Spring has begun and instead of bringing you the first results of sanctioned racing around the globe, IJSBA is in the unfortunate position of having to write this status update and action plan for the Personal Watercraft Community. The update describes the steps IJSBA is taking, the steps we would like our partners to take, and the outlook for the 2020 season. Please share the following news with your friends and colleagues in the PWC Racing Community. We hope that, three months from tomorrow, the first day of summer, will bring an exciting report of what has happened and what is to come. Even with this crazy new prediction out of California, today, we hold to this optimism. Stay safe, self quarantine, and be healthy. We will all get through this together.
For those of you who don’t have time to read the entire posting here is the most important thing to know: There 100% will be a World Finals unless there are government regulations in place to prevent the event. IJSBA has been taking steps to ensure that there will be all the racing there can be this year and that our sport will continue to prosper indefinitely. IJSBA is committed to the furtherance of racing and we are prepared to ensure the survival of the sport.
Crisis Impact On Personal Watercraft Racing
The global pandemic has brought an economic standstill around the world. In addition to the effects on the economy, public gatherings and events are prohibited. This means racing has been halted. As Personal Watercraft racing is a discretionary sport, we expect that there is potential for, at least, a short term impact on the racing economy. IJSBA created this sport in the late 1970s, we brought you the first World Championship, and we remain the world’s entity that combines all factions of the Personal Watercraft Sport into an organized body that shows the public what watercraft and the watercraft community is capable of accomplishing. IJSBA will continue to support the sport, service the needs of the competitors, all global race organizers, the OEM producers, and aftermarket industry as a whole. We are prepared to meet this challenge and will do so. Once racing starts back up, all of our resources will be there to get things back where they were and then on to bigger than ever. In the meantime, our resources are here to help through the current situation.
There is a silver lining to this cloud. This pandemic will end and probably much sooner than the naysayers predict. The current low fuel prices and low interest rates are the conditions which allow watercraft racing to flourish. Many economists are predicting rebound activity by Quarter 3 and more solid footing by Quarter 4 which puts a palpable expectation of a respectable World Finals with a degree of stable events preceding it. IJSBA believes this is not only a possible outcome but the most likely one. So, as soon as you can, go out and ride your watercraft, turn around some buoys, and fill up those big diesel trucks at the lowest prices in years.
IJSBA Plan Of Action
Most restrictions on group gatherings are set to expire mid April. IJSBA has made a plan of action that takes into account a start date for racing of both April and May in countries so affected by restrictions. IJSBA has applies for several grants and loans available to us through State and Federal Agencies throughout the United States. Where these applications are successful, we will offset the costs of IJSBA participation including World Finals. Through grants, short term loans, follow through with previous IJSBA accounts receivable, consolidating events, and streamlining World Finals, along with securing early commitments to World Finals, we believe we will stabilize the sport sufficient to continue a sustainable racing economy. 2021 is the 40th Anniversary World Finals and we will make every effort to ensure that the event has the turnout, prestige, and driving force that an event of that significance should have. We request all IJSBA partners to reach out to us immediately to discuss how we can work together to have recovery be a reality. We will report every step of the way as we reach a milestone in securing stability.
Organizer Plan and Mitigating Measures
In addition to reaching out to IJSBA for teamwork, IJSBA is asking all organizers to work on their measures for how their first post crisis race will transition through predictable obstacles. IJSBA recently posted a trans communicable disease mitigation policy. This policy was in response to a request from several permitting authorities that wanted to see a written plan of action for how we would apply disease prevention demands to the specific operational nature of our sport. We expect these measures to stay in place throughout the 2020 race season and hope that all organizers and competitors have familiarized themselves with this policy to figure out the best way to abide by it while minimizing the impact on the enjoyment of a competition event.
IJSBA is further developing an interim set of guidelines to start racing back up in this 2020 season. It is likely that things will not return to normal as quickly as they changed. For this, we anticipate regulatory bodies will request that initial events are limited to small gatherings such as the initial restrictions of gatherings less than 250 people. We are requesting that organizers review the entries and category participation for their first event in 2019. Take this amount and assume the participation will be cut by at least 30%. Then multiply each individual competitor by 4 (racer, two holders, and one additional supporter). This will be your expected number of people attending per day. Example: A 2019 race that had 125 competitors would be figured to have 87.5 competitors in 2020 (125 X .70). The expected number of attendees would be 350 (87.5 X 4). If the total amount of expected attendees is more 200, IJSBA requests that the organizer stagger the categories so that each day no more than 75% of the expected attendees are present each day. This may mean running Runabouts on Saturday and Ski on Sunday or other such measures. We will also suggest that organizers not allow on site registration for the first event. IJSBA suggests that organizers make it a priority to select staff who already cohabitate and can share the same lodging at the event. Pits should be separated.
The formula above is generally intended for Closed Course type of events. Endurance based events such as P1 Aqua X, which has the entire field running in stages, and can stagger presence more easily, should prepare their own mitigation measure. Similarly, Powerboat Nationals, which offers only a small subset of categories, should prepare their own mitigation measure. Freestyle only events, such as those produced by Iceman, should employ a strict social distancing policy. IJSBA realizes these are inconvenient requests, but, if we do our part to be part of the solution then we will get things back to normal that much quicker.
Organizers, we hare here for you. Plan a conservative and sustainable season and we will ensure that the overall plan for 2020 racing works with your needs.
Prior to the crisis, IJSBA had secured tentative agreements for a more substantial relationship with our very supportive World Finals Host, Lake Havasu City. World Finals 100% will happen so long as there are no restrictions on gatherings. If there are size restrictions, we will restructure the event so that phases of competitors, families, and spectators can come in, enjoy the event, and leave at different times to ensure compliance with any such restrictions placed upon us. Deposits are made, permit applications are pending, grandstands are secured, and all measures are being made as normally required to produce the event.
World Finals will be proportional to the recovery. If there has only been a slight recovery from the crisis, World Finals, we will reduce the production accordingly so that prices can be reduced and the barriers to participation can be, likewise, reduced. The bulk of the production equipment (i.e. trailer, buoys, starting gate, life sled, etc) are already stored in Lake Havasu City. Trophies are made, locally, in Gilbert, Arizona by Master Designs. All merchandise for the event and much of the rider support gear is produced by our partner of decades, IMS Shirt Werx, in nearby Lake Elsinore. IMS has confirmed they will providing these services in 2020 and will adjust to whatever changes need to be made to the program. IJSBA is 100% confident to tell you to make your travel plans now and buy your flights while prices are low because there are zero plans to cancel the event. There WILL be a World Finals and no competitor who participated in the 2019 World Finals will be denied participation in 2020.
IJSBA is asking our regular partners to reach out to us the week of March 23rd to discuss the current landscape and how we can best move forward with some realistic goals for us to meet together in the remaining 2020 calendar year. We would like to know about sales goals, how those have been adjusted for the 2020 outlook, and what IJSBA can do to get you to where you need to be to minimize disruption in your businesses. IJSBA will provide increased presence for your products and services. As this will likely be a plan we develop on a case by base basis, we will leave this section simply by reiterating the request to reach out to us next week. In the meantime, we are researching several models for business development, during a crisis, for niche communities.
Some of our partners have unpaid balances with IJSBA. While the payments will need to be paid at some point, and our overall sport survival plan includes the collection of these amounts, there are no current plans to request immediate payment. The survival of the sport depends on the existence of our partners producing goods and services for Personal Watercraft Racing. Racing wont survive without you and you wont survive without racing. We are in this together and, by sticking together, we will endure the temporary challenges we face. What we are asking you to do is to maintain contact with us, work out a tentative plan as to how we move forward, and focus on making the most out of what we CAN do instead of focusing on what we cannot do. Communicating with us is key to ensuring our mutual success and avoiding difficult circumstances that can be caused by the unknown.
IJSBA President Personal Comments
As President of the IJSBA, I take my responsibility to this organization as my utmost priority. I first joined IJSBA, as a competitor, in 1992. I have developed long term relationships with many of you throughout the last 28 years. Many of you sponsored me in my day and, I was also a customer to many of you. Some of you in the community and I have butted heads and have had some serious differences of opinions on how things should be handled. Some tensions and argument are common in sports administration and whether we have been long term friends or at constant disagreement, I want to let you know I am unconditionally committed to you as a member of this community. Anyone in the IJSBA family that needs support or services should please reach out to my office to make your request. I will also be reaching out to you to make sure we are connected and trying to bring as many people together to best make it through the current pandemic. Every single person in the Personal Watercraft community is important to IJSBA and important to me and every one of you will get my very best.
At the end of the winter, shortly after Kings Cup, I reduced my IJSBA workload to tend to some personal health matters and to frontload some of my own businesses and law practice. The goal was to allow me more undistracted time in the spring and summer to focus on creating new opportunities for the sport. I had planned on using participation in the new World Series to be a driving force in the evolution of IJSBA and the direction of the rules. The last month saw a lot of you requesting assistance with some new business models, insurance restructuring, and help with some permitting requirements. Then came the request for trans communicable disease policies. I do know I have some old emails to return and am behind on a couple of things. As it sits, us Californians are ordered to shelter in place so, I am tethered to the laptop surrounded by files and bankers boxes for the foreseeable future. Please be patient and I will do my best to be completely caught up by the end of the weekend.
Since my tenure as the guy in the IJSBA, the sport has made it through several downed economies, travel restrictions, fuel cost spikes, hurricanes, windstorms, surprise environmental restrictions, earthquakes, amoeba in the water, and numerous other challenges. We will make it through this one as well. I mentioned togetherness several times in this bulletin because that needs to be the theme of how we think over the next couple of months. So lets charge on together and keep PWC Racing the most exciting sport in the world. If you are also on lockdown, look up some IJSBA clips on Youtube, blow the dust off an old Bud Tour VHS Tape, and get motivated to conquer 2020.
At any time, please reach out:
Scott Frazier, IJSBA
714-751-8695 (let it ring because it is forwarding to my cell phone)
790 Main Street
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019