By Zane Schwenk
Heading into July 26 of this year, I knew we were going to see some great participation for #PassTheHandle, based on all the support we had in promoting the day. Bonnier Corp. created some awesome imagery (seen above) for social media which really helped drive awareness. As everything played out, I could not have been more pleased with the results of our efforts on year number two.
The response from pro athletes, coaches, cable parks, manufacturers and industry groups was simply overwhelming. We saw more countries than ever before and we saw more of the mainstream participants sharing their love for standing on the water.
Discover Boating provided the largest boost in social awareness and we were fortunate to spread our message through the recreational boating world. VP of sales and marketing Ellen Hopkins said, “Overall, Discover Boating was able to directly reach nearly 775,000 people in our efforts to promote #PassTheHandle through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #PassTheHandle is a great way to promote boating and engage people in our industry to help us get more people on the water. We are looking forward to supporting this next year, as well as continuing to inspire people year round.”
Uplifting comments on social media made this a major success in my eyes, and hopefully we can continue to grow #PassTheHandle Day every year. Personally, I was able to work with the Cypress Gardens Ski Team in my hometown in Winter Haven, Florida. With less than four hours (due to weather) we taught 35 new participants, one of which I towed myself, by running along the water’s edge with a 2 ½-year-old.
#PasstheHandle provided so many with the vision to give back and introduce the sport to more people. Since I began my career, this mantra of “get more people on the water” has always been a principle of mine, so to see it spread worldwide truly provides a sense of fulfillment.
The success of #PassTheHandle would not be possible without the help of WSIA (Larry Meddock, Kevin Michael & James Krawczyk), NMMA (Ellen Hopkins), INT League (Jac Stocks), Bonnier Corp. (Rhonda Mock, Shawn Perry, Ben Greenwood, Todd Ristorcelli) USA Water Ski (Britt Hoyland) and the entire industry.
When Shaun Murray and I first brainstormed what we could do to help people share towed water sports, we envisioned something fun and fruitful. But, none of this would have been possible without the support of the industry. Special thanks to Jac Stocks from the INT League who helped during her final days of pregnancy to ensure a great #PassTheHandle!