We are all key players at Eleveight! We are a team, a family, and we rely and depend so much on each other. We trust each other in all that we do and make sure we are all on the same page. Our company was built on mutual confidence and trust, and I consider all of our people as key players. We have many people doing their best each day in every department and our priority is really to give our best and satisfy our customers overall… we are driven by this common goal.
How far into things did you start to focus on foiling as a growing market?
It is quite impressive how the sport of wingfoiling pushed all brands to develop foil products in a very short period of time. When winging appeared, we were fully expanding our product line in kitesurfing and growing a lot. When winging was starting to take off, we decided to spend more time and energy in what we knew how to do best: kitesurfing.
A few years on, and I can still say that this decision was the right one. In developing foils and wings we certainly took a bit more time than other competitors, but our new WFS, Evolve and HXS range are clearly making all our customers happy. Next year we will start expanding our range by making additional new and exciting wing products, as well as adding a lot of new board sizes and a brand new high performance foil range.
So you will be building your own foils?
Yes, we started slowly back then at the beginning by making wings in a few different sizes, but we externalized the foil production. For next year, all our foil designs will be developed internally with a much better and more sophisticated R&D process. It will be a big step forward in our hydrofoils, for sure.
Did you have a sense of how big the sport was going to get when you began?
To be frank, like many others, when I saw the first wing picture, I was really sceptical. But hey, who wasn’t back then?! I had no real opinion about which direction the sport would take, but after a while and trying it myself (and obviously getting addicted!), I understood all the doors and dimensions that winging would open… Basically, you feel safe on a wing, you are not hooked to any kite, so you feel free, it is also lighter than a windsurf sail in your arms, so less physical, you can simply go back and forth on an inflatable SUP if you don’t want to push the sport further and just get your first ride sensation. You can also ride any small beach or lake that was inaccessible with a kite, and the magic of using the wing to catch waves and do infinite downwinders in the swell is an incredible feeling…
Amen to that. So give us an overview of your foil range right now…
We have a very versatile, crossover wing named the WFS. It is a wing with a deep profile, made with a boom. We decided to keep using booms for this year and I would say that 90% of our users who have been riding the WFS are now hooked to the boom system. It gives so much comfort, especially for freeriding and freestyle, and you can place your hands wherever you want to for water starts, transitions and enjoy smoother passes. For next year we will keep this product in our line-up, and add a second wing model that's very light, and made with a new handle system. The new model will still remain a versatile wing, but will have more focus on wave riding and pure performance.
The Evolve board has a whole range of sizes, fat 55, 72, 90, 125 liters, in a PVC carbon sandwich construction. For next year we are extending our range with new sizes. We have chosen the most comprehensive construction methods using a PVC carbon sandwich with carbon reinforcements for each insert and are so happy about the feedback. It ensures our boards have a very direct feel and are extremely durable while still being lightweight. The high degree of customer satisfaction and zero warranty cases confirms it.
Good construction is very important. It is cool to have an extremely light board, but boards are suffering a lot when winging. I see many users hitting sand banks, hitting rocks, falling hard on their boards or weaknesses around the inserts… So being robust, stiff and direct and still light is key for a wing board.
Where do you do the majority of your product testing for your foil range?
We share the task of product development and testing between Portugal, France and also Brazil. We exchange a lot of information between us, including our own feedback and how we can improve the products. We also sometimes involve our dealer network in the testing of our products, and they give the most interesting feedback, fresh, from the market itself!
You have a growing team of ambassadors. How does your selection process work for anyone wanting to join your foil team?
We don’t look to have too many ambassadors; we just want to have the right people who fit the brand and our values. Our “army” of ambassadors are clearly doing an incredible job and have helped us since the very beginning to extend our vision, our products and the brand image. We always try to support them in the best possible way, and we are proud of what they do for us. They are the eyes and the ears in every single country and market, they are very loyal to the brand, and they help us by reporting issues as well as any new opportunities in each market.
So finally, who’s out there killing it on the Eleveight foil gear right now?
We have many local and national riders but don’t yet have any international riders. As we are extending and going deeper into our foil range now, we are looking for a young and talented rider to help and grow with our brand, like we did with kiting in the past. I personally think Titouan Galea and Hugo Marin are the best riders out there, but there is an army of young guns ready to rip and kill it on Eleveight gear in the near future…
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