23/04/2018
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Home > Editorials > Yacht Toys: Back To Basics

Yacht Toys: Back To Basics

At Superyacht Tenders and Toys we are always at the forefront of new toys and services coming into the industry, whether this is new inflatables, foiling surfboards, jetskis or submersibles. We are often approached by new inventors and established manufacturers and asked to comment and assist in the design and sales of these. This has led to mixed results, with some products proving highly popular and a runaway success, and some which simply never come up to standard.

 

In this industry there is a focus on high end, expensive new toys. There is an increasing trend among yachts that they demand toys which provide as large a thrill as possible, with the minimal amount of skill for instant gratification. As watersports enthusiasts and former instructors ourselves we hope that the industry does not become overrun with new battery powered toys but that the simple life of wind sports and just getting out on the water and learning a new skill, enjoying the peace it has to offer does not get lost.

There is a lot of noise in the industry where everyone tells you that you must have the next best thing, as owners are often seeking the latest and greatest toys to play on. Almost on a weekly basis we are asked to provide info to the leading yachting titles on the ‘hottest new toys’. This can be difficult as toys rise and wane in popularity and often the hype is great but the reality fails to live up to expectations.

 

One such new toy which springs to mind is the electric surfboards which are on many yacht shopping lists. They have sold well over the last 4 years, with a short dip in orders due to Lampuga going into administration in 2017. There are undoubtedly many happy clients out there, however there are also a number of dissatisfied ones who have had maintenance issues with the boards. Recently we received two boards from a well-known new electric surfboard manufacturer, costing €15k each, and when we test rode these they simply did not perform, giving only 10 knots speed at best with other issues on top. This meant that we had no choice but to send these back to the manufacturer and refund the client as we could not recommend them as able to perform as advertised. There is a real danger here of believing all the hype around a new toy and offering clients the latest and greatest new thing but that toy not being able to perform as expected. Often items go to market too soon and manufacturers have not had had the time to test and refine the products to ensure they are fit for purpose. A number of times we have been told by manufacturers that they plan to sell initially to the superyacht market as they can charge inflated sales prices meaning they can then invest in more R & D to bring the items to the wider marketplace, something that we feel very uncomfortable with. Only the most highly tested and refined products should be going to superyacht owners especially considering the price tags they come with. At Superyacht Tenders and Toys we make a huge effort to test ride, drive and fly every item which is sold and this puts us in the unique situation of being able to offer clients the best advice without the marketing noise. This means we are the industry’s most trusted seller to provide recommended toys, something few other companies can offer on the same scale. The last thing a busy yacht needs is new technologies causing unhappy owners, frustrated crew who take the blame when things don’t work, and the associated supplier and warranty problems.

 

Superyacht Tenders and Toys specialise in new build outfitting and are involved in supplying most of the notable current builds with the full complement of toys and leisure equipment. With this in mind it is easy to see what the trends are in what people are ordering. Unfortunately, this makes bleak reading for us wind sport enthusiasts, as there is a downwards trend in sail sports which, perhaps for a large proportion of us, are the whole reason we got involved in the industry in the first place. Seemingly they do not offer the instant gratification required by the quick-fix generation. Orders for kitesurfing, dinghy sailboats and windsurfing are very low compared to Seabobs and other toys. However, new generation toys such as the Tiwal sailboat have helped in a small part, offering a good sailing experience but on a fully inflatable package to help pack down small on board.

Over the years owners and charterers are becoming more fitness aware, and some sports like Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUPS) offer a good way to get exercise and enjoy being on the water. Newer inventions like the Schiller Water Bike and others take this further.

 

Whether you are active or after the quick adrenalin fix, Superyacht Tenders and Toys offer the best packages for your needs based off our extensive experience.

 

By Josh Richardson CEO Superyacht Tenders & Toys