> Our local club, Triangle Boardsailing Club from the Raleigh/Durham, NC
> area is planning a Learn to Windsurf Day. We are looking for any
> suggestions from other folks who have hosted such an event. Specifically,
> we are interested in any suggestions on the following topics, plus
> any other experiences you would like to share:
> 1) How did you advertise? How much of a turnout did you get?
Mostly word of mouth via flyers distributed by club members. We
have gotten blurbs in the weekend guide of the local paper. The
turnout varies from as little as 5 to as many as 70. Just depends,
mostly on the weather.
This year, one of the club members has volunteered to get the events
listed in a free, local Sports rag. We'll see (she's not been very
reliable in the past).
We do the events on Sunday afternoons, and space them about a
month apart. We did June, July and August last year. I think we
start in May this year.
> 2) Was the amount of equipment adequate? Did you use tethered boards
> or some sort of "chaser" to go after wayward beginners?
Usually. The local shop provides their lesson boards for us to
use (the club commodore runs the shop). The rest of the gear comes
from club members. If you have one board for every 6 students,
we've found that's a pretty good ratio. And think small sails.
We use nothing over 4.5, and prefer 4.0 RAF and smaller.
We use a combination of tethering and chase kayaks.
> 3) Did you require participants to sign a waiver?
Most definitely. Standard boilerplate our resident
lawyer/treasurer put together.
> 4) Did you get insurance for the event?
The club now has a policy that covers these kinds of events.
We used to be covered under policies that the shop owner/
commodore took out for each event.
> 5) What topics were covered? How long did the event last?
Just the very basics. We advertise these as "Intro's."
So figure uphauling, using the sail to tack, and sailing
They last 3-4 hours.
> 6) How many instructors did you have on hand?
One instructor for every 5-6 students during on-the-water.
We used a certified instructor for the on-land instruction
during the first 30-45 minutes of the event.
> 7) Did you have literature available for participants who wanted more
We usually try to have club newsletters for them to take.
The shop usually has flyers about their private lessons.
If there is a place to rent locally, have that person print
up some flyers to hand out (in exchange for ?). Unfortunately,
there are no local rentals here in Dallas.
> 8) Were you successful in getting media coverage for the event?
Not yet. But that's not a big priority.
[ramble mode on]
Here in Dallas, the North Texas Wind Riders have done 3 Learn-to-
Windsurf days a year in the past. We're going for 4 this year.
We used to do the days for free, but started charging last
year. I think the turnout improved once people started
paying for it. The business types in the club kept saying
that most people figure an event that costs money must be
worth a lot more than a free event. We didn't change anything,
but figured the money would help pay for the hotdogs and sodas
we gave away. We never planned for the events to be income
Something we tried last year was donating the proceeds from
one event ($5/student) to some charitable organization. In
exchange, the charity was supposed to handle the advertising
beforehand, the paperwork during and arrange for media coverage.
We picked the Leukemia Society. Unfortunately, they dropped
the ball in a big way. They didn't advertise, their helpers
showed up an hour late then sat on their asses, and the promised
radio station deal never happened. We gave them the money anyway
(why, I don't know). Never again will we work with them.
Despite that though, we're going to donate the proceeds from
all 4 Learn-to-Windsurf days this year to one charity (which
we're going to be a lot more selective in choosing). Looks
like it will probably be the SPCA if they're game. We're going
to try to get the kind of commitment out of them that the
Leukemia Society failed to deliver.
The club commodore has also "persuaded" Coca Cola to sponsor our
events this year (LTWS days and regattas) by donating free
sodas. Coke is bringing one of those soda fountain trailers
to each event. Cool! (Thanks, Coke!!!)
Now... Do the people who come to these events ever get into
the sport? It's hard to say. If the weather is cooperative,
we see some of them at club meetings and swap meets afterwards.
Some kind of follow-up is important. The shop offered cheap
rentals the weekend after each LTWS last year. I don't know
what the success of that was as far as turnout.
Which brings up the fact that if you can schedule the LTWS days
just before swap meets, it's good for the sport. And encourage
people who have gear collecting dust in a garage to bring it.
I spent several hours last year teaching people how to rig
equipment that they already owned.
Yes, I think the Learn-to-Windsurf days are good for the
sport. If nothing else, it gets the club members together
for some serious beer drinking afterwards. ;-)
That's enough rambling.
(gratuitous regatta plug follows)
Texas State Championships
April 4-5, Lake Joe Pool, Dallas
Brian "The Dog" Cunningham
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Don't blame Alcatel, they didn't know.
Dog House: web2.airmail.net/bcunning