"Online broadcast in windsurfing is a success"

November 30, 2011 | Windsurfing
Pro windsurfing: bigger and better

Pro windsurfing has never been better. Richard Page, the Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA) World Tour Manager, believes there are more new stage candidates than time available to run season competitions.

In an exclusive interview to SurferToday.com, Page talks about windsurfing spectators, online broadcast, the rebirth of slalom races, judging, and Olympic sailing. The conversation with the PWA World Tour Manager will be published in two parts. This is the first one:

How's pro windsurfing?

Richard Page: Pro windsurfing, from the position of the PWA as the governing body at least, is on the up. We had our biggest tour for years in 2011, with four new tour stops, exceptional conditions, and great results. We have seen massively reinvigorated interest from the media and new event destinations and event sponsors.

In fact, one of our biggest challenges currently is finding time to schedule all the event possibilities that we have applications for, but that is not such a bad problem to have!

Has PWA fine-tuned the best competition format?

RP: We are constantly assessing the way our events are run and work hard to ensure we create the right balance of promotional value, purity of competition, and overall event success.

Each venue and each competition has its own unique character, and contests must be tweaked to suit the needs of sponsors and media, taking into account the specific peculiarities of each venues geography and spectators, while ensuring that the riders can be confident that the competition is fair and that the best sailor wins.

Has online broadcast been a success?

RP: Undoubtedly. Windsurfers generally are tech-minded and serious internet users. The live streams from events in 2011 gave unique opportunities for windsurfers all over the planet to take part in the atmosphere and tension at pro windsurfing contests and allowed riders, events, and sponsors to engage the audience in a way never before seen.

There is still much work to be done and always room for improvement, but the initial broadcasts have been incredibly well received and have created a fervor surrounding PWA events in the online windsurfing community that simply didn't exist without it.

Going into 2012, we hope to be bringing a far more interactive experience, including live scoring and live profile comparisons currently being developed, that will allow viewers at home to immerse themselves in the event as though they were taking part themselves.

Read the second part of the interview with Richard Page.