A Fluid Transition for FCWatersports
Back in the 70’s the old school surf shops in California would close their doors when the surf was good…..creating the classic term, “gone surfing”. Poole-based retailer, FCWatersports is revolutionising how the watersports industry reaches its customers by breaking down all the barriers to enjoy the sport and getting back to the traditional family values the industry was born from.
Established in 1984, the family run business is one of the longest running watersports outlets in the UK, is renowned for raising the profile of the sports UK-wide and constantly introducing a new and wider audience to the thrill of being out on the water. Its creation of the 11-year strong Poole Windfest event is an example.
In 2009 a dramatic transition in the business is set to revolutionize how the industry retails to its customers. The prestigious Sandbanks base remains within the same family ownership that has traded profitably and continues to do so despite the economic downturn (Sandbanks is its own micro climate!). Continuing to provide the same level of high quality clothing from top brands such as White Stuff, Quiksilver, Animal, Rip Curl, Billabong, Reef, and more, the store is renamed to Fluid Clothing and Wetsuits and dominates the ground floor.
The hardware provision for windsurfing, kitesurfing, and stand-up paddleboarding literally hits the road. The team will be based from the Watersports Academy at the Sandbanks Hotel but aim to be out and about whenever the wind blows.
Gary Willingham, proprietor, says “It’s all about keeping the ‘core’ and adapting it to a lifestyle which is right for ‘now’. After 25 years in the industry we know the product inside out and understand those who use it. We wanted to strip out all the barriers for our customers - no formal shop counter desks, till points, opening time restrictions. We will go where the wind is, playing in the water with our kit alongside our customers. FCWatersports has over 20 JP boards and over 30 Neilpryde rigs in our demo fleet and we’re proud of them. We feel it is important to be on the beach when it is windy, talk to people, let them try the kit, find out what they think of it, and sell them stuff - if and when they want to. It’s all quite relaxed and we’re really excited about it. The feedback we’re getting is fantastic.”
To compliment this new way of working, the website has also evolved to provide a friendlier online sales environment with interactive social networking opportunities as a key aspect of the new way of working. FCWatersports’ aim is to develop a community ‘hub’, a positive online watersports community which shares experiences and informs others where they’re going to enjoy the wind and waves. A Sandbanks web cam will also enable live awareness of conditions within Poole Harbour and in the bay.
Gary concludes: “we invite everyone to remember why they got into the sports in the first place. Help us to strip back the barriers and reignite the social element of it. We’re working with what technology has blessed us with so let us know where you are going sailing and create a fun interactive community.”
Find the FCWatersports team at:
Post – 4 Banks Rd, Sandbanks, Poole. BH13 7QB
Office 01202 707757
Beach 07545 882606
When it’s windy…..
Any beach where the wind is blowing; mainly in Dorset and Hampshire, even Cornwall. Communicate through Skype, Facebook and Twitter.
Tel: 07545 882606
The hang out…..
The Watersports Academy, 19 Banks Rd, Sandbanks, Poole. BH13 7LP
4 Banks Rd, Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset. BH13 7QB