At a time when businesses are supposedly battening down hatches, two windsurfing companies are surging forward with new plans. Svein Rasmussen of Starboard – is as fanatical as you can get about windsurfing. His company is driven by product development, which is why the brand has won the PWA constructors title and leads the World market in sales volume. But he knows that targeting resources so heavily to ‘the converted’ doesn’t necessarily contribute to the grass roots level. That is why Norwegian born marketing guru Erik Berglihn has been appointed the new creative post of ‘growth manager’ for Starboard. A unique job in our industry. During the last week of March Erik flew to the UK to visit shops, schools, holiday companies and the RYA to understand how the Uk industry really ticks and how initiatives could be introduced.
Erik says ‘ Starboard has established it’s design reputation by delivering very innovative boards into the market. But we must now evolve with the sport and recognise that we may need to change our own marketing and development process to get windsurfing growing at the level it deserves. Last week I was in China and what turned out to be a standard importership meeting ended up with me meeting representatives from the Chinese government agreeing to look at manufacturing with the purpose of making windsurfing a major sport. Their windsurfing Gold medal had an incredible effect on this country. My job is to also listen and see what is happening at the consumer level – and then introduce strategies to help increase the participation of windsurfing. I think the UK has one of the strongest windsurfing markets in the World – you have fantastic shops and the RYA seem to have a very effective schooling and Olympic structure’.
The last stop on his UK tour was with Andy Biggs. Andy Biggs has just finished opening his new shop premises on Hayling Island. Andy reports; ‘ Family watersport activity is growing and we are seeing a phenomenal growth in Stand-up-paddleboards with the windsurfing option. If all the predictions about more people taking holidays in the UK are true – then we will be ready. We have all the latest windsurfing products in stock and plenty of beach activities planned for 2009’.
For more details on the new Shop please log onto: