A surfboard cover that protects the surfboard and the sea
Picture of a surfer in the ocean
Sustainability as core value

Escudo is a sustainable, high quality fabric surfboard cover brand. Made from 100% recycled SEAQUALTM polymer, certified and traceable as ‘upcycled marine plastic’, Escudo products offer surfboard protection while helping to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans.

The covers are an innovative, high end niche product tailored to the trends and needs within the surfing community helping prevent damage from sun or transport.

Escudo combines sustainable values with smart branding to engage the next generation of buyers and answer market demands. Sustainability is placed at the core of Escudoss brand identity to make an important contribution to the protection of the planet.

Roles / Skills
  • Development of Product Prototype
  • Branding & Go-To-Market Strategy
  • Market Research
  • ISCTE Master Thesis Project - 2019
Project scope

The objective of the project is the elaboration of a viable business plan for the surfboard cover brand Escudo. This business plan studies the viability of the creation of a company competing in the surf accessories industry in Portugal, producing sustainable, high-quality surfboard covers made out of ocean waste.

In order to develop the business plan, the methodology of strategic business planning is used with the sub steps containing:

1. Conducting strategic business review

2. Business visioning

3. Business strategy development

4. Implementation formulation

1. Problem definition & research questions

The idea for Escudo is based on my passion for surfing and love for the environment. After purchasing my first surfboard I encountered a problem: Surfboards are quite expensive and need protection from environmental influences they need a protective cover. I was unable to find a fitting cover - either the right size for my surfboard was not available, the desigs where questionable and not made out of good materials and very expensive. At the same time 12 Million Tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans - every single day.

So why not create a functional product that helps protect both?

1. How to create a surfboard cover that both protects the surfboard and the sea?

2. Is there a product gap in the surfboard cover market? And if yes, is the market potential big enough to establish a new product in the market?

3. What should the ideal product look like? Which materials should be used?

2. Market analysis

A thorough market analysis of the surf industry was conducted, to gain deeper market understanding, analyse the market potential and identify market trends. It revealed favourable insights to further pursue the business idea.

Research findings
3. Analysis of target market and consumer profile

Escudos target group is very interested in the surf lifestyle as well as in topics such as social responsibility. The main target group are surfers in an age range from 24 till their mid 30’s. The target group shows a tendency of being more educated and having higher income levels than the general public (50.000$ – 99.999$). They incorporate the surf lifestyle in their daily routines, for example by wearing surf inspired brands. They also strongly pronounce environmentally friendly preferences and inform themselves about product origins and their brand promises before conducting a purchase.

Infografic showcasing typical surfer, source:
4. Competitive analysis

The product portfolio of 30 surfboard brands is analyzed with regard to the presence of surfboard covers within their product range. The comparison focus is primarily on the materials used, the quality and especially the price structure. The competitor analysis shows that this specific market is little exploited and has so far been penetrated by only a few providers. Only four providers have increasingly embarked on the offer of surfboard covers, making room for a new and innovative product.

Map of 30 surfbrands
5. Prototype development & material selection

Based on the previous findings a first prototype was designed and produced. The aim was to put the physical product in front of a user-group to observe how they interact with the product, as well as to find out what aspects of the design need to be improved.

As material choice I decided to use 100% recycled SEAQUALTM polymer. The choice lays grounded in the fact that SEAQUAL is an initiative collaborating with fishermen, NGO’S, local communities and authorities cleaning the oceans of marine litter and upcycling the litter to sustainable and durable fabrics.

Seaqual production process
6. Primary research

In order to gain a better understanding of the surf market and especially the consumer behavior, primary research in the form of industry expert interviews as well as a survey alongside a group of 79 surfers was conducted. The respondents are asked questions about their perception of existing products and brands on the market and asked to evaluate a product sample of Escudo. The isights gained led to some product adjustments and gave inspiration for the final product branding.

7. Branding

The Escudo logo can be divided into 3 main elements – Surfboard, wave and shield. The elements have been carefully chosen based on their meanings in terms of Escudos brand values.

At first glance a surfboard is visible, which represents the nature of the product. At the same time, however, this symbol transforms also into a leaf, symbolizing the ecological benefit of the product and reflects its connection to nature. The waves represent a force of nature, which the Surfboard has to defy, and the motifs are framed in a circle, an 'Escudo', which represents the reference to the brand name and at the same time represents a protective shield.

The colors are in natural tones, such as blue and green, to indicate the ecological connection and the closeness to nature.

escudo logo
8. Final product development

Some changes were made to the final product, making it more appealing to the target group:

- The inside of the surfboard cover is now lined with a heat-resistant material, preventing the surfboard wax from heating up inside and, coming into contact with the fabric, so that no sticking is possible.

- An additional bag on the outside of the cover was added, enabling users to store small things, such as surfboard wax, sunglasses, or a wallet.

- The integrated shoulder strap was broadened, making it possible to transport the board more comfortably.

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