On a recent trip through China and Southeast Asia, I was reminded why we do what we do. After a long flight to Shanghai, I spent a couple of days visiting some key suppliers and our friends at the WhiteWater offices in Shanghai. While having lunch on my final day in Shanghai, ironically at a German restaurant on the River Bund, reflecting on the many years I have been coming to China and the dramatic changes since my first trips in the early to mid-90’s. The horizon is still dotted with cranes, and the steady drizzle put a damper on the day, but the magnitude of this city of over 12 million people still amazes me. It hasn’t set in though, that you shouldn’t text while on your motor bike!
Anyone who has flown to Asia knows that you are at the mercy of the airlines. And of course, my trip from Shanghai to Phuket was delayed by 5 hours courtesy of Shanghai Airlines. Finally arriving at my destination – Surf House Patong at 5:30 am – I was conflicted about what to do. Try to sleep? Ah, sleep is overrated, so I took a nice long walk on the local beach. Obviously, the environmental concerns haven’t made it to our neighbors to the far southeast, as the beach was significantly littered and people were still partying from the night before. The surf actually looked fun, but not a surfer in sight, just signs basically telling you no swimming. These are signs I have always ignored, so…………..
As the morning turned to afternoon, and the Surf House awakened from its slumber and came to life, it was then that I realized why we work in this marvelous industry. When the FlowRider® Double surf simulator roared to life, people came off the street to see what was happening. Jam packed tourist buses, probably full of people from my flight, pulled right up to the venue with faces smooshed against the window for a better view of the action. This scene made me proud to say we are a very minority owner in this joint venture with our Finnish friends, and the fantastic job that they have done on the venue (actually two venues – one in Phuket, the other in Kata Beach).
As I was snapping off some imagery of the girls who were obviously having a great time on the wave, our top gun sales ace, Andrew Thatcher, decided to show the girls how it was done. Andrew has ridden the FlowRider for nearly 20 years, and his experience had them mesmerized!! Actually, I believe he was the mesmerized one, and very much digging the attention!
When their shift was done, a mom showed up with her two very young kids, probably 6 and 8 years old. It was obviously their first time on the most popular surf simulator created to date. The instructor at Surf House Patong did an outstanding job of getting these kids acclimated to the flow, and by the end of their session they were riding very well by themselves, with incredible smiles throughout. This is what we USED to call the “Kodak Moment!!” Their faces must have been sore by the end of the session from the amount of smiling that was going down!
This 2 hour segment in life again reminded me why we do what we do. And what exactly is that? Our stated mission is to be fun brokers. To bring the joy and stoke of riding a wave to anyone, anywhere in the world. And we do just that, with installations all over the globe and many more coming to previously untouched countries like the just recently commissioned WaveOz™ in Armenia. Even that was unprecedented news, and the President of Armenia was on hand for the commissioning!!
It is these uninterrupted moments of joy that drive us to be the very best at what we do, to have the best product, with the best technology, and to actually put real money into the sport that we helped create. This is all in the name of perpetuating the FlowRider legacy that was created many, many years ago.
After riding the wave for a few hours, enjoying a great dinner with our good partner Janne, and a 40 hour return trip from hell (compliments again to Shanghai Airlines), it was a great time to work, reflect and plan for the future of our business. The nexus of that plan is to remain as fired up as ever on sharing the pure joy and stoke of riding the flow that the FlowRider provides. And to continue to see the endless smiles on the endless wave! That is what it is really about!
See Ya On The Wave!