The first Pass The Handle — Discover Water Sports Day took place on lakes worldwide on July 26, 2014. The #PassTheHandle project is an incredible awareness-driven concept drawn up by legendary wakeboarders Shaun Murray and Zane Schwenk, encouraging any towed-water-sport enthusiast to get out on the water and extend their arm to people in need of an awesome activity.
The concept is simple: Find a buddy or buddies who don’t already take advantage of the amazing sports included under the towed-water-sports umbrella, and get them on the water. Take them out, teach them how to ride, and introduce them to the same fun lifestyle of being on the water that we enjoy. Our goal is to truly engage those already involved to “share the stoke” and teach as many people as they can to ride.
We would like this initiative to focus on safe towed water sports, and to eventually create a reward-based program to encourage those who are hyper enthused to help expand the sport by incentivizing them to teach more and more new riders.
We expect this concept to grow legs and become the day that we can reach the masses, expand our user base, and get the general public more engaged in watersports.
On July 22nd, the fifth annual #PassTheHandle took place and was the biggest success since the movement’s inception. With large scale participation from global companies, professional athletes, industry legends and more, this year’s events elevated the initiative to new heights.
Founded half a decade ago, #PassTheHandle continues to give first-timers the opportunity to experience the thrill of towed water sports. The idea was conceptualized by industry icons Zane Schwenk and Shaun Murray as a way to spread awareness and thus allow others to discover the joy of towed water sports. Year after year, the movement only picks up more speed and increased support across the industry.
This year, we saw a cool first-time event take place in the heart of Orlando. With the support of Red Bull, Performance Ski & Surf and Mesa 21, professional wakeboarders Meagan Ethell, Steel Lafferty, Mike Dowdy and Guenther Oka took to the waters of Lake Ivanhoe to teach over 40 new participants how to wakeboard or wakesurf behind three of their personal towboats.
The commitment from these athletes to help share their passion for gliding across the water is what #PassTheHandle is all about. WSIA commends them and the event’s partners and volunteers for their time and enthusiasm throughout the day.
Another memorable moment from this year’s #PassTheHandle comes from Wake The World, the organization based out of North Carolina that provides watersports opportunities to abandoned, abused and neglected children, as well as for the handicapped and our wounded warriors. Recently, Wake The World was gifted a 1979 Ski Nautique. The non-profit organization has decided to make this boat available to their past participants who are now adults, giving them the resources to #PassTheHandle to others.
The boat is fully equipped with a variety of watersports gear and will soon be installed with a stereo, Perfect Pass, a tower with board racks, and a bimini. A local marina in North Carolina has offered to keep the boat in dry storage, provide regular maintenance, as well as launch it… all free of charge. Past participants and users of the boat will be required to take a safe boaters course, be trained by Wake The World staff, and keep the boat clean and full of gas. Other than that, the boat is theirs to use as their own and to #PassTheHandle to others for years to come.
Although #PassTheHandle has a set day each year, the movement is meant to be year-long. When an opportunity arises anytime throughout the year for you to share our sports with others, we encourage you to take initiative. And as an awareness-driven concept, #PassTheHandle largely relies on social media channels and the hashtag specifically, mostly used on Instagram as well as Facebook by participants around the world. Whenever anyone learns to ski, wakeboard, tube, etc. for the first time, please be sure to hashtag #PassTheHandle.
Last but not least, thank you to all those not in the limelight who worked to promote our sports and get new-timers on the water. The #PassTheHandle initiative wouldn’t be successful without you. If you’d like to share your #PassTheHandle story, please send us a few paragraphs and images to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DEALERS, WAKE PARKS, SCHOOLS (and other ambitious individuals): Take it to the next level and create your own #PassTheHandle event. Be sure to use our member benefits including WAIVERS and valuable advice found in WSIA’s EVENT MANAGEMENT RESOURCE GUIDE.
For more questions, ideas, etc. e-mail email@example.com.
Learn how this legendary rider taught his girls how to get up on the water for the first time. Join us on Sunday, July 24 by helping a first-timer get up on the water for #PassTheHandle day. Be sure to tag us in your social media.