H20 is one of the newest and biggest windsurfing shops on the south coast. It is based right in the centre of the massive Poole and Sandbanks windsurfing fraternity. We caught up with co-owner & director, Matt Ely, to find out how he does business…
Matt: H2O Sports opened its doors in March 2004, but it had been in my mind for many years before that. I have always worked in the windsurfing industry starting as an instructor over twenty years ago in Surrey and then moving to Poole in 1987. I started working for Poole Harbour Boardsailing on an YTS scheme and have never looked back.
08:45 We open at nine and have a lot of kit to put outside, which is how every day starts and finishes. But on some days we will have customers parked on the forecourt waiting for us to open, especially if it’s windy.
09:15 Coffee and check the e-mails, wasn’t like this years ago when we just waited for the phone to ring. If it’s quiet enough and customer free I will chat with the other guys; Big James, Chris and Little James to discuss what happened yesterday, what’s happening today, kit that needs ordering, whose working when etc.
09:40 Quick phone round to our suppliers to get in the special orders or just keep the stock levels right.
10:00 Lessons start. We teach all levels of windsurfing but most are beginners. So a typical group of six get kitted out with wetsuits and head down to the Sandbanks for those first exciting steps on a windsurfer. Because Poole Harbour is only waist deep it makes for a great place to learn. We also teach kitesurfing with the help of Easyriders Kitesurfing School. Andy will have up to eight students so there are lots of people buzzing around the shop at this time, which I love.
11:30 Had a good customer change over a quiver of sails, he part ex-ed four North Superstars for four 2007 North Ices. After the normal arm-twisting, silent moments and having to sharpen my pencil a bit more he got the deal he wanted and walked out a happy man.
13:00 Lunch. We are big Subway fans at the moment so one of us will pop out for lunch. With two young boys, a dog and trying to get to the gym before work, breakfast is an early event in our house so I am always ready for lunch.
13:15 First bite of the Subway.
14:15 Second bite, shop got busy.
15:00 A couple that had a lesson this morning have popped in to talk about kit. They sound completely hooked and had a great first morning. They decide to buy their own wetsuits and shoes to start with and finish their next lesson before getting some kit. Future customers in the making?
16:30 The day is slowly coming to an end and it’s been busy. We sell more than just windsurfing kit here (kayaks, wakeboards, kites) so we never really stop.
17:00 Its blowing a Force 3-4 so Big James and Chris load their vans up to get a quick sail in after work. I check the e-mails and online orders from our internet shop.
17:30 ish Start packing outside up and then cash up. Where did eight odd hours go? But it wasn’t the same as the day before and tomorrow will be different again – great!
H20 are a very friendly bunch. Go & chat them up about windsurfing in general and if you’re after a Simmer, North, Naish, Mistral, Fanatic, F2, Angulo, Tiga or Bic – give them a go!