SAN DIEGO, California - The Boardworks Joyride Flow won the 2015 Supconnect Gear of the Year award for Best All-Round stand up paddle board. The Joyride Flow is a board that can do it all: yoga, touring, cruising, surfing, you name it. To get the inside scoop on how the Joyride Flow came to be and the behind the scenes look on what went into making this award-winning design take a look at our chat with the Boardworks crew below.
People Behind Product Development
Who is involved? And what are their pedigrees?
Phillip Rainey is the main SUP designer at Boardworks, with a strong background in the windsurfing world in the Columbia Gorge and Maui, and the production surf business in Southern California for the past 12 years. That being said, he relies on input from a variety of people with different insights from fellow paddlers, retailers, reps and team riders when designing any new products. Phil is the main man behind the concepts, hull designs and basic shapes. When appropriate, he utilizes the expertise of various CAD designers to refine his original concept files. After the cutting files and shapes are refined, Gretchen Gamble comes in to create the visual concept and graphics. She has a strong background in graphic design, fine arts, tradeshow and display design and marketing. She has been the Marketing Director, Art Director and Head Graphic Designer at Boardworks for the last 6 years.
What's the product development process like at Boardworks Headquarters?
The development process usually starts with a focus group that will allow us to gain information for creating the specific design and it’s intended customer. In the case of the Joyride Flow, we wanted to create a board specific to SUP fitness and yoga, so we discussed the options with a few of our amazing team paddlers to create a board that would appeal to a broad audience in this category. We decided to utilize the ever popular hull design of the 9’11” Joyride as a starting point. Once refined, Gretchen Gamble took over with the graphics. She commented, “The visual concept of a board starts with considering who is the person that will be paddling this board and what will their visual experience be while they are on the water. My goal is to create graphics that are meaningful to the specific paddler and have their own story. For the Flow, I drew inspiration from the sacred “Flower of Life” geometry pattern. I used this pattern as the theme of the graphics to create an inspirational and beautiful yoga matt design that would function as a balancing center, and placed it on bamboo veneer deck reminiscent of a yoga studio floor. The idea was to invoke the experience of taking your yoga studio out on the water.”
How long does designing a paddle board take?
The development process from beginning to end varies depending on the depth of the design and the intention of the product. But an average start to finish time is around 6 to 8 months to get a final commercial sample.
Lindsay Gonzalez, Boardworks Team Rider, enjoying the versatility of the Joyride Flow. | Photos: Morgan Mason
How many prototypes were there before the final prototype was finished?
The Joyride Flow took 2 prototypes to get where we wanted it (with this board we already had a fully tested and successful model for a starting point in the original Joyride to work from.) We made a few shaping tweaks to the second iteration. A few changes to deck tie down points and graphic adjustments were made to version 2, to make sure that it met the specific needs for the SUP yoga paddler.
How many tests?
2 paddle tests were done on this hull to get to the final commercial sample.
Where do you test it?
We do product testing mostly in Southern California and we also use our extensive and diverse team riders to test boards in various water conditions across the US.
What are some of the leading trends you see in this category of product development, for instance, in terms of design, construction, graphics, etc?
With fitness and yoga boards we are constantly looking at ways to make the boards light and easy to handle. Materials like wood veneer replacing heavier layers of sheet foam is a good start. Trimmed down volumes for smaller paddlers and women is also something we are working on. There is a large percentage of women in this category and we feel those numbers will grow. We also feel there will be continued design and material changes in these types of boards to get the weights down and make the boards handle better in all types of water. Graphic design plays a huge role in this category where we believe women are looking for graphics that are inspirational, thoughtful and beautiful.
How does this product differentiate itself from the competition?
Our main considerations with this board were versatility, function and beauty. Not only is this a fabulous board for SUP yoga, but it is the perfect board for all around paddling weather your main focus is yoga, recreational surfing, cruising or just getting out on the water. This board was designed with a wide body and flat rocker to accommodate a wide variety of conditions, paddler sizes and abilities. We feel we were one of the first brands to recognize the need for hull designs that made your first time on a board very successful and enjoyable. Our approach has brought more people into the sport allowing them to branch off in any number of directions this amazing sport has to offer.
Who's the product best suited for?
The Joyride Flow is intended for the paddler looking for an all around SUP that leans towards fitness and yoga. It is very stable to get you anywhere you need to go and is very comfortable to exercise on once you get there, and if you want to catch a few waves along the way it works great for that as well.
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