Inevitably we end up back at that time of the season again, the US summer is cranking up while down here in Aus the temperatures start to drop and the snow gear comes out. This doesn't mean we have to stop talking about waterski stuff though and that's exactly what we want to do, the last few years we have been pretty close to correct with what HO have been producing and we're going to see if we can hit the nail on the head again. Last season saw the induction of the much more improved V-Type R which was a big step up from the V-Type the year before, designed with a much greater weight distribution and a faster pace across the wake, while the rest of the range stayed the same as it had in 2015.
What has this got to do with the next year? Well a little bit because to determine what's to come we need to delve into the past a little bit.
For the competition ski's I don't expect them to alter the V-Type R or replace it now they have the shape correct, but if we look at the syndicate's of old, the V-Type is the only syndicate that hasn't had a partner. We had the A3 and S2, the A2 and the S2 and the original A1 and S1, even further back we had the Monza and the System 8 and the list goes on. This is exactly what i expect to happen this year, this is the year we see the V-Type get its partner in crime, the V-Type tagged with one of the other 25 letters of the alphabet.
How this ski could differ from the V-Type as the others used to is a tougher question, it may be a little more user friendly or it could be more aggressive, though i think we could rule out the latter as the V-Type is very much one of their more aggressive designs of late.
But enough of that because there is still an entire range to cover, this is where things become a little easier to assess, because the men's and women's mirror each other and the way i see HO's range at the moment if it's not broken, don't try to fix it. The CX and TX are a staple of HO's range and i can't see either going anywhere, with only a handful of changes which i'm also including the name changes, they fit neatly into the centrepiece of the range and are 2 of the biggest selling ski's worldwide.
From here down though is where we could potentially see a new ski, the bottom end is where HO have started to fall behind the pack. Since they brought in the Freeride and changed the game in free-skiing, dominating that section of the market a few years ago, other brands have now caught up and they're coming in cheaper. This is where it is pure speculation, HO are one of the few brands who refuse to lag behind the pack, so i completely expect a new ski, the only thing that we can't judge is which side of the Freeride that ski falls. With the way the industry works and in a perfect world, we should expect the established Freeride to drop down into a cheaper price bracket, which would make it out and out the cheapest of the Free-Ski options, allowing this new ski to take it's $999 price point with a little more to offer, most likely being more on the fence between a Free-Ski and a Cross-Over.
Now on the boot side of things, don't expect any crazy changes, if any at all. The only changes I can assume is that HO may try to slim down both the FreeMax and the xMax, bringing it more inline with the vMax.
That's it, that's all folks, lets see if we can go 3 from 3, unfortunately we're going to have to wait until September to know, but if i'm right then 2017 is looking like an exciting year for HO, wouldn't you agree?