2020 WSIA Summit Recap: Story & Photos

Over 250 industry professionals traveled to the Resort at Squaw Creek in Lake Tahoe, California, for the annual WSIA Summit on February 25-26 to collaborate and focus on topics including safety, risk management, advocacy and participation growth. The WSIA’s mission is to promote and protect the future of all towed water sports, and over the course of Summit’s two days, members, board of directors, and committee chairs alike all moved the industry a step forward and set plans into motion.

Now in its fourteenth year, the 2020 Summit has been deemed a huge success and featured some of the best productivity, collaboration, and ideation that this industry has ever seen. The various seminars, workshops, committee meetings and keynote speakers were exceptional as always and left attendees with some valuable, new ways of thinking. 

On the mountain, Squaw Valley offered some epic Spring conditions, with temperatures reaching the mid-fifties and many attendees skiing and boarding in nothing but a T-shirt. Time to connect on the mountain with friends, colleagues, and competitors is an invaluable aspect that Summit brings to the table, along with other networking opportunities like cocktail hours and organized dinners.

Morning on the mountain

Day one began with a grab-and-go breakfast, courtesy of Polk Audio, immediately followed by a morning on the mountain, where the resort’s private chairlift just steps from the lobby was a huge hit. Later off the mountain, everyone gathered for the kickoff lunch courtesy of Surf Expo, a top tier Summit sponsor. During lunch, Summit attendees were greeted by WSIA Executive Director Kevin Michael and then had the pleasure of listening to Summit Speaker Jeff Bohanan’s “A Mindset for Change” presentation.

One of the main concepts that Bohanan addressed is the difference between the finite game and the infinite game. “When you’re playing a finite-minded game, it’s like football. The rules don’t change. But in an infinite game, like the game of business, rules are going to change. Business is a journey, and to truly succeed, you must have an infinite mindset.” He went on to say, “A finite-minded leader will use a company’s performance to try to demonstrate the value of their career. An infinite-minded leader will try to use their career to enhance the long term value of the company. That’s one of the ways you can tell them apart.”

Jeff Bohanan’s “A Mindset for Change” presentation

From Bohanan, Summit attendees will remember, “Infinite-minded leaders actually like change because change creates opportunities, and if you’re the kind of person who engages change in real time, that gives you the opportunity to move your company forward.” After an incredible lunch and speech, the Tuesday afternoon schedule was filled with impactful and dynamic committees and workshops.

The day wrapped up with a cocktail reception and a group dinner, courtesy of Bonnier and ZF Marine, respectively. After dinner, Summit attendees remained seated for the Keynote Speaker. This year, the WSIA hosted Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, bestselling author of Blue Mind

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, bestselling author of Blue Mind

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols has dedicated a portion of his life to researching and explaining the science behind the physical, mental and emotional effects that water has on humans. His research shows that “being near, in, on, or under the water can make you happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do.”

“J.” as Dr. Nichols goes by, reminded Summit attendees that water sports industry professionals have the ability to share the love of water more than most people. “We all have a water story. Use that to connect with people. You have the power to bring people to the water. It’s up to us to reconnect people to that. You’ve saved lives that you don’t even know that you’ve saved, and you’ve improved lives in ways that you have no idea. Boats are medicine. Own it, say it, preach it, share it.”

On Wednesday morning, many Summit attendees hit the slopes again for a morning of riding before another full day of meetings, including the Waterway Protection seminar led by WSIA’s Larry Meddock and Chris Bischoff, the “How to Save a Life” workshop, and the heavily-attended “Growing Participation” panel discussion sponsored by Roswell Marine.

The 2020 WSIA Summit wrapped up on Wednesday night with a cocktail reception courtesy of Rockford Fosgate, dinner for all attendees, and the 2020 WSIA Leadership and Innovative Product Awards, a ceremony that recognizes industry leaders and top performers for the year. A first for this year was the inclusion of the Wakeboarding Hall of Fame 2019 Class Induction, where attendees saw legend Thomas Horrell take his place among the greats of our industry. And the highlight of the night was when the WSIA presented a Career Achievement Award to Tom Weber, a man who has been in the industry for decades, moved the sports of waterskiing and wakeboarding to new heights, and helped countless people in the industry achieve greatness.

Tom Weber receives the Career Achievement Award

Closing out the night, Dano the Mano presented awards to all Leadership Award winners, who are all praiseworthy and deserve a round of applause for their dedication and service to the industry.

2020 Leadership Awards Recap >>

For all 2020 Summit photos, click here >>
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Thank you to all of our sponsors who make WSIA Summit happen:

Words: Emily Dale | Photos: Bill Doster