Boating Industry

October 2014

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October 2014 | Boating Industry | 47 /// Market Trends /// "If you aspire to be an accomplished water skier, you cannot be dealing with other boat wakes on a body of water. You have to have calm water. And that will never change," said Meddock, a retired tournament skier himself. "It's been my experience that people, as a rule, follow the path of least resistance and follow what's socially cool to do. And the board sports dominate that, there's no changing that." Tubing still dominates Though few wakesport superstars are keen to admit it, tubing is still the No. 1 watersport by participation. The ease, the fun and the low cost keep the tried-and-true activity going strong. New offerings in the segment are also keeping interest high. "Tubing is still the big daddy of them all," said Meddock. "People don't want to talk about it — everybody will brag about wakeboarding is X percent and waterskiing is X percent, but tubing has them all beat." Despite all the success and hype sur- rounding wakeboarding and wakesurfing, tubes are still about 40 percent of the mar- ket for towed watersports – with wake sports coming in a distant second. "Tubing by far is the No. 1 in participation in behind-the- boat watersports followed by wakeboarding," said Kramer at Kwik Tek. The stats surely go against all the current marketing of towable watersports as action sports, but you just can't beat the fun and ease of whipping a tuber around behind the boat. "If you're an athlete, it's kind of hard to swallow that at the end of the day, the guy being drug be- hind the boat on a tube is the dominant market segment of towed watersports, but it's true," said Meddock, emphasizing that there's no learning curve, it's social and anyone can do it. "Just hook up a tube and away you go. But it's social, nobody has to have any talent, if someone is overweight it's a lot easier to get in a tube, still get wet and still have fun." Even boaters in their new wake boats keep a tube on hand. "From Tigé's perspective, how we approach it is we just sell to active families," said Gutierrez. "I could say wakesurfing is the most critical to us, but I was just out on the lake a couple weeks ago on a lake in which I saw people with a brand new Tige and they tubed all day long."

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