First of all it seems Andy Irons got giardia because he sure looks like he gonna sh*t his pant. Then they use this fluo color that have seen over and over the past season. By the end of the mag I thought this ad is the worst I have seen in a long time so I decided to look at it again and saw that they tried to portray like the view from a Prism. Clever that's the name of the boardshort...Not.

When your company is named Billabong, I think you can do better than that. Sometimes I feel like they put ads just for the sake of it. At least some brands are trying harder.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Reef Redemption

To be environmentally responsible, not only mean using recycled materials but taking in account how materials are processed as well.
The use of natural fiber (without pesticides), leather tanned without the use of chrome, etc..
In addition the outsoles are made of recycled tires, each tire provide enough rubber for 6 pair of sandals.

Sometimes we can't be completely eco friendly but nowadays we often have the choice to be more responsible toward Nature. At least Reef is trying

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nixon: Barneys ltd Edition

I bought my first Nixon watch in 1998 and I have now more than 10. As of lately I have noticed many people wearing those watches but are out of shape as well as reviews in non surf/snow/skate mag. So is Nixon loosing its grasp on its core customers???

As a UCSD marketing project, I did a marketing planning on Nixon watches. I found that if Nixon wanted to grow, they will need to have a wider image that can appeal to people outside the Action Sport industry but still be creative and original to appeal to its core customers.

6 months later, I noticed a switch in their marketing position and by middle of 2008, advertisement featured less pro, it became more about the watches. The ads exactly reflect what I proposed in my plan: they are classy, stylish and leave more room for being appealing to a non surfer guy.

Action Sport companies like any other companies need to grow and generate more profit. It is normal that Nixon is reaching an audience that may not only be composed of action sports consumers.
With that said, the next two years are going to be critical for Nixon as new brands or big surf companies may challenge Nixon's number 1 position in the Action Sport Industry.

Here is an example of Nixon watches getting out of the comfort zone by reaching non Action Sport consumers: the Barneys celebration of 50 years of the peace sign. Nixon integrated a Happy Hippie theme into the crowd-favorite 51-30 watch.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Makia Clothing

Over 10 years ago, I was reading my Onboard mag when I first heard about Joni Malmi. There was just something different about this dude, just watch the Forum vid and you will know what I mean.

Anyway, my wife always complains that I wear surfer clothes that don't really fit my style (and age). And then we argue because as a guy , I don't really want to admit she is right. To my defense, clothes selection is pretty limited, lots of brands but they are all the same.

Where I am from in Europe, I am used to diversity, I feel clothes have more style. I am sorry but being 28 years old, I don't want to look like a clown with all those flashy colors or wearing pants that could fit Jabba the Hutt.

So I checked out last week, the winter collection of Makia Clothing, brand cofounded by Joni Malmi. Let me tell you that those clothes are so fashionable, now I don't have to choose between being classy and snowboard clothes.

Makia Clothings has provided the best of both side.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Flow signature serie

Two days ago , I was writting about the Salomon Sick Stick using eco-friendly materials. Today I'd like to introduce the Quantum, Scotty Lago's signature from Flow.
Scotty's goal was to raise awareness about the construction of the nuclear power where he is from and part of the profits will go to A.S.E.C(Action Sports Environmental Coalition).

“I’m from Seabrook, New Hampshire and the inspiration for my board graphic is from the nuclear power plants scumming up my backyard. I’m not exactly a tree-hugger, but I want to do my part for the environment and that’s why Flow and I are supporting ASEC (Action Sports Environmental Coalition) by donating a portion of this board’s profits to help promote global awareness and responsibility.” –Scotty Lago

No matter what, it is great to have companies supporting association, but I still would have like a board that is greener, getting along with the message.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Pow Gloves

Lots of people are passionate about snowboarding, but only a few decide to become entrepreneur and live their passion to the fullest. With that said, It is a difficult task to get recognized when you have less marketing power than the big players but I think it is important for snowboarders to give some credits to young brands.

Pow Gloves is located in Washington state and after looking at their website, I found couples of models that are stylin' with some amusing description like the Mustacheo:

"A nice stash comes in handy when tracking cougars, posing for photos and of course buying beer when you forgot your ID. Choose the best one for the job at hand, so to speak."

damn it, my Xmas list is getting longer days after days.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What a sick stick: Eco friendly snowboard

Sick Stick is the board from Salomon made out of Bamboo that is available in three size for this season 156, 160, 163.
Back in January 2008, Salomon team won the Volvo Sports Design Award at the ISPO 2008.

Here is more info I could find from the ispo website:
"In terms of design, the SickStick is based on an entirely re-usable bamboo core. The top sheet is made with significantly less acrylic, plastics, fiberglass and resin than conventional boards. Even the resin in the sidewalls could be entirely replaced with durable, waterproof bamboo rods. In each board, 400 grams of bamboo are used to replace 300 grams of plastic, 100 grams of resin and 200 grams of fiberglass.
The Sick Stick is packaged in a cotton-bamboo knit bag instead of a PVC sleeve, while the hangtags are printed on recycled paper instead of coated stickers. In terms of performance, the boards are about 10 percent more resilient at the same stability and flex as conventional boards."

How about that, now I am going to France for Xmas, I hope I go to the Alpes and try this board for a backcountry session.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Learn the right way

I always had so much fun windsurfing, particularly when it is nasty outside, wind guts at 40 knots, 12 feet swell, sand blasting. While some people may think it was crazy, I always found it to be fairly safe. So when I started to see kiteboarders being dragged on the sand or in the air and next second you see them flying toward the parking lot and finally crashing into a car like an insect on the windshield...I always thought this sport was quite dangerous.

Most of my friends who surf would like to start kitesurfing but there is a common belief that if something bad happen, you may not have time to use the safety release.
However equipments has dramatically improved, kite can fully depower, relaunch have never been easier.

With that said, don't expect miracle. Like any other sports the stronger the Elements, the greater are your chances to get hurt. It is certainly more spectacular to see a kiteboarder crossing A1A and crashing into a building during Tropical Strom Fay but consequences could be the same as someone drowning in Big surf.

If you are a beginner, you absolutely need to take kitesurf lesson and the instructor will recommend the equipment that is best for your level. If you are an intermediate kitesurfer, I would suggest to look online for accident stories, hopefully you could learn from mistakes made by others.

Be aware of your own limits, Practice safety techniques, and check your equipment before going out there are simple rules that can reduce the number of accidents.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Union Bindings

This morning I was checking out the Onboard website, my favorite European Snowboard mag. Searching on the web, I have found Union Bindings is making a limited edition for Onboard, not only they look dope but they have some other ltd edition like the Dany Kass.

I really dig what they did with those bindings, use of material/textile, color skims.
Here are some pics and for more info, go check out the Union site

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Around 2000, Kitesurfing started to be big in France and at the time I did quite a bit of shaping at Raphael Selles Custom but never seriously invested in Kiteboarding as I had a big quiver for wave windsurfing. In addition I saw few serious and deadly kite accidents while windsurfing a La Grande Motte.

Then I moved to the States, put all my energy into surfing, but now I am back from San Diego, Ca, I have no interest in surfing knee high waves. Meanwhile guys and girls in Delray are having a blast kitesurfing.

So last night to learn more about Best Kiteboarding, I stopped by their facility to pick up a brochure. I ended up having a good chat with Troy and Brian, two passionate of Kiteboarding. We joked that while kitesurfers are having a blast, surfers are struggling for a 2 second wave :)

Troy told me that they have some used kite for sale so I am sure I will back soon after selling some of my 9 surfboards.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Your sport.Your music (H2O Audio)

H20 Audio is a company founded by three friends who met at San Diego State University.

With some background in engineering and a passion for surfing, they decided to build a clear, waterproof housing and headphone combination that would help surfers and watersport lovers get motivation from their favorite songs.

Being a passionate surfer, I always dreamt to listen to music while surfing. It has helped me land some tricks while snowboarding so I figure that it would certainly do the same when I surf my favorite South cal surf's spots such as Black's,Swami's or Trestles.

Laird (the God father of Big wave riding) is using H2O Audio. I am going to get the iN2 to listen to my playlist while surfing, even if I will still not have the balls to surf Jaws.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Warm wetsuit Rip Curl

The Hbomb heating elements made of carbon fiber (so that it can't rust) are placed along the spine to warm the core and consequently allows the heart to pump warm blood to the rest of the body. This means we can be warmer for longer.

I was fined with a 4/3 in San Diego but when I used to surf in Cornwall, England I would have loved the Hbomb, it seems the retail price is around $1000.

the lithium ion battery weight 120g and is located in the back in a spot that doesn't reduce flexibility. It takes 3 hours to recharge and can last for 2 hours.

Rip Curl R&D also asked assistance from the Natal shark Board to make sure it would not attracted the sharks, making the Hbomb wearer a nice warm bait.

for more info, the Rip Curl website:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Office

Most people seat for very long hours everyday, and like others it seems I cannot find a chair that actually I could enjoy sitting in. It doesn't help that many companies don't want to spend money for the comfort and health of their employees.

So for Xmas I am going to wish to have the latest Herman Miller chair that responds to involuntary human behavior (retail price around $1,500).

One major feature of the Embody chair is the spine-like flexing structure for the backrest.The back moves with 56 flexors to support the occupant, and the seat cushion is topped with 93 connected plastic discs, or pixels, to move as the sitter moves. It sounds a bit complicated but it makes sense, people sit differently and applied pressure at different places, so it is kind of like a Tempurpedic mattress.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Snowboard helmet

Smith Optics has asked helped from Portland's Jackalope Studios to design their lasted helmet that is stylish and seems pretty well developed to reduce/eliminate fogging because it is important to realize that goggles and helmet have close interactions.

In addition they have used new technology to combine PC and ABS which enables them to
reduce by 20 percent the volume as compared to competitors helmet.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

100% Organic Element

I was 16 years old when I started to be a big fan of Element skateboards because if I have to choose between two brands that deliver pretty much the same product but one is proactive toward reducing our foot print on this earth...I sure go to this one.

Most of their clothes are made of 100% organic cotton. Of course with the green consciousness every major brands have now an organic line but the difference is that Element is authentic, they tried to do business in an ethical way and I am glad they have shown the way to others.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Board of the 21st century: Firewire

I started to see Firewire boards in surfshop in the heart of Encinitas and once in a while in the water about two years ago. Now that I am back in Florida, I don't see any but that is about to change as Lost is going to partner with Firewire on at least two models.

Yes they are more expensive than regular PU foam board but oh man what a difference in the water. I am far from being a pro but I could feel instantly the difference: it is lighter, more responsive and it simply feels better under the feet.

Until you try, I don't think you can be convinced by words so here are my additional two reasons to switch to Firewire in addition to the performances:
-EPS foam, Epoxy, balsa means a lot less pollution during the processing of a surfboard: not totally green but it is a huge step toward the right direction. and remember ocean is given us so much that is the least we can do.
-Much stronger so the board is going to normally last twice as long, which means it will pay for itself.

I would say the partnership with a brand like Lost is going to be really helpful to popularize the technology.

Image courtesy of Firewire team

Thursday, October 9, 2008

dolphin fins


During flat days, I enjoy snorkeling around to check out the reef, fishes and different sand bar. Surfing the web, I found out about this designer Ted Ciamillo who has worked for the past 7 years on developing an efficient underwater propulsion system mimicking dolphins.

So after a bit of research, I found out that his company is developing several light gears for staying underwater for hours.
For more info check out the website www.lunocet.com

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Outdoorzy cellphone

No matter what I am doing, it seems my phone always get a beaten, like last winter I dropped it in snow or while at the beach it always get sand in it and has this attraction for my wet wetsuit. Not to mention the numerous time where I dropped it...

I was looking at one that could resist my active lifestyle and I think the G'zOne Boulder from Casio seems to be pretty rugged.
So like many cell phones now days, it has features such as camera, MP3, etc... so I am just going to mention what is of an interest for us active people.

-shock and dust resistance
- immersion (up to 30 minutes), I am not sure if you can make calls underwater though -vibration
- low and high temperature storage
-Electronic compass
-VZ Navigator-capable – audible maps, turn-by-turn directions and location information

Friday, September 26, 2008

Celebration: pop

We finally arrived to South Florida and it was quite a journey with some long hours of driving. So today we were in the middle of boxes but it was time to celebrate.
When I took my wife Leslie to Reims two years, she discovered the pleasure of drinking champagne. So now it has been pretty much a routine.

I usually open the bottle because the cork can fly at 35mph, but of course this time my wife did not wait for me and was not expecting such a flying object...I was just glad it did not hit her eye.

Looking on the web I found this cork catcher designed by Claude Maufette that looks pretty slick. For more info the website is www.screwpull.com

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Moving back to Florida

Well it is time for me to say bye to California, I have tried really hard for the past months to work in the action sport industry but I realized that without any good connections it is extremely difficult to get in. I have not gave up...I am still living my dream everyday: to share my passion for the Elements, teaching kids to respect Nature and be grateful for what we have.

Leslie and I are going to pick up my dad at the airport tomorrow, he is so funny always trying to find a way to come to the US. He first came to the States in 67 and then came back in 69 and during that time he fell in love with the land of the free.

I have to finish packing but this two years in Southern California have been wonderful and I am sure one day we will be back.