We’ve had a fair few customers ask us what’s changing in 2019.
Recycled or reclaimed packaging
We’ve made a big step forward this year further reducing the amount of non recyclable packaging we use. All of the packaging that our premium SUP packages come in is recycled or recyclable. And we are striving to ensure that all of our products will be delivered in 100% recycled or recyclable packaging by summer 2019.
And did you know that 30% of our SUP board bags is recycled from plastic bottles? And we have also just agreed with a supplier that our next major order of SUP bags will be made 100% from recycled plastic bottles.
But the biggest step is that we will now accept any end of life McConks goods back at McConks HQ for us to recycle. We haven’t quite figures out all of our recycling routes, but we’re close enough and confident enough that we have a route to charity or recycling to announce it now. There’ll be a big announcement about this in the near future. But for now, no more worrying about what to do with that damaged paddle blade, or the big huge hunk of PVC. Just return them to McConks HQ and let us do the rest.
Heat pressed fusion technology
Sound familiar? That’s because we’ve been using fusion technology since we changed to our new high tech factory in 2017. So fusion technology is not anything that’s new to us or our factory.
What fusion means is that the boards are the optimum trade off between weight and rigidity. It’s a more precise technique than the old manual gluing process. And it’s more sensitive to impurities getting into the process and causing leaky seams. But the super clean environment in our factory has almost entirely removed the risk of blown seams (never say never!). We’ve only had one product returned in two years with a suspected leaky seam, but on inspection at McConks HQ we couldn’t find any leak and the board held 20PSI pressure for 5 days in a test.
There’s an environmental and worker welfare benefit of fusion tech as well, because fusion technology requires less manual gluing. Which means less resources being used, less waste, and a better environment for workers.
With fusion tech being such an obvious win win for everyone, it’s good to see most brands finally converting to the future this year.
Double skin technology
We’ve never made a board with less than two layers, and we’re not going to start now. Unlike others brands, all of our boards are at least two layers – whether this be our premium or our budget boards. We know from our testing and feedback from customers that we’ve got the optimum trade off between weight, rigidity and robustness. And that’s why we use a minimum two layer tech across all of our range, but three layers on those that will take the most abuse – the whitewater boards.
We’ve also been asked why we don’t use military grade PVC. This one is a little difficult to answer to be honest, because military grade PVC doesn’t exist. We use the very best PVC, drop stitch, and adhesive, and as a supplier to the MOD, we know that our boards meet their very exacting performance criteria.
Real fins and standardized fin boxes
There’s a bit of a theme. Again – this is something we have been doing for the last two years. All of our fins are removable, which gives riders the most flexibility in fin arrangement.
And our fin boxes are universal – with a full length US centre box, and side FCS compatible boxes.
Does this matter to most regular paddlers? 2018 was the year that proved the benefit of having removable fins in all fin boxes. With such low water levels after such an amazing summer, we sold buckets of our shallow river fins. And McConks riders were able to sneak a little extra clearance and a little better tracking compared to other riders, by using short 2″ river fins in the side boxes, and a 3″ fin in the centre box.
And if you’re a fin geek, and our range of fins aren’t high enough performance for you, any US or FCS fin will fit on our boxes, so the sky’s your limit when it comes to fins.
To find out more about how important fins are, and to demystify some of the terminology, check out our Focus on Fins article
But what about the new stuff, we hear you ask?
Well, we haven’t just been smugly sitting on our laurels for the last twelve months. Although we haven’t changed the basics of how our boards are made (if it ain’t broke as the saying goes), we have got some exciting new products in 2019.
More opportunities for adventure!
The 14″ Go Further has been designed as the ultimate super fast inflatable touring board. It’s got a pretty awesome glide for a board that packs so much carrying capacity. And it’s pretty fast too. Pair it with one of our Race paddles and you’ll be surprised how fast a 30″ wide board can go. There’s an over fascination on width these days. But our unscientific tests show that a well trimmed 30″ wide board with a waterline optimised for allwater glide is faster than a poorly trimmed narrower board. And of course, any speed benefit you gain from a narrower board is lost the moment that you swim!
Our 11’4 Go Explore board has been designed as a mini tourer board for those who don’t want to make the full step up to a 12′ plus board. With front and back storage, 2+1 fins, and a rockerline designed to cope with moderate chop this is fast becoming our most popular board.
We’ve also expanded our range of Whitewater and river SUP. Our new whitewater boards have again been developed with help from Anthony Ing of Stand Up Paddle Board UK, And Matt Stephenson. After success using the 9’8 Go Wild as a beginners board or whitewater touring board, Ant was after a bit more performance and a board that performs as a good training board for intermediates to advanced paddlers. We kept the rubber strips, 4+1 fins , Go pro mount and full length deckpad that worked so well on the 9’8, but slimmed the board down, and added a more lively rocker to come up with our 9’3 Go Wild. We’ve also added a proper ‘park and play’ wave skate SUP to the lineup with our Go Skate. With an aggressive rocker and convex rails, this board isn’t for the feint hearted! But is it a lot of fun.
For the kids
After the success of the kids Go Surf board, we’ve got a load more of them arriving in 2019, but have added a teeny bit of volume at the tail, and removed a inch of volume and width from the centre of the board. This makes them easier and faster for kids to paddle!
Our kids paddles also now come in two lengths – with the longest being up to 190cm. Perfect for those taller kids (or smaller adults) looking for a smaller bladed paddle.
But it’s not just about new kit
We’ve also launched our new photowall and our blog map. And these are open to all of our partners and customers. We just love seeing your photos, and so do new paddlers looking for inspiration or advice. So if you want to share your favourite places to paddle, your best tips and tricks, or just want to share the stoke, you can be published on McConks.com
We’re always looking to improve our range, and our performance. If you think we’re missing a key feature, or if you think we’re missing a trick, let us know. Maybe you can even be a prototype tester for us as we start to test new and improved products in the coming months. The development cycle never stops!