Tech Talk

R&D with

Marco lang

Always staying at the forefront of the industry isn't easy. Our sport is constantly developing with new ideas coming into the discussions on a weekly basis. How do we keep up and make sure our sails stay at the top year after year? The answer is R&D and we sat down with our Chief Tester, Marco Lang in between testing some of the new 2022 prototypes in Lake Garda to talk all things R&D.


We always talk about R&D but what does it actually mean?

Marco: R&D means Research and Development. So before we start with the testing process we kind of study the market and look what other brands are doing. It’s really important to go in the right direction and to develop the best product for our customers especially now with foiling. Once we know what we want to work on then we start with the developing process.


We are bringing out a new sail almost every season - how do you take the best sail from testing last year (that went into production) and improve it?

Marco: We are only bringing a new sail on the market if it’s clearly better. I have an experienced testing team around me to help to choose the best products, because we are not choosing just the best product for our team riders, but we also want to have the best product for our customers.


How do you keep up with new trends in the market? For example, when foiling came along, who decides whether to make a specific sail and where do you start with the development process on a sail like this?

Foiling was definitely a big challenge for us because a specific foiling sail is completely different to a normal fin sail. When foiling emerged we were still a bit careful which is why we worked mainly on combined sails which our customers could use on the fin and the foil. But pretty soon we realised that foiling is the future and then we decided to fully focus on specific foil sails.

The main difference between specific foil and fin sails is that you want to have zero backhand pressure on the foil sails to keep the foil stable in the air, while on the fin you want to have some backhand pressure to put some pressure on the fin.


The fin vs foil debate continues… looking into the next seasons, how do you adapt the range to the changing PWA equipment restrictions?

On the PWA it looks like slowly foiling is taking over from the fin. In some certain conditions the foil is definitely performing better. We are in the close contact with our team riders to find a good mix between Foil and Fin for next year’s range and to have the perfect setup to win another World Champion title.


As a team, how do you normally make the R&D process for slalom?

I am the main guy between our Chief Sail designer Kai Hopf and our riders. So I always collect all the feedback from our riders and discuss everything with Kai. I am not able to test all the products alone especially with the racing sails as you need a test partner. Our Racing team (The WarpBoyz) are not just showing great performances on the course, they are as well all experienced testers to support me during the R&D process.


And how is this different for waves?

There is not so much difference between waves and slalom in R&D. We also want to have the best wave sails to win titles. The main guys behind the WAVE R&D are Adam Lewis, Marc Pare and Victor Fernandez. We are always trying to test our sails in different conditions like onshore-sideshore and offshore.

We always talk about the high performance slalom and wave R&D, but most people are using the freeride equipment. What are you looking for when you are developing the E_PACE for example?

The high performance products always help us in the developing process with the freeride products! I have to change a bit my mind during the freeride testing because we are not looking for who is the fastest or who jumps the highest. More important is like early planing, easy handling and plug and play, we want to keep it as easy as possible for our customers!




Which is your favourite sail to work on?

It’s definitely the E_PACE. The E_PACE is doing everything - you can chase the guys on the slalom course or you go for some cruising on the fin or on the foil. The E_PACE is my choice if I have to take one sail for the rest of my life.


What is the favourite sail and year you have ever developed?

It’s definitely the WARP! I am a passionate racer that’s why I love to work on the racing sails. It was like a dream come true when Pierre became World Champion in 2019 with the WARP which I developed with the whole Duotone Team.