The scene was set: “new kids” (aka windsurfers” needed a united voice to speak for their beach access needs. CGWA formed during a time of high energy & engagement.
What the Gorge lacked in beaches, it made up for in its social life: Pink parties (and weddings) Moe Dixon was banned from singing “Dancing in the Streets” at River City by the local police, because too many people didn’t need the encouragement The Gorge and windsurfing was youthful, new, exciting, ENGAGED – make a headline
18 beaches were used between Stevenson & Celilo, including Swell City, Horsethief Lake, & Koberg Beach. Sites were based on existing sailboat/public access Windsurfing was new to the region and not a recognized user group Vibe was one of feeling threatened and fighting for access Passion and energy abundant to create accessible beaches “ get involved, because if you don’t the crowded beaches will go away.” There was a real feeling of threatened access.
Bingen Sailboard Park, circa 1992
When there were beach improvement opportunities, the engaged community jumped to. Because if they didn’t, there were no beaches.
Some notable CGWA projects INCLUDE: Viento
Previously had to launch from floating docks
Our message is positive, active, stoked, and lets people choose their own level of engagement. We have a very strong and supportive membership base as is, and as long as we keep doing a decent job, they aren’t going anywhere. People know that if they don’t become a member, the beaches won’t go away, and we shouldn’t tell them otherwise. Sample marketing- our marketing goal is to steer people to our website, where they can choose their level of engagement: Read the news Get the news delivered to their inbox via email campaigns Short and regular updates and two-way discussion on facebook All of these are soft-sells to become a member (which you can also do on our website!)
Our goal in outgoing marketing materials is to steer people to our website, where they can choose their level of engagement: read the news, get the news delivered to their inbox via email campaigns, or chat with us on facebook.
Our website is easily updated with relevant and timely news, which is often requoted in blogs and other news sources. We are the source for Gorge windsurfing news (a goal in our original 2007 strategic plan).
Our website is of global relevance Shows usage spikes relative to news stories and Gorge events- peak usage is in summer, decline in usage already apparent this fall
Two-way conversation focused on stoke-sharing and active engagement with Gorge windsurfing
Our facebook analytics show a growing and engaged group, with age and gender pretty representative of the Gorge windsurfing community.
We have an email list of 1100 valid emails, which we use to keep people informed. They can opt-in on our website, and we are seeing continual growth in this list via our website sign up form.
Our email open & click-through rates are far above average for nonprofit and recreation industries. This means our audience is engaged and interested.
Beaches: focusing on the highest use area, which is Hood River. Almost every Gorge windsurfer feels an impact from that. Contributed $70,000 from Doug’s Funds to new Waterfront Park for river access ramp Negotiated usage of Jensen Beach, and build semi-hospitable area Hook improvements We’re engaged in the user group interactions
Youth program has evolved since inception in 2000. Gorge Groms launched this year, with 27 families purchasing season passes, and many more participating in the 5 clinics (this was King of the Hook prep).
Big Brothers Big Sisters clinic is a way to connect with the local community
People like to know that we are advocating on their windsurfing behalf, via testimony at public hearings (like this image from the Washington State budget hearing that I spoke at this summer), or written letters of support for beach improvements. They react when there’s a call to action- no PFD for SUPs petition, San Diego beach closure petition.
Social engagement within windsurfing community via swap meets, movie premiers, events like Windfest and King of the Hook. People enjoy the opportunity to mingle with windsurfers.
Gorge Windsurfing - a CGWA-centric history
Gorge Windsurfing A CGWA-Centric History
THEN: The Gorge in 1980 Pre-CGWA <ul><li>Bart Vervloet sold windsurfing gear at Nordstrom </li></ul><ul><li>The few local windsurfers sailed in nearby lakes and inside the Marina </li></ul><ul><li>Windsurfing was seen as an upcoming lake and ocean sport, and the thought of River windsurfing was just silly. </li></ul>
Early 1980s, Continued (Still Pre-CGWA) “ Sailing on a river? How goofy is that?!” - Bruce Peterson, Owner, Sailworks “ I remember being told about this windy place on the Columbia River. We thought it was probably a pretty stupid place to sail. Who would want to sail on a river with a current?” - Gary Gorman, then rep for Gaastra, Bare Wetsuits and Windsure, among others
1984 Pro-Am The Gorge gets on the Global Map (Still Pre-CGWA) <ul><li>National media coverage </li></ul><ul><li>220 competitors from a dozen countries </li></ul>
1986: Gorge national Scenic Act passed by Congress Provides specific instructions for the protection and enhancement of the scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources within the NSA; and promotes economic development within the Gorge's existing urban areas.
“ Windsurfing, or boardsailing as it is more properly called, is the fastest growing water recreation sport in the world.” - Columbia River Gorge Sailboard Economics, 1987 Season, as prepared by The University of Oregon Community Planning Workshop <ul><li>Engaged </li></ul><ul><li>Vibrant </li></ul><ul><li>Energetic </li></ul><ul><li>Like to par-tay! </li></ul>1987 Gorge Windsurfing Scene
“ Rock n’ roll is addictive. Sex is addictive. But this is the most addictive.” - Jeff “Coach” Hughes in 1987 flick A Hard Wind’s a Blowin’
Celilo, 1995 Doug’s Beach Roosevelt, 2002 Rock Creek, 2001 Beach Improvements
~2000 Viento <ul><li>Helped secure funding & volunteers for railroad crossing, parking area and a path to the water, as well as partially funding the vault toilet. </li></ul>Installation of the “Noble Toilets,” respectfully named after founding CGWA board member Fred Noble
~ 2001 Rock Creek <ul><li>Helped secure $500,000 in funding in partnership with the City of Mosier, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Windsurfing, Friends of the Gorge, and others. </li></ul>
Event Site <ul><li>Worked with Port to develop user friendly launch site </li></ul>
Beaches <ul><li>18 beaches from Stevenson to Celilo, including Horsethief Lake & Koberg Beach </li></ul><ul><li>Amenities extremely limited: parking, bathrooms, user friendly launches </li></ul><ul><li>Few launch sites were very crowded </li></ul><ul><li>24 beaches from Rooster Rock to 3-Mile </li></ul><ul><li>New developments at Blackberry Beach, and new energy at Bingen & Stevenson </li></ul><ul><li>User-friendliness ranges, with the Event Site one of the most user-friendly in the nation (grass, flush toilets, proximity to vibrant town) </li></ul>1987 2010
People <ul><li>76% male, 24% female </li></ul><ul><li>Age </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Average age is 29 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2% of windsurfers are over 50 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Highest age bracket is 30-34 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Average household income is $36,560 </li></ul><ul><li>48% are single, 1% retired, 10% have kids </li></ul><ul><li>78% male, 22% female </li></ul><ul><li>Age- biggest age brackets are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>28% age 45-54 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>21% age 18-24 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>55.3% earn over $100,000 </li></ul><ul><li>27% employed as “Professionals” (lawyers, doctors, etc.), 16% owners/partners </li></ul>1987 2010
Sport & Environment Trends <ul><li>Beginners: wide boards and small, light sails make learning easier than ever </li></ul><ul><li>Sport is established and recognized within the region, and beaches are not actively threatened on an ongoing basis. In fact, CGWA isn’t the only group advocating for beaches anymore- it’s a team effort! </li></ul><ul><li>More opportunities to improve existing access sites; less so to create new access sites. </li></ul><ul><li>Many Gorge windsurfers live in the Gorge, either in second homes or permanently, and have families. </li></ul>