windmaker wrote:Why is the number of kite manufacturers increasing and the number of surf shops decreasing?
Because making kites is profitable, selling them isn't!
yeah, because every kite salesman wants to get rich fast, i assume...
we have three surfshops in my region, they also sell windsurf stuff, skateboards, skies, snowboards, bikes and other sports stuff. and we have several one-brand sellers (mostly preoccupied with supplying themselves and their closest friends with kiteboarding gear by lowest possible prices).
so, two surfshops offer well known brands like north, cabrinha and airush by prices often exceeded the RRP on this product. it is usual to see the price tag on 2008 biger kite around 2000$. the third shop is much more friendly, you can buy a last year new kite for the 1000$. i bought almost all of my kiteboarding gear, wetsuits and stuff from it, beside skies, bike and snowboard gear. so far so good.
all of those shops have some teams, like windsurf teams, kiteboarding teams, bike teams, skateboard teams and even the snowboarding teams (although there are no mountains in my country!). all of these teams are participate only in local competitions.
then, although these shops have the pretty much affordable kite instructors and the test equipment, that is where "supporting their kiteboarding communities" ending. no gear repairs, no stand for beach access and questionable aftersale support.
beach access. for that we have kiteboarding union (or federation) pretty much spineless, but still an organisation, and several local clubs (much more active in cooperation with the local authorities). there are no known occasions when surfshops were involved in the beach access dispute.
instructors. thanks to the IKO money-mongering pyramid economic model there are dozens and dozens of licensed kiteboarding instructors (experienced or not so much) waiting just phone call away, so there is no problem with the kite schools.
gear repair. we have several local entrepreneurs who gladly repair both kites and boards, so it is covered too.
aftersales. and then little accident happened. my chicken-loop has broken. my kite's brand's website told bring broken cl to my local dealer and you'll get new one instead on warranty condition. i did so. and now it is almost a year gone bye while i am still waiting for my cl. of course i blame my local shop!
and i most certainly will not step in it until i get my new cl!
and for a while i was speaking to the kiters on the different spots, and i was surprised how much of them have bought their gear from the on-line! it was really a surprising discovery for me that one of my friends ordered two cabrinha kites from german on-line shop! (instead of buying them from local shop).
so why i need these local surfshops anyway?