The importance of being close to your customers

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As a sport, surf is probably one of the most fickle ones. It depends on so many factors and scenarios that predicting what gear will work or not (and how it will work) is more or less like predict the future with oomancy (divination by eggs). Which is the same to say that probably you (we) will fail a lot of times.

So develop a grip solution, as an alternative to the surf wax mainstream, it’s more than a challenge. It’s a leap of faith…

Since day 1 that research has always been, for me and for Afonso, exciting, fun and meaningful.

Just to name a few factors, surf will depend on weather conditions, waves size and shape, wind (onshore, offshore, side shore…), surfer skills and experience, type of surfing waves (beach break, reef break, point break…). On top of that, add surfboard shape, size, design and construction type (epoxy, fiber, foam…), add a set of fins (that can change from 2 to 5 fins, with different size and shapes), and add a wetsuit (again, a lot of different materials, thickness and so on) or no wetsuit at all.

As a plus, add on top of these variables a surfer physical and mental form, if he is adapting to new gear (surfboard, wetsuit, fins) or surfing in a new spot, or if suddenly all conditions changed and he was trying our surf grip on a more challenging day. Count also with surfer patience and willingness to try and adapt his surf to a new (and more expensive) grip.

Some tests around version 2 of Van der Waal

All these factors make almost impossible to read and understand all the feedback that we received since our first sale. And despite a lot of testing and research (read more here) on the most accurate materials that we could, it’s almost impossible to get a final result on how our product will behave in this magical formula:

SURFER + OCEAN + SURF GEAR

So, the only way we could improve our first version of Van der Waal (Performance Series 1.0) was running a survey to all our customers and cross their feedback with our test results. A year later, also based on our customer's feedback, we decided to launch a new version, r.Evolution Series. This is a softer and clear version of Van der Waal, free from plasticizers and PVCs, so also a greener one.

With this version, we have finally a killer product! Or not…

A new clearer, lighter and greener version of Van der Waal

The feeling now is the same when we started this… a leap of faith.

As always, we tested a lot of times and at different conditions, I keep surfing with it a year from now and it keeps working, but we will never have sure if it will work for everyone that will buy it.

That’s why now we have to be even closer to our customers. Because only with their feedback, and after analysing all the facts, opinions — frustrated and amazed ones — and suggestions that customers kindly provide us, we will able understand if this is what I think it is (the best version of Van der Waal so far) or a better version but yet to be improved.

Written by

CEO at Van der Waal, a clear non-skid alternative to surf wax. Read more at www.waal.co

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