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Old 31st December 2009, 12:29 AM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2009
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Default For Tiesda: Growing strategy for windsurfing market

This email is addressed to Tiesda You and I hope it will reach him via this forum. It is not the typical technical request about boards and materials so I hope he will not mind and, above all, he will not get bored reading it!

I am Luca, 36 years old, amateur windsurfer since 1985 and working in a multinational in business development and strategy. I have read an article on “Windsurf Italia” where the rider Fabio Calo` was presenting an analysis made by Tiesda about a possible growing strategy for the windsurfing market. Both he windsurfer and the business man inside me have read it with great interest.
The article was showing examples from other markets like the circus and the wine and making some comparison with the windsurf.
Main conclusions was that the strategy to grow the windsurfing market could be to achieve “Social, convenient and easy windsurfing for everyone” . This vision could be achieved by increasing “Family and friends”, reducing “Complications and problems” and eliminating “inactive riders”.
A great article and analysis: if I may I would like to ask few questions and add my opinion to it.

The first question I have is about the integration of the windsurfing products. It looks to me that windsurfing companies producing boards, sails, fins and so on are mainly vertically integrated: they specialize in their own type of product (again the board, the rig, the fin, the wetsuit and so on) and they do not look much at the integration with the other “hardware” required to practice our sport. I know that for example Starboard is cooperating with Severne, JP with NP and so on but I do not see any real strategy to try and integrate the products in a more “horizontal” way with the goal of increasing synergies, reducing costs (manufacturing, transport and so on) and maybe offering a better product to the clients. Is my impression correct? I have seen RRD is now producing both boards and rigs: can this create a competitive advantage and allow a better management of the costs and of the products in the market?

The second question/observation is about how to achieve Tiesda`s vision of “Social, convenient and easy windsurfing for everyone”.
The producers as I said above are very specialized in producing “windsurfing hardware” but in my opinion they are very little focused on the client and on his own “experience”. What I mean is that a windsurfer is not looking for a board or a sail: he is looking for an “experience” of fun and relax during his free time.
My question is: could the producers convert themselves from suppliers of just hardware to “suppliers of experience”? Could they create a much stronger cooperation with surf centers, riders (they cannot be just an unproductive cost!), shops, distributors and so on to make the windsurf more accessible to the man (or the woman, or the kid) on the beach? Could they maybe reach millions of new potential windsurfers by starting new partnerships with hotels, airlines and so on?
Out there are millions of people who may know what a windsurf is but they never tried one: how could we make it more accessible and to them and bring them to “the experience”? Can we bring all these people to the windsurf rather than wait for them to try it or for someone else to introduce them to our world?
In this respect I have seen you have organized the “windsurfing day” last August which is a great initiative but I was thinking of a more structured business initiative. I have few ideas how to achieve this, also using some examples from my own work and from other markets.

I look forward to receive Tiesda`s answers to my questions and to hear his opinion.
Thanks and
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