Toby wrote:How many people who ride a Wainman kite bought it because of Lou?
They bought it because it performs well, right?
The question now is, how much influence did Lou have on the design?
The success of the future Wainman will be the performance of the kites...if Lou is with it or not.
Look at Best...who bought the kite because of Shannon? The majority bought it because of the 2 for 1 deal...and that's when Best had the biggest market share, plus a kite that full filled the needs of the mass (Waroo).
This is not to discredit Lou or Shannon for what they do/did for the sport!
I think with Wainman kites, a lot of people bought the kite because they believed in him. He was/is a legend in the sport and they believed that he was going to design something solid and revolutionary and people wanted to get behind that. So, in Wainman's case, yeah, I think it made a big difference and I don't see the company continuing without a solid re-investment and marketing push like we see Best doing.
With Shannon, I don't think it mattered. He came from wakeboarding and at the time most kiters maybe didn't know who he was. At least not the newbie kiters who Best marketted to heavily. However, Best came on the scene changing the market with direct sales and low prices. They were the first to bring this new strategy to kiting that we had gotten used to with Dell computers and such...you'd go online, choose your own kite, your color, your own bar, what bag you wanted, etc. This is common now with companies, but they were the first and their prices let anyone start out with a new kite.
Now...since the company was named after him, Shannon's notoriety grew with the Best company. He was at our beaches demoing gear with the Best bus and the Best girls and did a lot of work marketing the brand. The company is spending some cash now to move beyond Shannon, bring in a new high tier pro team, and advance their designs. They will succeed.
We'll have to wait and see what happens with Wainman.