2016 is shaping up as a big year for Ronix wakeboards, not only because they have built up a reputation for being one of the most progressive brands in the industry (if your not sure why refer to our previous article 'only way is up'), but because they are shaping up for they're 10th year in the industry. This is a big milestone particularly for founder Paul O'Brien who stepped out of his father Herb's shadow and built a brand that is leaving it's mark on the industry in a big way. What should we expect from 2016 that might not have come in 2015, well maybe not as much as you think, like all companies there will be cause for some minor changes but wether or not these make the waves we expect only time will tell.
I'm going to look at this like i did with other brands and start on the men's side, last year we didn't see a whole lot change other than in their boots with the brain frame technology, but on the board front it was much of the same and there is fair reason for that, think about the year before and the development of Camber as a new form of rocker line, this was an industry first. In 2016 i think it's about time that they may push it a little bit further with a new board, here is why i think this is going to happen and it's all thanks to a kid with so much style hailing from Japan. Over the last 2 Moomba Masters i've had the privilege of sitting on the banks and in the boat photographing some of wakeboardings finest, but the one who has polarised me the most is Shota Tezuka, this guy has so much style and and an ever progressing trick bag, and if i'm taking notice surely the guys who are giving him the boards and seeing him beat out the likes of fellow team Danny Harf are too. Unfortunately i don't make the decisions here but if i did he would already have a pro model, the issue that Shota has though is that the Ronix range is already packed to the rafters, and without some culling it's hard to see it fitting into the range, we would be hard pressed to see a lower board drop out of the range to make way for it, but could possibly see the likes of a Ronix Bill slip through after years of service, it's simply to hard to call wether they would want to drop a newer shape such as the Bandwagon or the likes out of the range. As for entry level boards like the District and the Vault expect the standard graphics change, these boards time and time again prove they are some of the best in the industry to get people out on the water and having a crack so they are well and truly safe.
To Look at another area, Ronix have also started to step their cable division up which is fair play considering it's growing popularity, and knowing Ronix we should expect to see something fairly special possibly pop up on that front.
Let's step over to the women's side and unfortunately girls, i can't promise much more than some of the same. Last year saw the introduction of the Limelight, and the year before saw the Quarter to Midnight, with 2 boards in 2 years they are definitely not going anywhere for atleast another year or 2, and after seeing Dallas wind back the clock at Moomba and ride as good as some of the men's competitors, she is showing why she was worth Ronix taking a punt on her after some hefty injuries. Not only is her camber board a best seller but she is showing everyone why they should buy it, in the wakeboard industry that is exactly what you want, athletes who are pro active in supporting the brand. The Quarter to Midnight might get a new name attached to it after Hayley Smith going quiet on the wakeboard front, and i almost would have attached Amber Wing to the board had she not been sitting the season out with a mini shredder on the way, so it shouldn't go anywhere but who's name ends up on it is anyone's guess. For everyones favourite entry level board, Ronix should take an if it's not broken don't fix it approach, last year it was one of the quickest selling women's boards, so providing they don't make the graphics look like something out of Friday the 13th they should be in the clear.
Boots are the funny one because things can change and go relatively unnoticed, but Ronix have had it pretty right for a while now and have some of the most comfortable boots available, the one issue i see them having is they don't have a closed toe boot under $650 where most of their competitors have one around $450-$500, wether they try to fill this gap we will just have to wait and see, but if past trends are anything to go by for the extra money people are happy to get the extra comfort and support. On some minor notes expect some tweaking of the Brainframe technology, first seasons always go through some minor refinements but like i said most go unnoticed.
So what do you think?
I can't give a lot of news because there simply doesn't seem like there will be that many at most maybe a new board or 2 if we are lucky, as i said i would expect to see Ronix more likely to streamline their range rather than be introducing new boards, we are in a transition phase for wakeboarding and it's time that the big brands adjust to make it straight forward for the customer. I hope we see Shota get his own board, he thoroughly deserves it and has for a year or 2 now, but other than that i expect boards to remain very much the same, Ronix's cores are well ahead of the curve from an innovation standpoint and their top end is as sound as it gets, so time to sit tight and wait for September to see how we've done.
Written by Stephen Strange