For any kayaker, the ZigZag company is a reference. In his Albigensian store, he welcomes individuals who want to get into this sport and of course the clubs. But even more interesting, in a workshop out of sight, unique kayaks are made for the athletes participating in the World Championships and the Olympic Games.
When you enter the ZigZag Tarn composites store, you discover the world of kayaking in a few seconds, whether for beginners or the most experienced.
This is the passion of the boss Pierre-Alain Clerc. “We’ve been on the market for a while. It all started in 1999 in a small workshop with my partner, who has now left for personal reasons,” he smiles. 23 years to find a place in this competitive world. But if the store is above all a place of sale, ZigZag has specialized in the creation of High Tech Kayaks for very high level athletes. Craftsmanship, with unique pieces that are built in collaboration with each of the competitors. The talent of Pierre-Alain Clerc hit the mark very quickly. « As early as 2004, one of our kayaks won the Olympic title with Benoît Peschier », he recalls modestly. A sacred reward for the young Albigensian box.
« It’s a small world where word of mouth works. Very quickly, we became known on the world market. » Orders for athletes are gaining momentum. « We continued to win several championships, even if it is not always easy to find the right competitor for the right race. It’s a matter of feeling. » Pierre-Alain plays on his know-how and the quality of his work. « For more classic products, it is difficult to resist. With inflation, people are reluctant to buy. Last season was excellent with, for example, the rise of extreme slalom with a line start of four competitors Today, it’s a little more complicated. Anyway, one day or another I will have to increase my prices to cope with the increase in the price of raw materials. And there, it will be hard to compete. » He admits that his main competitors are Czechs and Slovaks. « They don’t do the same work as me. When you have 25 employees who work almost on a production line, you can’t have the same result. It’s impossible. They play on quantity, I on quality. » In his workshop, he prepares the composite, a mixture of an alchemy of fabrics and carbon which harden at 65°. A meticulous work to allow the creation of a mold and shape the Kayak. « The objective is twofold. You have to be light, including fast with a maximum weight of 9 kg and very resistant. Find the right alchemy that allows you to win titles. » Today, Pierre-Alain works with Jules Bernardet, vice-world champion under 23 years old.
« He’s been training with my prototype for a month. He’s very happy with it. So I’m going to build him his new kayak which I hope will send him to the Paris Olympics. It would be a good thing for him. the future. I am like many business leaders in France. To resist, you have to do top-of-the-range. And the niche is not negligible. There are 2,500 competitors in the world. » Creation, the search for perfection, is Pierre-Alain’s leitmotif. For years he has been at the top in a high demanding level. And the adventure is far from over.