Channel Islands Surfboards

Channel Islands Surfboards is the most notable surfboard designer and manufacturer on the planet. Channel Islands Surfboards has been dedicated to performance and quality through hard work, innovation, and originality. Over the last 43 years, Channel Islands has grown from a local grass-roots operation to a cutting edge organization, catering to the best surfers in the world.

With the goal to shape the new millennium with innovative design and quality, Channel Islands engaged SLTWTR Creative Agency as a partner for digital leadership in bringing the CI brand and product offering into a modern, digital space.
Increased audience acquisition, engagement, advocacy and loyalty were the goals we put forth, and we set out to build something that rips. Through a very collaborative effort, we helped the California-based brand redesign and relaunch its web platform with a hybrid focus on user experience, engagement, and ecommerce.


A base understanding of the C.I. consumer was already engrained in our team; as a team largely comprised of dedicated surfers, being empathetic to the consumer was utterly instinctual. But instinct alone doesn’t define use-case; a thorough evaluation of the brand position, the customer, the offerings, and the methods that brought them all together, SLTWTR worked with CI to redefine what is possible in a surfboard-centric online experience. Collaborative sessions allowed us to sit in the shoes of both the consumer and the executive team, and define goals from both sides.

The Surf Shop Experience

What makes the surf shop experience conducive to buying a surfboard that an online store is challenged to provide? Well… everything. From the helpful “shop kid”, to the ability to compare rockers and widths, up to the point of the compulsory “under-arm check”, the overall experience gives the consumer confidence in their purchase. Enabling a user to purchase a high-value product through the web [–webdesign-15497] has it’s challenges, and surfboards are no exception. Early in the project we identified the goal of near-tactile experience, connecting the consumer to surfboards at a level previously unreached in an online experience.

Surfers are Geeks

Believe it or not, the more dedicated a surfer becomes, the geekier they get when it comes to Surfboards. CI was inundated with inbound customer support asking for details like: “What is the exact volume in liters of a Fred Rubble [surfboard model] at 6’5″ in length and 18 7/16″ in width”; and “What is the width of a 6’4″ x 19″ Black Beauty 12 inches up from the tail?”. We sought to answer these questions with a toolset that put the foremost knowledge of surfboard design into the hands of the user, intuitively and with seamless integration to a beautiful website design.

Beautiful, Simple Design

SLTWTR’s design team worked with the client and our development team to concept and create a layout that serves in its simplicity. By merging facets of CI’s previous website, we defined a consolidated User Experience that provided more of what the user-base was asking for in an engaging, mobile-responsive design. The visuals speak for themselves, have a look.

Engagement & Advocacy

We pushed the agenda of capitalizing on team rider fame, technical information, user-generated media, photo and video assets to engage users. By offering an augmented User Experience to authenticated users, we opened a new channel for users to connect with the brand in a lasting, content-generating relationship. With thousands of users signing up for accounts in the first days of a soft launch, the agenda proved its worth. The User Experience was designed for engagement, but the model was designed for advocacy. By enabling users to commit to a relationship with the Channel Islands brand, and providing tools to share their commitment as interactive visuals, we built a platform for digital brand loyalty advocacy.