Challenger Sails and Point-7 split up. The collaboration which has started in 2010, to produce faster and higher quality-orientated, has now come to an end. Challenger Sails has been designing sails for incredible 35 years and is now looking for new challenges. We had a chat with Claudio Badiali, the sail designer from Senigallia (Italy), who already has a new project on his radar, the soft wing sail construction.
Andrea Cucchi (Point-7): “We thank Claudio and we wish him good luck for his soft wing project. We are now working with our new design team on the new model ‘FW1’ formula racing sails, which very soon we will be presented. All the Black Team is slowly arriving to Tenerife and we will start our winter training by beginning of December. Looks like an exciting windsurfing winter is ahead of us.”
Continentseven: Claudio, these are suprising news. Is the end of the collaboration between Challenger Sails and Point-7 100% and can you tell us a bit more about it.
Claudio Badiali: Yes, the stop of the collaboration with Point-7 is 100% confirmed! Well, it is not that strange, actually. We started our collaboration more or less three years ago. The project was to merge our brands in order to create a new one, after a period in which I was supposed to demonstrate my skills as a sail designer and get some good results. At the moment, it is still not possible to be viable, so I decide to put all my effort, energy, passion and know-how exclusively in Challenger Sails.
Continentseven: What was the main reason for your decision?
Claudio Badiali: I have been thinking about this for a while, after seeing PWA athletes climbing the ranking, even ending up in the top 10 (Matteo Iachino was fantastic from 23rd to 10th and Alberto Menegatti even more from 18th to 2nd), using sails designed by myself. I have realized that my job aims at a very high level and that I had to be more focused on my own brand.
Continentseven: Was it only your decision?
Claudio Badiali: I am the windsurfing department sails designer of Challenger Sails and co-owner with Mario Mainero. Of course, decisions regarding the company are taken by mutual agreement and so it was on this occasion.
Continentseven: Many times business decisions are made on success and failure? You had great success in terms of results with Josh Angulo, Alberto Menegatti, Matteo Iachino, Adam Lewis, Nicolas Akgazciyan, Andrea Cucchi, Maciek Rutkowski. Together with Point-7 you won the PWA vice title in the Slalom discipline 2013. But was the success in business missing?
Claudio Badiali: Good business comes always after success. That given, I am sure a big result will soon come. The effort is to keep doing well in the next years, at least as well as we have been doing. Anyway, with our continuous commitment in the R&D and great passion we cannot possibly fail. As we could see during the last few seasons, even the big brands have had some flaws in terms of results, that will affect or has already affected negatively their sales. With the support of valid designers, success will come again, and the market will start back.
Continentseven: Or were you just missing time for your own projects, the R&D for Challenger Sails?
Claudio Badiali: I never put aside our own interests at Challenger Sails. For sure our team has had fewer athletes, who could aim important results. Our budget is one-tenth of what leading companies in the industry can invest in athletes and marketing. With the athletes mentioned above, Challenger Sails, probably could be the “phenomenon” in windsurfing.
Continentseven: You are both on the same market, Challenger and Point-7. You battle for the same group of clients. You have 6 sail lines, 4 RDM masts and 2 SDM masts in your 2014 range. Point-7 has 11 sail lines, 3 RDM and 3 SDM masts, booms, extensions. Got Point-7 too big and too successful for Challenger?
Claudio Badiali: Yes, you are right, we are working on the same group of customers. My dream was to create a single brand to avoid problems. A vanished dream! We are now working on a new one. It means that the fusion of brands was still not possible in these days. Our motto for 2014 seems to be created: “Don’t limit your challenges …. Challenge your limits!”
Continentseven: Did you still design the Point-7 sails for 2014?
Claudio Badiali: Yes, I designed AC1- ACK- ACX- SADO- SALT- SWAG and SLASH for 2014.
Continentseven: You collaborated for 3 years. You supported a relatively young brand Point-7 with your knowledge, but you always kept yourself in the background. Was that a fault and perhaps as well a reason for your decision?
Claudio Badiali: Chris, you know me very well. You have been a Challenger Sails athlete for 3 seasons in the past. You also know that I have never liked to put myself under the spotlight. Maybe that’s my limit. I have never liked the notoriety, for the sake of it. I love to be appreciated from the people who know me personally and who know how I work.
Continentseven: You have been in the sail design business since 1978! 35 years in total. Are you not tired of this job?
Claudio Badiali: Absolutely not, I have been doing this job for 35 years out of passion. When your commitment comes from it, you do not feel tired, neither physically nor mentally.
Continentseven: It is great to hear you are still passionate about your job! And now you will present a new sail construction to the windsurfing world, which will, in your opinion, revolutionize windsurfing. Can you already tell us a bit more about?
Claudio Badiali: At the moment I am quite overwhelmed and fascinated by a project, which has gradually developed in the last six years and now it is absorbing most of my energy: SOFT WING SAIL (it’s a registered patent). A wing sail project for windsurfing developed with Dino Petretto and Giulio Iviani. These people, like me, prefer to stay behind the scene. When the whole windsurfing world will understand the importance of this innovation, for us it will be a dream come true, the new dream to chase now! Be ready, the wing sails era has begun!!
Continentseven: When will the “Soft Wing Sail” be available on the market and will it be a production line or available as a prototype only?
Claudio Badiali: The “Soft Wing Sails” will be available from January 2014 on. I’ve registered them for PWA 2014, too. The lines will be Slalom lines (Aero soft wing), Freeride ( Fluido soft wing) and Formula soft wing. On 2014 they will be available only handcrafted in Italy. In the future they will be produced in series in Sri Lanka same as all the other Challenger lines.
Continentseven: How important is the aspect of competitive windsurfing for you and your brand. You had Matteo Iachino in your team, who won the IFCA European Slalom title. Did that effect your sales positively?
Claudio Badiali: It would have been a bigger effect if Matteo Iachino had continued with Challenger Sails for another season. He could get a result equal to the one of Alberto Menegatti with the new Aero + 2014. Unfortunately we are taking different pathways, but certainly he will hit the top in the years to come. His leaving our team will probably change our expectations in terms of sales. We’ll value the market reaction, whether it will give more importance to the products quality or to the result itself. I believe windsurfing is competition!!
Continentseven: What’s your impression of the windsurfing today. Is it more alive compared to 10 years ago, when many companies already had complaints about shrinking sales?
Claudio Badiali: Today windsurfing is a sport for everyone and differently compared to 10-15 years ago. The global crisis is slowing it down, anyway it is such a beautiful sport that, like the Phoenix, it will overcome these limits and rise again more popular than before.
Continentseven: Did the return of the Slalom discipline in 2005 help the sport?
Claudio Badiali: Yes, I believe that Slalom is the most followed discipline at the moment and also the easiest to practice. Many guys with Techno background end into Slalom or Formula. Look at how many new names of young people become more and more popular in these disciplines. A real generational change is happening and it will establish itself within a few years.
Continentseven: Any wishes for the near future?
Claudio Badiali: Yes, make the largest numbers in terms of windsurfers, who will try the Challenger Soft Wing Sails. The sooner the better!
Continentseven: We wish you a great 2014 season and we wish you good luck with your new concept.
Claudio Badiali: Thanks. The same to you, Chris and Continentseven. Ciao, Claudio Badiali
Alguien tiene aun dudas de la pacion y profecionalidad del equipo Chalenguer!!!
Nice, interesting and good luck To cHS and Point 7 as well-for a great 2014 !!
I guess there is 2 sides to every story.. 🙂
please tell us the other side then…
Its great to see new innovations in the sport.
really interesting read… cheers 🙂