Philip Horn is the person behind Liquid Sports. Philip and his Team have a successful distribution for different water sport brands in one of the biggest windsurfing markets. We met Philip long ago on the PWA race course, as he has been a professional windsurfer, and still very active nowadays on the water, nevertheless having to follow the business.
Dear Philip, you have been a very active windsurfer yourself with great results in your career. How long have you been windsurfing, and tells us more about your life as a pro windsurfer?
I started as a 13 years old kid during holidays with my parents and it hooked me up fast. From that moment I tried to catch every gust. At that time, I was learning on lakes, as I was leaving 3 hours far away from the sea site and could just travel on the weekend to the open sea. With 18 years I moved then to Hamburg and later to Kiel, so to the capital of windsurfing and Water sports.
After school and during my studies (I just was present in summer and when there was no wind) I started my first competitions and release that this a very attractive way to focus on the sport and using the sport to see the world. At that time, I tried to take place at as many competitions as possible and bit by bit I climbed up the ranking. It was fun to be more involved in the testing of brands, competing and cruising around. Of course, it was not the big money but, in the end, a fantastic time.
Now you are running the Distribution for Point-7 and other brands in Germany. When did you decide to get into the windsurfing business? How did the switch occur, and how did you decide to make your own business?
After I finish my university late with 29 years I wasn´t getting better in windsurfing and some younger kids learned much faster freestyle moves. That was the time where I thought about the future and how long I would be in the top the next years. At that time Knut Budig from Gaastra / Tabou (my sponsor at that time) offered me a full time as sales man in his company and I had the feeling that this is the logical next step. After working some years there I wanted to find my own way of business and started in 2008 my own company called Liquid Sports, with a telephone and lap top. For me working self-employed and in sales gave me the feeling of competition and it helped me a lot to know from the past a lot of people who are still in the business.
You are in the biggest market for windsurfing, but also maybe in one of the most challenging as a lot of windsurfing brands are German and based in Germany. How does that work out for you, in having to push such an exclusive and exotic product as Point-7? Well Germany is one of the biggest market but also a lot of brands are also based in Germany, so that the competition is pretty hard. The beginning with a more exotic brand is always a challenge but also nice to see when the small flower is starting to grow and bigger brands starting to work against you suddenly. P7 as a brand is well positioned and I guess a lot of people are just see how good the products are for a recent price.
We have proved to be winning lots of windsurfing tests on magazines, winning lots of events including the German championships titles few times, and being on the top at PWA events. What other marketing activities are important to have your clients be aware that Point-7 is a leader and innovative brand?
Yes defiantly. I it is always difficult to understand how marketing is working and what makes the numbers growing. In the end all different channels bring image to the brand and if people see that P7 is leading the highest competition level, the PWA, I guess it brings a lot of trust to the brand. Also if a smaller brand, like P7, is winning test it shows that the products are great. That brings still a big push to the brand.
Germany has the North Sea, and the Southern lakes. How do you find the market to be in the different areas of Germany?
Well there are different locations, but in the end all people want to have fun on the water, even we have waves in the north and lakes in the middle of Germany or in the south. Also, many windsurfers are traveling in vacations, so they need more than specific stuff for their spot. But of course, freeride is more in the focus on lakes father wave in the north.
You chose Kiel as a base for your business and home. How is it to be a Windsurfer in Kiel?
Yes defiantly, Kiel is for me a perfect base in Germany, I need from my office 3- 15 min. to the water depends on the wind direction. That allows me to go on the water before or after work without any stress and being in the sport and test the gear by myself. Also, my team loves all kind of Water sport and so we are all well educated about the material and the different sports elements of Water sports. Just the wintertime (January / February) is a bit tough here and grey, the rest is perfect, and I have also the feeling Kiel is getting more and more attractive for people who loves Water sports.
If you would choose to go back to racing, which would be your next event this year?
If I would go racing I would love to take place at Defi wind, I was there the last 2 years for 99 and P7 and it is for me the most amazing competition! Hopefully I can race there one time with real windy conditions.
You are going to be present in the Surfestival in Fehmarn from the 10-13th of May? Which equipment will you present, and what will be your plan for this event for your clients?
Yes, we will be there and first time with a big stand and we will present the whole range for P7. Also, we are planning with our Black sheep team a meeting, so it will be a real amazing and big event for P7.
What is Point-7 for you?
P7 is a very innovative and good-looking brand. The design attracts me from the beginning on and I love the black design, also the performance is on a high level which is for me important and makes me happy when I am out with my slalom gear and racing against other people.