Recipe for loss of market growth

Published on April 23rd, 2020

Within the State of the Sport 2020 doctrine, one of three premises is how our sport, when left unattended, is capable of evolving toward extinction. Eric Skemp shares an example:

Sailing is entering the valley of windsurfing. Back in 2005, as I prepared for retirement from my job at HiFly Windsurfing, I watched the advent of kiting. Kiting is really just a new way to go windsurfing but strangely is easier to learn and requires less effort.

Windsurfing evolved from being a light wind, long board effort to rather quickly focusing on more speed and much more wind, and in hindsight, was the beginning of the end of this most delightful way to spend time on the water.

However, kiting has put another barrier in their sport by introducing foiling so one goes from being accomplished to being a beginner again. That is not something most people like.

Sailing should learn from this. I lucked out after leading Mistral to US sales records and shepherding HiFly by focusing on schools and beginners, I saw it happen right in front of me, the demise of the possibilities of widespread windsurfing.

We made it difficult to start with, and then made it even harder and more expensive to enjoy, which is a recipe for loss of market growth.

Sailing is one of our most enjoyable and earth-friendly sports. I hope those in the industry today pay attention to Craig Leweck’s warnings in the future. Don’t make it harder, don’t make it more expensive, and don’t make it more athletic.

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