Business of Hydroflight
By Shawn Galiotto
BOOM………. Did you hear that hydro heads?!?
Water Flowing, flips flying everywhere. … SPLASH!!!!
This is the sound of hydroflight sports exploding across the world.
In recent months the world of vertical water sports has really taken flight not only the various sports but also the industry as a whole. Even here at H2RO Magazine we are realizing how big a task it is keeping on top of everything… but we certainly accept the challenge!
With the recent addition of several new boards into the hydroflight universe as well as some recent Hoverboard -esq type devices, not to mention all of the new aftermarket products, it’s really exploding like those of us who have been around for a while always knew it would. The sport has taken a turn in a positive direction and with alternate device events popping up as well I can only imagine what 2015 holds. With the sport expanding what will that mean for business and the rental companies.
First we need to see how these devices are received by the insurance companies and how well they fit into the overall picture as rental devices. Will they still have the same simplicity as the device we already use?. Will they be as safe to operate as the current device you are using?. And are some of these devices being designed with a rental customer in mind or are they designed for more extreme tricks and competition purposes? I think the answer to most of those questions is still to be determined but it’s encouraging to see there are options starting to come on to the scene.
Competition…what it will mean
I once wrote how important it is for competition and variations of the product to exist in order for quality to become the number one priority of these companies. It will over time create several well crafted high performance products that will only benefit the consumer. It will create a more competitive pricing structure and quality aftermarket products. This is a win-win, in my opinion, for the consumers and all of the companies working in the vertical water sport industry. A well priced quality product is going to allow us to sell more products and eventually create more athletes to compete. We are not quite at the perfect price point on any of these devices yet but we are getting closer. I would not even attempt to guess what it costs to manufacture any of these devices, but as the design becomes simpler and more efficient it will eventually even the price point out.
One thing, from a business perspective, that concerns me is that with the addition of all these devices, are these companies set up and financially sound to produce and deliver the product. As well as provide all the necessary parts that will be needed due to normal wear and tear. This is concerning in the sense that to commit to a product and have any failure could be an issue for those of us that are invested possibly in that product. We have all read and seen some of the issues experienced by the Jet-lev, let’s hope all these new devices travel down a different road and forever have a place in this exciting future.
I know that Zapata Racing has so far been able to lead the pack and I know this will continue into the foreseeable future, but we shall see which one of these other companies make a real push towards the front. I see the sport starting to mature, but I can’t help but wonder which device will evolve into the perfect competition/ rental device. Only time will tell.
Marketing and the world of Hydroflight
Another topic we touched on in the past was about marketing, and the difference that some uniformity could make when a product has a certain level of marketing support that comes from the manufacturer. This will be the one thing that could really set some of these devices apart. What will help the rental companies and the distributors is getting major brands on board as sponsors, and some international marketing to allow for the product to be exposed to people and places in a general sense to create the scenario of the rental consumer pursuing the experience and wanting to find it locally. In my opinion this has been lacking so far in the hydroflight rental realm. There has surely been improvement but the road to true franchise type companies is still a long one. We all know that universal price structure is not really an option, but companies using some universal marketing materials and universal logos and brand specific fonts, etc would be in the best interest of the rental company as well as the manufacturer. I know if I was able to produce a product I would want my logo and my image of the product to carry over to those consumers and rental companies. This would create better control of the expansion of the product by the manufacturers due to creating a set of general rules for marketing the product and brand. In the new age of international business, building the brand is just as important as building the product. I think that with the Flyboard in particular , the early distribution and building of the brand was interrupted early in the inception and expansion with the issues of litigation and greed on the part of the original distributors.
This is something that these new companies can really take a lesson from.
We can see that the industry as a whole is now forever solidified into the fabric of history, and the sport is now becoming the real deal. Some of these athletes are starting to take on rockstar-esq personas, starting to appear in commercials, as well as star in major motion pictures. Rumor is we’ll soon see great exposure on major television networks. This in itself will be some of that marketing awareness we could all use. This is due to the hard work of so many true hydro heads in our community. They know who they are!!!!
It’s exciting times here at H2RO Magazine. Our new website means we are actively educating and inspiring our readers with content representing the complete global vertical water sports picture. New innovation, new competitions, no problem… new H2RO content!
I think that the future holds nothing but good things for the businesses involved and the sport is headed to legitimacy alongside all the other mature extreme sports out there. With the 2nd North American Flyboard Championship due to take the city of Shreveport, LA by storm this June I can only assume the event is going to generate more great exposure for Flyboarding and hydroflight sports. Rumor is that we are going to see the next iteration of the Flyboard (H2RO will announce details for the 2015 board as soon as we are given the green light) soon and companies like X-Jets, Defy, and Zapata Racing are promising great things and new products. The list is growing longer by the day. Make sure you choose wisely. I truly believe that when it comes to high performance Hydroflight devices the best is yet to come.
We shall see!!!!
As always please continue to support and enjoy the content on our new and improved H2RO MAGAZINE. Everyone here works very hard to consistently share our passion and bring you new and engaging content. I hope you enjoy my contribution and ask that you check out my new project…..HYDRO FLY NOW.
I will continue to bring you great content with my Business of Hydroflight series here at H2RO, but will use the new show to expand on some of the content and bring you music, video and news all wrapped into one hydro filled episode. It’s an honor and a privilege to have your support.
As always I hope you are all tuned up and ready to fly, I know for us here in the north eastern part of North America, we have had a long road. That road is hopefully turning into a lake. We only ask a few things of you hydro heads. Of course, first and foremost have fun and make money, but also be safe and provide safe and prudent conditions for all of your customers. Remember as the industry grows so do the eyes that are watching, let’s show them how we get high!!….now go get fly,………. hydro fly!!!!!
Check out our past articles published as the Business of Flyboard