„Sending DUOTONE team riders to Hawaii, has always been wickedly expensive,” explains Raoul Joa, Line and Product Manager of DUOTONE windsurfing. “Our slalom team riders are training on Tenerife in the bay of El Medano during the winter months, as they can take advantage of the permanently installed world cup slalom course.” Since the riders won’t visit the sail designer, the sail designer will visit the riders – Kai concluded.
A simple idea at the first glance, the implementation had been challenging, though. “Usually, I digitally send my design files to Sri Lanka. There, the new prototype is built and ready for testing in every corner of the world within a week - except Canary Islands. On the Canaries there are specific rules for customs. Importing a sail takes 3-4 weeks. This is - of course - not practical.” Hence, there is only one possible way: manufacturing prototypes on-site on Tenerife.
However, Kai Hopf wouldn’t have been able to sew all prototypes himself. Four Race and Freeride lines were reviewed, optimized and tested during the two months: WARP 20.20, WARP.FOIL 20.20, S-PACE and E-PACE. The solution: a cooperation with our colleagues from Sri Lanka. Raoul Joa: “To Kai, it has always mattered to integrate staff from our sail production into the development process in order to transmit his understanding of quality and special manufacturing techniques. Now, this contact has been reinforced.”
The new project fell into place. Over three months, Kai Kopf was building a plotter which draws data files onto sail cloth precisely. The new gadget is extraordinary in every respect: the entire console can be folded and transported as hand luggage. The DUOTONE sail factory on Sri Lanka built two large custom sail sewing desks, organized sewing machines, tested this miniature production line, dismounted it completely, calculated the raw materials for the entire project and shipped everything to Tenerife.
Moreover, the factory in Sri Lanka embraced the idea of a custom sail loft so much, that they even sent four specialists, more than the initially scheduled two people. When does a production worker ever get the chance to work that close together with the chief designer? Of course this is a fantastic opportunity for us as well, to particularly reward our workers of many years. None of them has ever left Sri Lanka.