Featured image: David Hugh/Brighton Images
The eagle eyed may already have an inkling about this and what’s going on regarding import/export and obtaining SUP products from our friends in the Far East. And just to clarify, we’re not only talking stand up paddle boards here. There’s a snarl up across the, ahem, whole board as it were. But with SUP specifically in mind read on…
We’ve already heard and reported about how some big brands have pre-sold, and are cleared out of, all their new season stand up paddle board stock ahead of spring’s new SUP season. This now seems to be the case with a large cross section of companies. Whether they’re open and honest about it is a different matter.
At the end of 2020 there was a nagging question about SUP‘s sustained growth and whether it’d continue into this year. Well, it certainly looks as if it’s not slowing – at least in the short term – with stand up paddle boarding equipment being sold left right and centre. And that includes SUP kit from us here at McConks as well.
Nobody could’ve predicted that stand up paddle boarding would’ve been a headline activity, with a significant boost in participation numbers post-lockdown 1.0, following restrictions being lifted. Born of a need to do ‘something’ whilst stuck at home, plus with a degree of disposable income (because of not travelling for holidays as an example) and stand up paddle boarding being a perceived easy, it’s no wonder SUP became the ‘go to’ summer 2020 outdoors activity. And this doesn’t show much sign of slowing down.
The issue, if you haven’t already got yours (with the above in mind), is getting hold of SUP gear. And even if you can how does the quality rate?
McConks’ first container of SUP equipment which will be delivered to customers end March/early April is almost all presold. Once this is sold out, we hope the next container will be landing early May. But there’s currently some uncertainty around that due to raw material and accessory supplies (Dropstitch for instance).
The quality of raw materials is suffering this year due to sheer demand. For example: our factory is refusing hundreds of metres of the very best quality Dropstitch because of quality failures (wrinkles, blemishes, weak spots and so on). This in turn delays our production programme. We would, however, rather accept a delay than just carry on regardless. But we’re aware that others are carrying on regardless! And we’re also aware that other companies are buying up seconds and then claiming they use the best Dropstitch on the market!
The other thing that affects McConks’s forecasts and our price is the availability and cost of container shipping. Container shipping prices have increased six fold in the last 12 weeks, and forecasts are for them to keep increasing. This, coupled with significant delays at UK container ports due to Brexit and COVID19 stockpiling, means that future programme and price is not fixed.
Why are we telling you all of this?
We want to be honest about what’s going on. We believe in transparency and fairness, so that all of our lovely customers and potential customers get the best chance of getting the right SUP, at the right time, and at the right price. If you’re thinking of unlocking your freedom this spring with a paddle board, then the best time is to order now. And that’s true across all brands. These issues aren’t just restricted to us – they’re global. If you pre-order from us now, then you’re getting our very best price. We’re sure that our reliability QA process (72 hours on the production table, 72 hours pressure testing and QA), is as good as anyone’s and better than most. And even if any of the raw material quality issues do slip through (nobody’s perfect), then our 5 year guarantee gives you confidence that we replace or repair any problems.
So there you have it! In a nutshell SUP is once again through the roof – which we’re super happy about (obviously). But we want you guys to be happy about it and stoked on stand up paddle boarding also. This means taking the above points into consideration and doing what’s needed now.