With one of the strongest athletic rosters in the industry and an equally impressive team of designers and engineers, Duotone continues to push the boundaries of technology and performance with one of the largest ranges of products in the industry. Marketing and Communications Manager Philipp Becker walks us through the SLS and D/Lab innovations that have found their way into the 2022 lineup.
The major developments at Duotone this year are a series of material innovations that are finding their way into the various products. What is the difference between the SLS materials introduced last year and the D/LAB materials released this year? What products receive these options and why?
The main idea was to create a series of options that would allow our customers to choose between certain levels of quality and price points, but we ended up finding that our high-end SLS option became our most popular range with its stunning new flying characteristics. We also released our D/LAB option which you will find only in the Juice, but it is like a preview into the future. The Dice, Evo, Neo, Rebel and our whole range of surfboards and twintips received a Strong Light Superior (SLS) option for riders that want to upgrade to the highest performance. As I mentioned the Juice and the Neo got our exclusive D/LAB materials which features an enormous weight reduction, but some of our most popular surfboards also received D/LAB technology upgrades that make them the most advanced blend of surf technology on the market.
The Rebel will only be available in the SLS, but equally famous kites like the Evo, Neo and the Dice are available in Duotone’s original and SLS construction. How should riders choose between SLS and original construction and what can they expect in terms of performance increases from the Evo, Neo and Dice across their respective disciplines of riding?
The original Evo and Neo are still amazing kites, which will make a lot of kiters incredibly happy. The new SLS materials help us deliver an airframe that is a bit more rigid, which leads to a more direct and extra sporty feeling. The SLS option is targeted at the ambitious rider who wants to push himself to the next level. When you already have a large population of loyal riders, it’s a significant move to make the change to SLS and the higher price point, so we decided to keep the original construction level. Our thought was to just sell a small amount of SLS, but it turns out that kiters love the SLS so much, many riders are willing to step it up to SLS. As the advantages of SLS for a premium kite like the Rebel were so huge and the characteristics of the SLS fit so perfectly to the Rebel, we decided to release the Rebel this year in the SLS version only.
There’s now three construction options in the surfboard line. What’s the key technology behind each construction level and how does each level fit the various types of riding and skill levels?
We’re offering the original construction, the SLS series and the D/LAB construction. In a nutshell, the original construction uses our solid Bamboo-Tec construction, which has been the longest running build style in the range. The SLS is built with an Innegra Shield and our cork shock absorber 2.0 with a carbon beam, offering the feel of a custom board in a solid construction. The D/LAB is the cherry on top of the cake; it’s a brand-new construction which also incorporates an Innegra Shield, a carbon beam, but with a layer of RMF, Reflex Memory Foam on top. RMF is something you might have experienced in your running shoes, and when you incorporate it into surfboard technology, it gives just a little bit extra cushion. The D/LAB construction still feels super direct, like a proper surfboard, but also incredibly comfortable. One of the impressive features is that small heel dents will disappear over time, as the foam transforms back to its original shape. You’ve gotta try one!
The Wam and the Whip are probably some of the most popular surfboards found at beaches around the world. These two shapes have been redesigned for 2022, what are the changes and how will loyal riders feel the difference?
The brand-new shape of the Wam for 2022 is at the absolute pinnacle of high performance kitesurfing. With maximum volume under the front foot for speed and flow, the Wam now features a continuous rocker, generous outline curve and a brand new rail shape for radical top to bottom surfing in almost any conditions. The Wam is at home in everything from small onshore waves to pumping down-the-line surf which makes it the go-to high performance board for our team riders competing on the GKA World Tour. Fast, lively and agile, the WAM D/LAB offers a dynamic and exciting ride no matter the conditions.
The Whip, in general, got a major make-over for 2022. With increased rocker, a slightly narrower nose outline, lower, rounder rails and a new ‘wide bump-squash’ tail design, the new Whip is quicker and more agile when transitioning rail to rail, much more reactive and also able to operate in a tighter transition in small waves. The compact shape makes the Whip the ideal board for strapless freestyle pros and seasoned surfers. The Whip is an extremely well-balanced board with incredible handling, but still provides explosive snap off the top with the ability to turn in a very tight radius on steep sections. The shape of the Whip is available in two sizes in our new D/LAB construction.
What holds true for both of these new shapes, if you liked the Wam and/or the Whip before, you’ll love them even more now.
The twintip line is getting the SLS upgrade as well. What is the technology behind the SLS twintip construction and how does it compare to the original version of each board in terms of performance and feel?
The main difference is the Textreme Innegra for light-weight, responsiveness and dampening. The original boards like the Jaime or the Select are great boards, only again, the sporty, ambitious rider will feel the difference when they transition to an SLS board. The dampening abilities of Textreme Innegra leads to more overall control, therefore offering more control of the edge and even harder edging which results in incredible pop. With these new materials we have made the lightest Jaime we have ever built and generally, all these qualities allow riders to push every aspect of their riding harder and with more confidence and control.
The Duotone hydrofoil line has everything from fast racing wings to versatile freeride foils as well as foils for the surf and carve minded. What are the big developments in the foil lineup for this year?
Exactly like you already mention, there’s the perfect setup for the needs of each foiler, from racing to prone surfing and jumping, with wings from 565 to 1500cm and aluminum and carbon masts in all the needed lengths. Most outstanding this season is probably the addition of the Spirit SLS, a foil package that exemplifies the technology and performance improvements behind the SLS concept. The Spirit SLS offers an ultra-light carbon mast and a carbon fuselage with a form fit connection system that allows riders to reach the highest speeds with the maximum amount of control. A bit later in the season, you should also look out for a quick mount board to mast connection. Setting up your foil has never been so easy and with the most stable connection possible.