Alliance: Can you really make boards stop?
Boardstop: Ummm, I’m not sure…..but can you really make alliance wake??
A: Texas is known for its Country music, enormous size, and George Bush. Why is it such a great place for wakeboarding?
BS: What makes our area so great are the amazing lakes and our proximity to them – Lake Austin, Lake Travis, Lake LBJ, The Perd, the list goes on. Texas is also becoming home of several new Cable Parks. With Texas being so large, the winch spots are also limitless. The best reason though is Texas offers an extended riding season due to the mild winters. We have spent many New Year’s day on the water here in Central Texas.
A: When did Boardstop get started?
BS: It started out as a conversation to combine our Information Technology backgrounds with our love of water sports. In April of 2004, the conversation became a reality and Boardstop was born. Our community websites, Wakeboarder.com and Wakeskating.com, have been around since wake was first introduced to the web. These websites enabled us to build the retail side of our business.
A: Your brick and mortar store is within a boat dealership (Central Texas Water Sports). Why did you decide to partner with a boat dealer?
BS: Yes, we operate out of Central Texas Water Sports, the local Malibu Dealership. It was a great opportunity for us because we have shared a relationship with Malibu for many years. Collaborating with one of the best boat brands in the industry allows us better local exposure. Relocating to the new shop enabled us to place their boats and our boards under one roof so together; it truly is a one STOP shop.
A: What are the benefits of having a store that deals only in hard goods and not boats?
BS: One of the benefits of having a store dealing only in hard goods and not boats is we get to focus on what we know. We love boats, but we are not knowledgeable in the sales side. We wanted to cultivate our business based on what was familiar to us. Boat sales will not affect how we stock or what we stock in our shop or online. A number of shops are driven by boat sales. In a slow season, a dealership that only focuses on boat sales tends to ignore their pro shop. We dedicate all our funds to the pro shop so we have the newest gear available.
A: You guys have a few other websites as well. What are they and why do you have so many?
BS: If we listed them all, we would need a second page for this shop write-up. Two of our community sites, Wakeboarder.com and Wakeskating.com, are part of the original community sites that have been around since the beginning. We use these sites to promote the up and coming wake brands or riders by giving them exposure to the wake community. We also started Boardflix.com to help promote Wakeboarding and Wakeskating DVD’s and the producers. We hope the more sites we have to promote wakeboarding/wakeskating, the more people will be exposed to it, and our sport will only grow.
A: Texas is becoming one of the best and biggest states for wakeboarding. How does Boardstop manage to standout in a state with so much retail competition?
BS: I think one of the reasons we stand out is because we realize customers have a choice where they shop. Customer service is key for us. It is one of our primary focuses. When a customer walks in the door, calls us on the phone, or sends us an email, we want to make sure they are getting the service and products they want and need. It is not about making the sale for us. It is about ensuring the customer gets what they need to make their riding experience the best it can be. We do not STOP with just Texas either. We try to standout on the web by being available when other shops are closed. It is not unusual to get an email from a Boardstop team member or myself on a weekend, holiday, or at 3:00am. Besides, rumor has it; we are the nicest people in wakeboarding!
A: Which grassroots events does Boardstop support?
BS: We have been involved in the Grind Series, The Texas Wakeboard Tour, and INT. We have sponsored a number of rail jams and wakeskate contests locally. We have also supported Austin’s own WaketoberFest from the beginning. We have teamed up with some local wakeboard schools and helped them provide gear to their students. We have worked with several University Wakeboard Teams all over the US. We also support our local riders when we can. We understand the riders are the ones that make up our sport.
A: How does Boardstop decide which wakeboard products to sell both in the store and online?
BS: Since we do have so many community sites, we listen to the riders and reps and get a feel for what brands are hitting and what brands are falling off. It is a given we are going to carry Ronix, Liquid Force, CWB, and Hyperlite. We are also for the little guy and try to search for new products that might be of interest to our customers. As far as the difference between what we carry in the store and what we have online, we stock everything we sell online as well as in the shop. We warehouse out of the same location so all our inventory is onsite. If we do not have it on the floor, customers know to ask. There might be a product line or two we sell exclusively on the web, but that does not stop local customers from shopping at Boardstop.com and waiting by their door for FedEx.
A: What has been the best selling product for Boardstop? And the worst?
BS: Some of the bestselling products we have had are from several of the smallest brands in our industry. The hard to get wakeskate gear has been some the fastest moving products along with any limited edition wake items. I like to see the little guy make it. Come on, who wasn’t a fan of Cassette?? Having the ability to use our community sites, the potential to pre-book large quantities in a short period is a great advantage. We often have product completely sold out before it ever reaches the shop. As for the worst products….Why…. all of our products are Bangers! We have never made a bad purchase (that we will admit to).
A: Have you ever tried to catch any of the bats on Congress Bridge?
BS: Yes, however we are not allowed to speak about it until after the trial. All I will say is those suckers are fast! However, an interesting thing about the Congress Bridge is it is located on Lady Bird Lake. They banned all boat traffic on that lake many years ago….so let’s face it….the bats had it coming!
A: If you could name your store anything else, what would it be?
BS: I have no idea what else we would name it. When we started the shop, we wanted something that would let people know this would be the only place they would need to STOP for their wake gear…..so BoardSTOP worked….and has ever since.
A: Any people or brands you’d like to thank?
BS: YES! We realize we would not be where we are today if it were not for all the amazing people that have helped us along the way. The guys who started out with us, our reps who had faith in us, the riders that have promoted our network of websites, the people who worked behind the scenes to make our industry what it is today, and our customers who allow us to serve them every season. We really appreciate each of you who have contributed to the success of Boardstop. We love what we do and are so thankful for the opportunity to live it each day!
16628 N. IH-35
Austin, TX 78728