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Interviews

Dave Watson: The Heart and Soul of Sombrio

Dave Watson is Sombrio.

We caught up with Dave Watson for a few minutes to find out ‘what’s up’ at Sombrio….

Taken from Dirt Issue 63, May 2007

Sombrio now produce some the most exciting mountain biking clothing available, constantly pushing things in terms of design, materials and technology. Cheesy I know, but these really are clothes designed by riders, for riders; and it really is hard to believe that they will soon celebrate ten years of the brand.

Hey Dave, what’s up. What’s happening at Sombrio?

Dave Watson: I’d start by saying were in a state of maturity.

Got any new stuff coming out?

Dave Watson: Always, it never stops at the HQ. As for new technologies? Lots of sustainable fabrics. Being a bike brand, it’s important for us to recognize the environment so we can see the next generation enjoy the trails as we do today, and more. So each season we push our suppliers to help us develop fabrics that will continue to out perform what’s on the market, but are woven from recycled yarns. I compare it to hybrid cars. We won’t compromise quality and style until the final product is what’s in scope for the Sombrio long term vision. It’s taken car companies decades to make fuel alternative vehicles, and still they don’t have many stylie’ ones to choose from. Were up against the same constraints in designing with sustainable fabrics every season; as there just aren’t many developed yet.  But, product wise we have more of everything in the range, and working on some very unique armour as well.

Who’s doing the designs?

Dave Watson: We hired a designer in January of 2006, but with the crazy timelines in this industry, it won’t be until 2008 before his first lines hit the market.  He’s from the UK, a solid rider, and moved over with his wife to start a family, so were pretty happy to have him join the team. Graphically, everything is still being overseen by Tim G, who’s a friend of mine from high school, and has been creating our look and brand identity since day one. There are also a handful of other very talented artists who design for us seasonally, and with the range growing so quickly we’ll continue needing help from new up and comers.

Anything new that you‘re particularly stoked about?

Dave Watson: Pretty stoked on the riders we’ve got back on board for ‘07.  Between Boyko, Gulevich, Romaniuk and Lunn were pretty happy at base camp. I’m launching a ‘Young Guns’ alliance program in the middle of the summer, and we have some new products for ‘08 that will keep us at the forefront of outerwear market.

Is it getting easier or harder as the years go by?

Dave Watson: Easier now, the last two years were some of the toughest. Between trying to balance a full time riding career and the Sombrio shop, there has been very little down time. But I’ve just gone through hiring very key people at the office, and with a new headquarters upgrade, were poised for great things. I think the next few years will be stellar. Nothing’s changed with our vision since day one, but as we grow it’s just trying to plant our seeds in more riders hands. We’re coming up on our 10 year anniversary next year, and things are rock solid.

What do you reckon the future holds?

Dave Watson: Future’s looking great, and if a had a flux capacitor and could hone in on the ‘what my future holds’, that’s a tough one. Business wise, we’re established now, and getting to a point where we can start to contribute more back to the sport, and into the genes of the athletes that represent us. Other actions sports industries are looking to carry our line, so we’re still on the fence about where we’ll start when we look to add a new athletes and ambassadors outside of bike. But, the surf industry is a likely start. Product wise, we have lots in the lab, under the microspace of development…

What are you riding at the moment?

Dave Watson: I ride my Stabb the most still when punching off fast shuttle runs. My Stinky is still my everything bike, and my Cowan or Howler for jumping. I’m always tweaking my suspension, and really happy with the Marzocchi platform from the front, and Fox for the rear. For 2008 I’ve been working with Kona on an artist collaborative with a Sombrio artist to come up with a frame graphic. The concepts I’ve seen thus far are looking pretty wild, so I’ll be stoked to be shredding one of those down the mountain in the near future.

Anything you want to get off your chest?

Dave Watson: Life gets better with age! I’m 31 this year, and just stoked to keep riding and learning, and being inspired by the world around me, my friends, and family.

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