If you’re looking into buying a wakeboard, chances are you may be thinking: where does my wakeboard come from? Our key wakeboard brands, Liquid Force and Slingshot, build their boards at the SWS factory. What is the SWS factory? SWS (Solico Water/Winter Sports) creates boards for our key wakeboard brands, Liquid Force and Slingshot, and also for snowboarding companies such as Arbor and Jones. As a multi-sport board manufacturer, SWS aims to produce high-quality, handmade action sports boards, whether you shred wake, snow, skate or surf. To give you an idea of the scale of this operation, SWS produce 90% of all wakeboards in the world, alongside 20% of the world’s kiteboards. This amounts to around 200,000 wakeboards a year, a huge operation which allows global companies to produce boards of consistently exceptional quality, getting wakeboards to lakes and boats all over the world. 

The company have been producing wakeboards and kiteboards for over a decade, but their recent partnership with Arbor in 2013 heralded a new era in cross-board sports innovation. How does SWS drive this innovation in wake and snowboard building? SWS’s passion for action sports informs their deep commitment to research and development. They are constantly testing and improving their boards to advance both technology and ideas. 

SWS have outlined several key goals which they are committed to reaching in the next few years. Their original mission statement stipulated a dedication to exceeding expectations within the industry for the quality of board production. Providing industry leaders such as Liquid Force, Slingshot, Arbor and Jones, SWS attribute their success to the use of premium materials, technology and highly skilled staff. 

Going forward, SWS’s aim is to improve the overall output and manufacturing process of the companies they work with, setting out five key areas in which the action sports industry can be improved. These are:

Sustainability
Green Mission
Code of Ethics
Philanthropy
Corporate Social Responsibility

Particularly noteworthy here is the commitment to long-term improvement, with key dates set out for the achievement of their aims. A major marker for forward progress highlighted by SWS is the 2020 Dubai Expo. How does the 2020 Dubai Expo impact wakeboarding? Crucially, SWS as a wakeboard production factory has aligned itself with three key Expo aims: Sustainability, Economic Opportunity and Development, and Global Connectivity. This will crucially influence both the quality of boards for the consumer, but also the carbon footprint of the products on the market. 

SWS recognise that sustainability and environmental concerns are usually at odds with the business model of international manufacturing and distributing. However, SWS are striving to reduce the environmental impact of their manufacturing process, locating their factory in Dubai in order to be as equidistant as possible from both import and export destinations. This is intended to specifically reduce air-miles and carbon footprint of the import of organic materials, but also the shipping of finished product. Dubai, for all its supercars and skyscrapers, is also home to the world’s largest and most advanced port. Helpfully, this is located just 6 miles from the SWS factory, drastically reducing travel times for both materials and product. In a similar vein, the world’s largest airport is again situated only 12 miles from SWS. Therefore, in terms of getting wakeboards to riders, over two-thirds of the world’s population is under eight hours away from the SWS factory. 

The SWS factory has also begun using greener raw materials in their production process, but also crucially improving durability, to reduce the number of disposed of products from year to year. 50% of their materials are sourced from under 30km radius of the factory, again reducing their import carbon footprint. Finally, SWS have committed to moving towards 100% solar powered energy by 2020. 

So if you are environmentally minded, you may be thinking, how eco-friendly is my wakeboard? If you’re buying a Liquid Force or Slingshot wakeboard from The Board Basement in the UK, you can be safe in the knowledge that your board hasn’t travelled across the entire world, causing undue harm to the environment, to get to you.