This is an interesting topic, with several questions addressed.
I totally love kiteboarding, have for more than 5 years. I personally don't pay much attention to the top pros, I just love to ride.
In my past sport (racquetball) I was one of the top players in the country. I don't think people got into rb in the 80s cuz of anything I was doing. They did it cuz it was fun. I believe this about our sport too, it is THE most fun I have ever had (in sport). I don't need a pro boosting to get me into "the mood" or interested in the sport as a newbie, I just need 12 knots or more, and some time off. This is an interesting point of the conversation. (BTW racquetball died due to space/profit issues of health clubs... so please don't make a comparison, it also SUCKED as a spectator sport)
Who out there gets motivated to ride cuz a pro looks cool?, as opposed to its just fun as S$#$?
I am curious about that one.
Who honestly believes that without pros, new riders wouldn't be interested in getting into this sport?
I mean I am jo average for sure, and people (non-riders) that see us ride here in St. Pete are just captivated by a 15 foot backroll and you can hear the "AHHHH COOOLLL" coming from their mouths on the beach, with questions following when you hit the beach.
This sport rocks, at all levels, is my take. The pros are UNREAL, but the sport itself is so kicka##, that just boosting your first HUGE (6 footer
) is an adrenaline rush like no other.
I guess I am saying ANY rider influences our perceived reputation and could attract new riders, IMO. I personally don't think you have to be world class to turn people on or off to kiting. It has inherent appeal, as well as some possible unappealling traits if portrayed as a sport of reckless abandon.
I am just an average rider here in St. Pete. We don't even get pros here (guess we're not worthy?) so they sure don't influence me. My buds, having a great time, and loving the sport is what motivates me, 100%