This year I have been pleasantly surprised every time I have sailed at a new venue.
With seemingly constant whining coming from some (not all) industry players about this doom or that gloom – mainly stemming from poor performing sales of equipment – it’s refreshing to note that in each of these spots windsurfing is thriving with plenty of sailors getting wet.
What’s encouraging is the number of younger riders taking up the sport – especially teenage girls, which in my opinion is one of the hardest groups of society to firstly attract, and secondly, keep.
From my experience (which is limited, I agree) adolescent females would rather be pruning, grooming, texting, tweeting or Facebooking – certainly not having their hair and make-up ruined by hanging around on wet, cold and windswept beaches.
And God forbid actually getting in the sea!
Witnessing the next generation pushing through the ranks gives a real buzz and a sense of optimism.
Windsurfing will of course survive, whatever some critics say. I personally have never doubted it. But it’s fantastic to see the next generation leading the charge first hand.
This situation needs to be embraced and encouraged.
It’s out there
One problem with certain people involved with windsurfing is that they’ve become so disheartened with the whole sport that they’ve given up on getting ‘out there’.
It’s a tried and tested formula but one such way to get a handle on your market is organise a demo day.
Demo’s are not only a great way to get a brands kit into the hands of your target audience it’s also a way to get a snapshot of what’s going on at grass roots level and therefore understand your market better.
I appreciate that demo events can be a pain to organise and staff but they shouldn’t be neglected as I believe they do work.
Give up on this and all you’re left with are your own foreboding thoughts, paranoia and negativity born of spending too much time within the confines of your same four walls.
This is not a rant about the state of the windsurfing industry though. Take it as a positive.
Kids are the future and some windsurfers in the UK have been actively promoting our lifestyle to their offspring and it looks like it’s been rubbing off.
If you’re a keen windy, have kids, or know someone else who does, get them on board. Introduce them to an active and healthy lifestyle. Do your bit and give back something to a sport that readily gives to you.