2019 Pass The Handle Recap

On July 21, 2019, social media was overflowing with images and video tagged #PassTheHandle, which for our industry means sharing the love and getting new participants on the water for the first time.

Wakeboarding, wakesurfing, waterskiing, kneeboarding, tubing all count on this day. The device itself isn’t as important as all the smiling faces. We saw kids, adults, and veterans enjoying what we all know and love, that warm sunshine and cool water is a tough combination to beat.

The watersports industry has been supporting Pass The Handle for some time but what’s exciting is that for 2019, Pass The Handle has become more of a household name. More and more individuals are taking the initiative to share the sport with others and it’s exciting to watch unfold.

With over 13,000 photos and videos mentioning #PassTheHandle on Instagram alone, the movement is experiencing tremendous growth year after year.

There are a few industry MVP’s from 2019 that deserve mention. Three Lakes Ski School in Wisconsin hosted over 150 participants, West Rock Wake Park in Illinois extended their efforts to included a month-long contest to see who can get the most first timers on the water. Red Bull activated at Wakefest, which has become one of the biggest gatherings of the year. And the usual suspects came out to represent including Robby Maschhaupt, and event founders Shaun Murray and Zane Schwenk.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support, together we have the collective power to take #PassTheHandle even further and we can’t wait to celebrate Pass The Handle day with you in July of 2020.

Remember, #PassTheHandle is a mindset and year-round initiative, so we encourage you to share the water, spread the stoke, and remember to utilize the #PassTheHandle hashtag year round to keep momentum going.

Zane Schwenk and the Cypress Gardens Ski Team Get a Jump on #PassTheHandle Day

On July 10, 2019, #PassTheHandle co-founder Zane Schwenk joined the City of Winter Haven, the Envisioneers Teen Camp, and the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team for a day on the water in which first-timers were given the opportunity to experience the thrill of towed water sports.

Founded over half a decade ago, #PassTheHandle is an idea that was conceptualized as a way to spread awareness of towed water sports and thus allow others to discover the joy, passion, and confidence that these sports create.

On this particular day in Winter Haven, 23 first-timers were introduced to towed water sports. Among those 23 participants was Zane Schwenk’s own daughter, Stella, learning to waterski for the first time. 

Teaching 23 first-timers to ski/ride in one day is a huge feat, but the idea of #PassTheHandle is that even getting a single person up on the water is hugely successful. 

Please reach out to a first-timer and teach them to ride or ski this coming Sunday, July 21st. If towed water sports have given you a feeling of joy, passion, or freedom, or if you’ve ever received free gear or a paycheck from this industry, this is your chance to give back.

Be sure to share your photos and videos through social media using the hashtag #PassTheHandle. It’s the quickest and easiest way to spread the love of water sports to the world.

If you have any questions regarding #PassTheHandle, email info@wsia.net.

Robby Maschhaupt: Passing The Handle

Have a conversation with Robby for any length of time and his passion for sharing his love of watersports is immediately apparent. Please take a moment to read that again, we’re not talking about his personal passion, but his passion for sharing the sport. Perhaps the most humble man we’ve ever met landed in the watersports industry well not out of luck but, out of friendship and the heart following what it wants.

Robby was recently in Wisconsin helping Dano The Mano and the Aquanuts with their Pass The Handle event during which they got 35 people on the water for the first time, 15 of them being adaptive participants! We had the opportunity to catch up for a brief interview while he was making his way to the lake for day 2 of the event and here’s what he had to say.

The Gassman

Robby wasn’t always in the watersports industry

He was the gassman, jumping over the wall with a hose or tank on his shoulder full of 110 octane while race cars screamed into the pit area for fresh shoes and fuel. It was a chance email sent to Cobe Mikacich / others inviting them to a race and suggesting they put on a demo that fueled his passion for watersports.

Current role in the industry?

The spreader or should we say the educator of stoke

Robby gets people on the water. He’s providing a fun, friendly, safe, and educational atmosphere where his participants are able to truly experience what we all know and love. That there is no better feeling than a day on the water, in a boat filled with friends and family. But he doesn’t stop there, he’s also taking the time to educate local law enforcement, getting them on the water so they can experience wakesurfing firsthand, and a better understanding of wave energy and the watersports culture.

Wake Awards, life on the water, and driving or behind the boat?

Robby heard of and was Passing The Handle on his own but never dreamed his Pass The handle efforts would rise to where they are today. In fact Robby was doing such a good job the industry took notice, at the 2017 Wake Awards he humbly took home the inaugural Pass The Handle award, little did he know the evening would be a springboard for his watersports career.

Post Wake Awards the industry took a little larger notice of Robby’s efforts and utilizing his racing / promotional experience he put together a team of like-minded sponsors/friendships and their cumulative commitment to Passing The Handle remains unrivaled. This year alone he’s put over 280 hours on his boat, only 30 minutes of which have been his own riding.

Tidal Fabrication, accessibility for all

Accessibility is another area of the sport Robby is growing as current adaptive cages can cost well over $1,800 for the cage alone. Robby’s latest venture, Tidal Fabrication whose goal is to produce quality high-performance adaptive cages as affordable and accessible as possible. During their first year of production alone they have donated 20 out of the 27 cages manufactured.

Sharing The stoke For a Successful Future

We asked Robby what it’s going to take for the Pass The Handle movement to grow and his answer was simple, involvement. From manufacturers, media, professional athletes, and boaters alike. This year alone his Pass The Handle program has lead to the sale of 12 boats. This statistic isn’t to boast about boat and equipment sales but rather the domino effect.

Robby’s stoke for Passing The Handle impacted 12 families so deeply, they purchased a boat and everything that goes along with it. If each family Passes The Handle to two additional families this Summer, that’s now 36 families enjoying the water, numbers that will only further multiply year after year.

Enjoying the water with friends and family is something we all know and cherish. We feel confident that if you’re reading this, it’s the keystone around which your Summer also revolves, so help us spread the stoke this year, Pass The handle so someone can experience that which we all love and hold dear, time on the water.

Robby started his career fueling race cars, now he’s fueling the stoke and growth for the sport, thanks for all you do!

Share your experiences with us! 

We want to hear your success stories this Pass The Handle day, please tag us in your experiences with #PassTheHandle and be sure to follow Pass The Handle on Instagram and Facebook to see if your story ends up being featured, and remember, HAVE FUN!

Get Involved & Pass The Handle

Pass The Handle is the selfless act of gifting your joy and passion for watersports with someone who has never experienced it before. This year, we’re celebrating Pass The handle Day on July 21st, 2019.

Can you remember your first time behind the boat? Pretty magical right? Passing The Handle may be getting someone up on waterskis, kneeboard, trainer board, wakeboard or wakesurfer for the first time. Or it may simply be letting them tag along on your boat for a time or two while you ride, allowing them to build the confidence to try themselves.

It dosesn’t matter if you’re on a cutting edge wakeboat or your grandfathers 14′ outboard, the goal of the day is to share your stoke, passion, and knowledge of watersports with someone new. Who knows, you may discover your new regular third!

A FEW TIPS FOR A SMOOTH PASS OF THE HANDLE

Ensure A USCG Life Jacket: Is properly fitted and worn at all times while behind the boat. Not only is it the law on most bodies of water, but the bouyancy of a USCG Life Jacket is a huge aid when getting someone up behind the boat for the first time. Remember, properly fitted, we don’t want to see armpits over ears!

Patience is Key: It’s someone’s first time, while they’re stoked, they’re likely intimidated.

Start Small : Set small goals to achieve and reassure their progress with each attempt. If you see them struggling or frustrated, get them back on the platform for a quick 5-minute break and reset. Talk about what’s not working, how to overcome it and if possible encourage them to keep trying until they get up.

Keep The Stoke High: If they don’t get up, it’s OK! Be sure to invite them back out so they can give it another go, even show them some YouTube videos (David O’Caoimh and Learn Wake are two great resources) that could help them overcome the particular hurdle they’re facing.

Share your experiences with us

We want to hear your success stories this Pass The Handle day, please tag us in your experiences with #PassTheHandle and be sure to follow Pass The Handle on Instagram and Facebook to see if your story ends up being featured, and remember, HAVE FUN!

2018 Pass The Handle Day Recap

 

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.

 

Two NFL players from the Jacksonville Jaguars joined in on the #PassTheHandle fun in Orlando.

 

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 1979 Ski Nautique gifted to Wake The World and #PassTheHandle.

 

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 info@wsia.net.

 

 

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 info@wsia.net.