Orlando, FL; The first annual WaterSports Industry Association (WSIA) Leadership Awards were held at Surf Expo on Saturday, September 17, 2005 in front of more than 600 anxious onlookers. The awards were provided for three categories to both retailers and manufacturers. The manufacturer categories were Best Ad Campaign, Best Buzz Brand and Manufacturer of the Year. For retailers, awards were given for Best Promotional Retailer, Breakout Retailer, and Retailer of the Year.
For a period of four weeks in July, retailers were encouraged to vote for the manufacturer categories and manufacturers were asked to vote for the retailer awards on the WSIA website, wsia.net. The results were tabulated in mid August.
“The Leadership Awards were the brainchild of Surf Expo’s Lori Kisner,” said Jim Emmons, president of the WSIA and host of the event. We wanted to recognize excellence at both the retail and manufacturer level in a fair and balanced way and Lori and her team found the right formula. Based on this year’s results, we’re confident that next year’s awards will be far more important to the industry when the request for voting goes out in June!”
The dealer awards were presented first. As each winner was announced a short video provided from the retailer was played while the recipient made his way through the crowd. The Best Promo Award went to Tommy’s Slalom Shop of Denver CO. Breakout Retailer went to Atlanta Inboards from Buford, GA and Retailer of the Year was awarded to WaterSki America in Dallas, TX.
For the manufacturers, the web voting process narrowed the field to three nominees in each category, who were each asked to submit a two-minute video that represented the essence of their corporate philosophy. On dual 20-foot screens, the manufacturer videos were played in succession to the cheering standing-room-only crowd.
The WSIA Leadership Award for Best Ad Campaign was accepted by Hyperlite’s Tony Teske, art director; Paul O’Brien, marketing director; and Brian Gardner, COO.
The WSIA Leadership Award for Best Buzz Brand was accepted by Gator Board’s Troy Flick, team manager; Rob Hyatt, marketing director; and Gator Lutgert, president.
The WSIA Leadership Award for Manufacturer of the Year was accepted by a swarm of Liquid Force corporate attendees including Jimmy Redmon, chief designer; Don Wallace, sales & marketing: and Tony Finn, president.
The WSIA Leadership Awards will be hosted again at Surf Expo in September 2006. For more information please contact the WSIA headquarters in Orlando Florida at 407-251-9039 or visit wsia.net.