Change To Grow, Increasing Participation in Paddling.
Change is uncomfortable. For us personally. And those who are around us. As it causes everyone to become, uncomfortable for a moment of time. I was listening to, a go to book of mine, "Who Moved My Cheese." The message is a strong one, yet the book is playful as it has a couple mice and a couple of cute characters. For those that haven't read it, or listened. Pick it up as it is a great message.
The message is as simple as this. We continue to do the same things over and over expecting the same result. We become so focused on it always being the same. They were become oblivious to any changes that are happening around us. In the case of the book. Cheese.
In the case of this blog. Stand up padldeboard events.
I will not lie my last blog sent me back to the drawing board and doing more and more research. I was a bit perplexed on how explanations from others and myself seemed to be either disregarded or misunderstood.
Then it hit me. We only want to hear the good things. Myself included.
My initial blog, Why Do We Race a Stand Up Paddleboard, about removing podiums, prizes and cash. Was well received and many people agreed that the sport has become too serious for the majority of paddlers. Many had decided to just paddle for their own reasons even at events and still walking away with the reason we all started. Community and connection. The follow up blog, The Why, Behind the Conquest of Changing Paddle Racing had the supportive comments but also brought us down a few areas of discussion. Kids programs and One design.
As I said in my Facebook comments and will say here as well. I applaud anyone putting their heart, sweat, tears and money on the line to grow this sport. But if I do not think it will work or has been done and did not work. I am very open and honest. If I have to eat my words later, I'll do it publicly with a smile. The goal behind this theory. I do not want us to continue down the same path over and over as it is comfortable. I am inspired to bring out change.
Those two examples above, have been tried in our sport on multiple occasions. And sadly both have not received the growth we all hoped. Does it mean stop trying, no. But with the sport at the place it is. Declining attendance and races folding. Our efforts need to be focused on where the biggest impact can be made.
Over the past week the messages have filled my inbox. And I love seeing them. But there is one common thread that has connected them. We all speak about accepting everyone and uniting everyone. Yet our actions are different. We wear our club jerseys. Sponsor jerseys. Hang out our tents. And have a fun time with our friends. We are a community. And this is why we paddle. But we forget one thing. What about the person who just arrived from Oklahoma? Or this is their first event? How do our actions make them feel? Is this an inviting scene to walk into? I know we are not doing this on purpose. And our goal is not to leave anyone out. Especially on the business side. We want everyone to buy our boards. But we are getting caught up in the moment. And by default, left someone out.
What is inspiring me to keep writing, are the people who message me about things they are seeing. And hearing. As well as the ones taking the feedback that is happening in this posts and testing out first hand. Everyone is helping to change the sport and add more people. Even though at times it is a daunting task. But the dedication to grow this thing is inspiring. Those that see this blogs as offensive, not helpful or incorrect. I'll ask you to take some time and research the sport. Look back to 2008. Ask some of the pioneers what they see. And saw. Read old posts from the 2013 BOP, if you don't know what that is, you will want to start there, it is worth it. As well as some of the rankings of races back in 2014 put on by SUP Racer. Many of the names of races may be foreign
as sadly, they have come and gone. We are at a place where we need to make changes. They will upset some. But in time they will come back.
Whether anyone wants to accept it or not. The current trajectory is downward. Yet very correctable.
I look forward to the discussions and messages. As well as seeing you all on the water soon!