Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2017 - 67
h a s
Its marketing efforts
include online videos as
well as ads and testimonials
from brand ambassadors, as well as
National Hockey League All Stars Brent
Burns and Carey Price, and Sarah Lacina, the winner of the most recent season of CBS' "Survivor." Surf9's
products are also featured on "The Price is Right" and Fox
Sports' "Facing Waves," which is syndicated in more than
Chenciner founded Surf9 in 2005 after acquiring the Body
Glove license. He has 41 years of experience in the sporting
goods industry, including 37 years specializing in footwear.
In 2016, the company expanded its product offering when
it introduced a new innovative line of inflatable stand-up
"We're finishing our first full year offering [the inflatable
paddleboard], and sales have just gone crazy," Chenciner
says. "We already have the most successful inflatable standup paddleboard in the industry, and expect that next year
will be twice as
big for us as this year."
Chenciner credits the paddleb o a rd 's
success to its innovative design. The paddleboards feature
a patented adaptable handle that
can be used to
carry the board
as well as hold a
water bottle while
the board is in
use. The board's
nose features a
rubber bumper that
protects it from wear
when it comes ashore.
Also included in the package is an 11-foot leash, an industry leading dual action pump as well
as a triple-sealed dry bag for smartphones.
The boards are lighter than comparable prod-
ucts and feature a triple-stringer design on its top, bottom
and rails that provide unparalleled rigidity in a board this
The boards have a pointed nose and are 33 to 34 inches wide, making it appropriate for beginners as well as
experienced paddlers such as Luke Hopkins, a competitive paddler who was recently named president of Surf9's
new watersports division. "He's both a world-class athlete
and product designer, as well as a brilliant marketing guy,"
Chenciner says of Hopkins, a three-year employee of Surf9.
The new division was a natural extension for the company
given Chenciner's sporting goods industry experience and
paddling background. "I was keenly aware of how popular
paddleboarding had become, and saw companies were making inflatable boards but not doing a great job at it," he says.
Inflatable paddleboards make up 85 percent of the total
paddleboard market in Europe, but were only 25 percent
of the market in the United States when Surf9 entered the
market. Today, inflatable paddleboards constitute roughly
55 percent of the U.S. market. "I knew that as inflatables
got better, they could compete with hard boards," Chenciner
says, noting that portability and storability of the inflatable
boards are big selling points.
Surf9's watersports division will launch its second product
line next year: an inflatable kayak. "This will out-perform
inflatable kayaks that are three times the price," he adds.
Surf9 also recently expanded its footwear lines. The company's 2018 "Turf " catalog introduces its lifestyle shoes, targeted to specialty retailers.