FM – Windsurfing is very good at retaining its customers, some having done the sport for 30+ years, why do you think that is.
CG – Very good point, how many other sports can keep their users locked into such a physically and mentally challenging activity for so many years! Why do they keep on doing it, fairly simple – if it was easy, everyone could do it. Being a windsurfer means you are choosing to do something different to the mainstream. Yes it´s frustrating, yes it´s expensive, yes there are 20 other sports which are easier, less reliant on conditions, easier to travel with etc. etc. But when you first pop up onto the plane, or cruise across a stretch of water, that sense of freedom is unlike any bike ride, boat trip or gym workout you´ll ever do. Whilst I kite occasionally and really appreciate the low workout factor, size of the gear etc., I am usually bored within 20 minutes and cannot wait to get back to the physical challenge that windsurfing presents.
It´s natural that people move onto other sports, especially as they get older or perhaps find other sports “cooler”. What irritates me is when some of these people who were either bored with windsurfing / never had the level / follow every new trend (take your pick), continuously have to harp on about how great kiting is vs. windsurfing. It´s fine to change sports, enjoy it, just stop telling people about all the so-called reasons why you switched and be honest with yourself – the main reason is often – windsurfing is harder physically, takes more time, but does not necessarily cost more. It´s far safer and will keep you fitter by far. And like anything in life, if you want to have something special, you need to work for it. The reward is worth it in my opinion.
FM – Finally, 5 years from now, where do you see Fanatic – what goals are you working to as a company and where do you see windsurfing in 5 years time.
CG – Currently we are the number 1 windsurfing brand globally (at least this is what our supplier tells us), so I hope we can continue to hold that position and together with our competitors try and grow the market step by step. Hopefully we can all keep innovating and keep the sport interesting, with a good focus obviously on more sustainable products for our future generations. There is a good growth segment at the moment of young windsurfing kids everywhere, plenty of people also coming back to the sport after trying kiting / having family or career time restraints. So I see windsurfing remaining as a “niche” sport due to the costs / time / conditions needed factor, however there are still plenty of people attracted to learn the sport as we see from overbooked schools and centres everywhere. We just need to make sure they keep on trying until they get to the level where it really starts being fun!
“ There are still plenty of people attracted to learn the sport. ”