Who would have thought it – all three of our beloved boardsports are now Olympic sports. Much has been said in the debate, but let’s start off by looking at business.
The 2016 summer was always going to struggle to live up to the hype and success of 2015’s summer, with its great weather and decent waves. So when the weather simply didn’t materialise for summer 2016 until July, it was always going to make for tough trading conditions. As reliant as our way of life is on the weather, when it doesn’t cooperate, all it takes is for one or two other factors to go awry and the season presents a real mountain to climb.
This summer pitched plenty of curveballs; beginning with the hideous terror attacks in France and then Britain’s decision to exit the European Union. Both factors were completely unexpected and sent shockwaves around Europe, the reverberations of which will be felt for some time to come.
As times get tougher and tougher, a vicious circle is brewing with retailers and distributors. Retailers, who are feeling the pinch more and more are requesting extra help from distributors with payment schedules. In turn distributors are finding it increasingly hard to get innovative with ways in which to help their retailers.
Where better to look for some positivity than the inclusion of surfing and skateboarding in the 2020 Olympics. It, of course, came in for the predictable bashing from those “core” surfers and skaters who feel it will ruin the spirit of their way of life. Although when looking at the way in which the competitive aspect of surf and skate are practiced by the world’s greatest, it is so far removed from the way in which the other 99% of us partake in it, that to be offended by their inclusion in the Olympics is madness.
Boardsports are personal experiences; surfing and skateboarding becoming Olympic sports isn’t going to take that away from you. I love shredding a snowboard despite it being an Olympic sport and we shall continue to love our skate and surf sessions despite this latest chapter written in their history. The simple fact is that with skating and surfing now in the Olympics, it will act as a catalyst for growth, spelling more money for athletes, better events and eventually more surfboards, skateboards, wetsuits and skateshoes for our retailers to sell.
Harry Mitchell Thompson Editor
On the cover: Miky Picon Global Head of Sport Marketing Quiksilver, Photo by Peter Bosko