The SBIA Product Innovation Award is one of the most exciting awards in our stable, it provides brands with the platform to showcase their most innovative, technologically advanced, practical and in some cases lifesaving products
This year, we welcome WSL’s Andrew Stark (General Manager of Australia and Oceania) and Scott Hargreaves (Commercial Director) to the judging panel to assess and review this year’s most outstanding products.   
We recently sat down and spoke with Scotty about the things they’re looking for in an award-winning Product Innovation submission.  

SBIA: You guys are exposed to a tonne of innovative products used by the best surfers in the world, what are some of the most progressive products that you’ve seen used in action? 

Scott: Shane Dorian’s original inflatable wetsuit has probably made the most meaningful impact on the surfing community from an innovation stand point. Since its inception we haven’t lost any lives surfing xxl waves. Couple of others that come to mind for solving problems was the Rip Curl Flashbomb wetsuit – no one has ever likes putting on a wet wetsuit and that thing changed the game. Lastly I’d say the FCS product changed the game of solving the problem of traveling with glassed in fins. 

SBIA: Without our judges being able to test every single product, the strength of the nomination is in the content of the submission, for your guys to get a real understanding of the features and benefits of a product, what’s your hot tip for content? 

Scott: Authenticity is critical from a content point-of-view. A powerful narrative of real surfers solving real issues through product innovation wins every time.

SBIA: Video content of the innovative product will be key for the judging process, why is this important for you? 

Scott: Videos that are unique from a story perspective backed up with material benefits are important. Often too much tech jargon will be lost on the consumer so it’s important to keep it relatable and believable.   

SBIA: You would also see a lot of products come and go in the market, in your opinion what innovative products stand the test of time? 

Scott: When your competitors copy the innovation and when the product evolves like the FCS 2 product it’s always a great indication of a product standing the test of time.

SBIA: Sustainability and environmental responsibility is so important these days, do you think boardriders would make product choices based on these factors? 

Scott: Absolutely yes… we’re all concerned about what’s happening to our playground. Many brands are making serious changes to the way they approach doing business and doing their bit for ocean health and environment issues we face as a society. This is becoming expected from a consumer POV which is great. 

SBIA: Does technology play a big part in our industry in relation to products these days or does good old fashioned practicality reign supreme. 

Scott: Our industry benefits most when there’s a strong balance of quality print, colour, fabric interest and core fundamental surf apparel coupled with exciting innovative technical ideas in market at the same time.   

SBIA: Do you think the wave pool revolution changes the game in terms of production innovation and what product development teams are designing? 

Scott: Wave pools will definitely enhance product innovation opportunities. Surfboards and fins are the obvious categories that benefit the most from having the ability to replicate a situation over and over again in a short space of time. Athletes, coaches and surfboard shapers have already had the benefit of learning a lot and making change on the spot from spending time up at the Surf Ranch in California.   

Nominations for the 2019 Product Innovation Award close on the 8th of August, 2019 at 5pm, to download the nomination form, please click here >> 2019 Product Innovation Award