Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Gorge Windfest: blueprint for success

Windfest had all the ingredients that make it a worthy model for anyone planning any future windsurfing event.

The event was put together by an established and well known orginization: Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association. Their recently reskinned website's Events and News sections provided help for visitors searching for information. Gorge Windsurfing, the CGWA Facebook page, added another way to stay connected and informed about the event. Being able to link to event information helps big time in spreading the news. What's more, these 2 entities would guarantee space for the all important post event reports. 

Location, location, location. The often quoted real estate axiom certainly applies to events for 2 reasons. The Gorge is arguably the number one summertime destination for windsurfing in the continental U.S. Good industry support for bringing a large collection of current 2010 gear to view and demo is somewhat easier because there is so much  windustry in Hood River.  Windsurfers love wind and gear.

Industry support also means swag. The Windfest raised money for the CGWA by auctioning off a Vela Brazil trip and a chance to build your own Nolimitz mast. The unplanned interesting stuff can be shared if someone has a video camera to capture the good vibes and memories.
It's nice for us and everyone else to know there's more than our insane passion for wind and water. The highly successful ad campaign by Nissan branded their trucks with our love of dogs: Dogs love trucks. The Adopt a Dog Parade certainly proved we weren't just a bunch of sports only kooks.

Competitions are almost always an intregal part of any large windsurfing gathering. Amplifying the activity level of Windfest was the long distance race, The Gorge Blowout. Windsport did a nice old school phone interview with winner, Bruce Peterson. Windsurfing's unsung reporting heroes, the blogging community, were made proud by this Blowout report from Andreas Macke. Windsurfing events are defined by and it seems require video reports. I'm sure this video will travel far and be used in next year's promotion:

It seems, another requirement is the event poster (top of page) which puts all the information in a pleasing artsy presentation. Last but not least, an ample flow of photos keeps the audience involved and wishing they were there. Of course somewhere to publish those photos really drives home what the CGWA did to make Windfest a success. Doesn't hurt to have key event personnel available for media reporting either.

Timing is everything. The week prior to the Windfest, on the nearby Oregon coast, was the biggest wave contest in the U.S. in many years. Coupled with the Pistol River Wave Bash  was a new type of event, the Jump Off. Both produced considerable interest and excitement. The week after Windfest saw the Team Edition of the Jump Off start in the Gorge. Exciting events, before and after, certainly helped Windfest across the board. This Zane Schweitzer report shows how a visiting pro can add to an event.

Don't forget the power of food, drink and music. Everyone needs 'em. An event this size certainly required a heapin' dose of behind the scenes, tireless volunteers: the all too underestimated get 'er done part of the event equation. Even Homer Simpson would see that a lot goes into making a good windsurfing event. Windfest certainly proved itself worthy as a guide for others to follow.

1 comment:

  1. Kudos to CGWA Executive Director Katie Crafts and her team for doing all of the work to make the 2010 Windfest a success. Music by Tony Smiley after the silent and live auctions was outstanding. Thanks to the windsurf gear vendors and Taco Del Mar for the eats!