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Old    Jeffrey Blanchard (eternalshadow)      Join Date: Nov 2001       12-02-2011, 10:44 AM Reply   
and why do they sell so many boats!?!?

Oh hi! Wait! I'm from Alberta!

It's quite the interesting demographic up here, according to our lovely friends over at the provincial government and Wikipedia....

Population of approximately 3.5 million
Area of approximately 255,500 sq mi
I couldn't find the number of lakes available but there's quite a few.
You can find us on a map of North America by finding Montana and heading north into Canada!

The boating season ranges from approximately the beginning of May to the end of September with those of the more adventurous crowd on a good year venturing from mid April into the end of October (although some years the lakes don't open until mid may and can be frozen as early as mid October). Summer temperatures do get into the low 90's and are complimented with sunlight from approximately 05:00 to 22:30 hours near the solstice.

The largest driving factor to boat sales would have to be the thriving oil and gas sector. Some people (myself not included) have far too much money to burn and do so.

At least two dealers; Hyperactive Watersports in Calgary (Tige) and Wizard Lake Marine in Calmar which is just southwest of Edmonton (Malibu/Axis) are continuously winning sales awards.

That said... as one member on the team of event organizers we continue to see a decline in contest and event participation. Part of the reason is that with the short season many people simply don't want to give up a single day of summer to come out to something where they may only ride once or twice. There's also a misconception surrounding contests, people thinking "I'm not good enough" even though the Provincial tour is designed for riders of all levels, abilities, and ages. It can be a bit hard on the organizing team and supporting sponsors when we hold an event just out side of Calgary and only see 20 competitors even with a few hundred spectators. Contest dynamics however do seem to echo through to the National level where we again saw reduced participation in Kamloops, British Columbia, another thriving area of wakeboarding activity.

Some people complain that they cannot find the information, in many cases I would say "you're not looking hard enough for it" we are a small group of volunteers trying to promote a sport wherein we see continuous high boat sales. With an area of 250,000 sq miles the ten to twenty of us simply cannot get the information out to everyone that wants it gift wrapped and packaged for their doorstep.

That being said I keep hearing that wakesurf sales are way up and even killing wakeboards in some areas.

We've tried to do "Spring Ride" type events in the past and had dismal attendance. The challenge with 3.5 million people over 250,000 sq miles is that many people store their boats at their own cabin/lake. Many people are hesitant to do anything other than go to their cabin or the few overcrowded lakes that are about 30 minutes away. It seems we all struggle with the "me" mentality when we're trying to promote an "us" community.

So there's a little bit of info on Alberta and some of the inherent challenges the wakeboarding community up here faces.

Last edited by eternalshadow; 12-02-2011 at 10:45 AM. Reason: More info
Old    Jeffrey Blanchard (eternalshadow)      Join Date: Nov 2001       12-02-2011, 10:56 AM Reply   
I should also mention that Alberta is home to Roswell Wake-Air.
Old    Jason (jason95gt)      Join Date: May 2006       12-02-2011, 11:27 AM Reply   
You also have the number one MasterCraft dealer in the nation, which is also a John Deere dealer. Last number I heard was about 200 boats a year they sell. That is absolutely crazy.
Old    Nick911            12-02-2011, 11:39 AM Reply   
Most Albertans (myself included) spend most of their summers in BC. I myself usually spend 7-8 weeks on Shuswap Lake. Most of our neighbors or people we talk to are from Alberta as well.
Old    Jeffrey Blanchard (eternalshadow)      Join Date: Nov 2001       12-02-2011, 11:45 AM Reply   
Snap, I realized that Martin Motor Sports was another big player but not quite that big! So there you have it, add one more to the list.
Old    Jeffrey Blanchard (eternalshadow)      Join Date: Nov 2001       12-02-2011, 4:03 PM Reply   
Hey Nick,

I don't think I'd go anywhere near venturing that "most" Albertans travel to B.C. I do know that there's a strong contingent out that way but after being to many lakes around the province I know for a fact that many Albertans frequent any number of lakes throughout the province. A weekend out at Jackfish, Wizard, Pine, Sylvan, Moose, Isle, to name only a few, show that some of our lakes are packed with people and wake boats.
Old    Nick911            12-02-2011, 5:10 PM Reply   
Hmmm I'm not so sure...
Old    Jason Delmage (delmage171)      Join Date: Mar 2008       12-02-2011, 8:54 PM Reply   
Is it actually the number one MC dealer? I figured Buckeye was #1 in Bobcaygeon, ON but I could be wrong
Old    Ben Wilcox (benjaminp)      Join Date: Nov 2008       12-02-2011, 9:03 PM Reply   
In regards to people not finding the information... I realize you're a volunteer, but isnt it your job to make sure that the information about the event you organize is readily available? Might be frustrating to hear that from a lot of people, but I'd be willing to bet they're just as frustrated because they have a hard time finding the info for an event they're willing to attend and spend money at. It goes both ways.
Old    Nick911            12-02-2011, 9:52 PM Reply   
I heard Martin was biggest MC Dealer in world. But they do have 4 locations as well (Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Kelowna).

Correct me if I'm wrong.
Old    L W (501s)      Join Date: Feb 2010       12-02-2011, 10:51 PM Reply   
I have to say I think Jeff is bang on when it comes to the scene in Alberta. Ther are a good bunch that go out to BC during the summer but its definiley not something "everyone" does because of the costs and also those who do don't usually get to go for 8 weeks at a time, I mean most of us HAVE JOBS.

Jeff has spent a lot of time trying to promote the events and the whole wake scene here for years and he does it all for nothing then love of the sport. for that i commend him. When we first went to provincials a couple years ago and were the total noobs, Jeff was awsome and welcomed us like we'd beeen attending events for years. Getting event info out on almost no budget can be tough. Facebook, forums, etc are all good methods but don't reach a lot fo the people. Getting posters and info at local shops is good too but then we don't have a lot of local shops (in the past one of our local shops even refused to put posters up for provincials because they weren't sponsoring the event).

I have to say that attending the events this year and last were high lights of our summer and we can't wait for the tour next summer.

Oh and on wake surfing. I would say on our lake the wake surfers outnumber the wakeboarders like 3 to 1. Its common to go out on an evening to find the sun setting and beautiful glass water and the only other boats out are surfing in circles. Surfing is ok but I find it doesn't provide near the rush of wakeboarding. It kinda gets boring after a while actually.
Old    Nick911            12-03-2011, 7:48 AM Reply   
Sounds like you are doing a good thing Jeff keep it up.
Old    Ben Wilcox (benjaminp)      Join Date: Nov 2008       12-03-2011, 9:39 AM Reply   
I should clarify that I think Jeff is an awesome guy (despite having never met him or heard of him before this thread) for taking the time to put work into a wakeboard tour with no financial incentive. Guys like him make the wakeboarding world go 'round.
Old    Nick911            12-03-2011, 12:08 PM Reply   
We should dam the North Saskatchewan or Athabasca, make a huge lake, develop a bunch of the lakefront, throw in some classy marinas....

Boom!

(oh yeah, run the Oilsands on hydroelectric)

I should be Premier...
Old    L W (501s)      Join Date: Feb 2010       12-04-2011, 12:41 AM Reply   
Nick911, if you ever get a chance to ride with Jeff take it, he's got some serious coaching skills too. Where are you in Alberta?
Old    Jeffrey Blanchard (eternalshadow)      Join Date: Nov 2001       12-05-2011, 10:43 AM Reply   
Nick, can we do both!?! They were even talking about that in Edmonton over the last 10 years, it was a far fetched idea from a mayoral candidate to essentially put a partial dam up to raise the water level for the Edmonton city area to allow for greater boating etc.

As always Levi, thanks for the kind words! I've had the pleasure of working with the Gratzfeld family (and all of the riders at WSR Wakeboard School) who took me under their wing quite a number of years ago (whom I cannot give enough credit to) and I have some amazing support from the wakeboard community, Clint Cole over at Wizard Lake Marine, the wakeworld community (many thanks to everyone over all the years), Jeff Heer and his family over at Nautic Distrubuters, Waterski Wakeboard Alberta, John Kitler at Hyperactive watersports, Glen Fletcher at O-Town watersports, all the riders/competitors/organizers/officials/volunteers, and more that make up this community. It truly takes a community to do what we're able to do.

The provincial tour that we run has the benefit of a great sponsorship group. I thank them for their continued support! Even in times of economic uncertainty they continue to step up and contribute anything from t-shirts to wakeboards and we have prided ourselves over the years knowing that every competitor has left with something. Our contests and events are there for anyone that wants to come out and try the contest scene, get some extra coaching, meet new people, and have some fun. I know it's not easy to make it to these things, it can be expensive, it does take time, but I truly hope that the people that do make it out are enjoying themselves and are getting the opportunity to meet other fellow watersports enthusiasts!

I'm a guy that started wakeboarding at 15, hung around wakeworld and the local shop long enough to get involved. I've been involved with WSR wakeboard school for what has to be about 8 years now, 3 of the CIA spring rides, trained in Florida, been to 3 different provinces and 4 national events, and I served on the board of directors for the province for 2 years. It's been a lot of time, a lot of money, and I don't plan on getting out anytime soon. It's the people, it's the community, it's the love of the sport that has me come back every year. I've made some mistakes, there's been things I could have done differently, and I've probably ruffled some feathers here and there but I've always given it my all. Over more than a few pints after the sportsman show I said in all honesty that if it wasn't for wakeboarding I don't think I'd be here today. I've met so many great people, made memories that will last me through my lifetime, have donated my body to making doctors better practitioners, and well... except for that last reason, and I'd do it all over again and will continue doing so.

Thank you wakeboarding!

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