Duotone Win the Triple Crown at the AWSI Awards


The AWSI Board Sports Expo 2022 was held in Hood River, Oregon (USA) from September 7-9. The Association of Wind + Water Sports Industries (AWSI) is a non-profit trade association dedicated to representing Windsurfing, Kiteboarding, Wing, Foil and Stand Up Paddle Board companies in the outdoor sports world. Their mission is to bring retailers and manufacturers together in the most efficient and economical way possible.  

During the Board Sports Expo, awards are presented to athletes, retailers, and the brands in all three primary sports of the association: Windsurfing, Kiteboarding, and Wingfoiling. The very first annual awards were given out about 15 years ago


Duotone is super proud to be the very first brand ever to win the prestigious award for the “Best Brand” in all three categoriesWindsurfing, Kitesurfing and Wingfoiling.

Hi Doug, thanks for sitting down with us today.

Youre the Head of Boards & More in the US. How many years have you been with B&M and how long have you been part of the AWSI Board Sports Expo?

I have been with Boards & More since the company started, and with the associated brands for a while before-hand.  I started in customer service and sales for North Sails Windsurfing in the US when I was just a kid in the late 80’s, so I was there for the start of North Kiteboarding around 2000 as well.  And of course, I came over to Duotone with everyone the minute that happened.  

The AWSI has been the North American wind industry association since the mid 1980’s, under a different name in the old days.  We have always been an active participant in AWSI because its mission statement is perfectly aligned with our goals as a brand in our market.

At this year’s expo, Duotone was awarded “Best Brand” in all three categories — Windsurfing, Kitesurfing and Wingfoiling. No other brand has achieved this ever before. How significant are these awards and how do you feel about Duotone taking out the triple crown?

We are always happy to win Best Brand in any one category, and I remember some late nights in town with our team when we have won in the past.  For sure there is a certain competition among the brands to see who will win, because the awards are recognized by everyone in the industry.  

AWSI awards Duotoen Kiteboarding

This year we were first announced for Windsurfing and went on stage to accept the award.  Then came Kiteboarding and another trip up front for our second trophy.  When it came to Wing Foiling it was hard to know what might happen with such a new sport, only its second year in the awards ceremony.  When they opened the envelope announcing Duotone as Wing Foiling brand of the year as well, it was surreal.  Call it a clean sweep, or the triple crown, either way, quite an achievement.  I think all the top brands have won awards at some time, so they know what that feels like. Just multiply it by three.


AWSI awards Duotone Kiteboarding

Do you have any idea what criteria the judges take into account when nominating the “Best Brand”?

There are no “judges”.  The Best Brand award is decided by all the dealers, which means the people who work in the retail shops and schools throughout North America, Central America, and parts of South America.  They are instructed to vote for the leading brand in their shop, in terms of sales, performance, innovation, marketing, and service.  Sometimes this is a smaller brand that is on the leading edge of a whole new exciting category, and sometimes this is a brand that dominates by success across the whole range of the sport.

Do you know what prompted the AWSI to start giving out these awards about 15 years ago?

We used to hold our trade show as a part of Surf Expo.  The Wakeboarding industry would always have an awards party at this show, which looked like a lot of fun, and a way to recognize the leaders.  This was the inspiration. We also give awards for the Best Dealer in each of the three sports, which is voted on by the brands. And Best Male and Female Athlete, who are chosen by our media partners.

AWSI awards Duotone Kiteboarding

Can you please tell us a little bit more about the work of the AWSI?

The AWSI website states “Our top goal is to bring retailers and manufacturers together in the most efficient and economical way possible.” There are other activities that we strive towards, but the annual trade show is where almost all our time and resources are spent. The board members are all volunteers from the industry, with one part time paid director who follows through on the details of the organization.


With regard to the three primary sports of the association — Windsurfing, Kiteboarding, and Wingfoiling — can you please give us a little background as to how these three sports have developed in the US and where these sports stand today?

It all started with Windsurfing which saw phenomenal growth in the 1980’s.  This was a life-style sport, surfing for everyone-everywhere.  At its peak, it was many times bigger than Kiteboarding is today.  Sometime in the early 1990’s, it became a high-performance sport practiced mostly in high winds or waves.  This is when it started to slow down.  

Then in the late 1990’s Kiteboarding came along.  This was too extreme for most people, but the industry soon focused on safety and accessibility, and by the mid to late 2000’s it really took off.  The growth of kiteboarding has slowed down a bit in the last couple years, but it is firmly established with the largest share of the wind business.  

Winging was an idea that had been around for about 10 years, but it was Duotone designer Ken Winner who really focused on developing it as a tool for foiling, and his first production hand-held wings came out in spring of 2019.  Now, less than four years later, we have a new way to enjoy the wind and water that seems to appeal to the largest customer group we have seen in a long time.  The sky’s the limit!

AWSI awards Duotone Kiteboarding

Where do you think the water sports industry is going from here? And how do you see the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic as well as the war in Ukraine influencing the future of our sports?

The pandemic caused many supply chain problems, but we were still selling a lot more products than before Covid.  It was just that the demand for all outdoor activities increased a lot, so we could never get enough gear.  Now the supply is getting better, dealers have stock, and there is not as much urgency to buy whatever you can find.  This means the market should become more selective, like before the pandemic.  

I don’t think the war in Ukraine is close enough for most Americans to feel directly.  But inflation is certainly real, and this has some people worried about a recession. Luckily wind people are crazy about their sports, so they will keep on going no matter what.

And a last one: Which sport are you most obsessed with, kiting, windsurfing, foiling, SUPing or winging?

I have been exclusively obsessed with each of these sports at one time or another.  Lately I have been kiting with my daughters and winging with my wife. It just depends on who agrees to meet me at the beach!


Thanks so much, Doug! We’re incredibly proud of the three awards that perfectly epitomize what our brand strives for in the industry.