During his presentation "For the Love of Wake Sports" at the Discover Boating Experience during six 2020 NMMA boat shows, Zenon Bilas noticed a worrying trend among the audience. Few consumers knew anything about safety as it relates to wake sport driving and equipment. Bilas has set a course to change this.
"There's very little information available on how to safely tow someone doing wake sports, no matter what kind of boat. The stories I heard at the shows were unsettling—some downright shocking, such as intentionally throwing riders off a tube," said Bilas, eight-time national barefoot waterskiing champion. "That's why I've expanded my wake sport presentation to include marine industry insiders. It'll help them sell more boats, upgrades and accessories, and increase value for their customers while keeping them safe."
Bilas noted the other common misconceptions among consumers is that all tow ropes are the same and that they can be attached anywhere on the boat, including a cleat. "The tow point is a big factor and crucial for safety," he said.
Bilas has three major speaking topics: Driving Matters, Technique Matters and Equipment Matters. Each can be adapted for a specific audience and venue, such as boat shows, dealer meetings, in-store promotions, clubs and organizations.
In addition to wake sports, Bilas' career has included experience in marine sales and boat testing for magazines. This gives him a unique perspective.
"I understand the importance of aligning a buyer's expectations with the right available boat," he said. "Providing salespeople with the ability to speak about wake sports from a position of authority can be a powerful sales tool."