Exploring the new possibilities for games

When we set out to start WOO, our goal was never to build a tracker to measure jump height in kiteboarding. The thought of it seemed lame, boring, repeatable.  We’d been warned that if you’re going to start a company, you’d better have a concept worth giving up a lot  for to make it happen.

So as we brainstormed around the potential for WOO, we looked for something that fascinated us – something worth quitting our jobs to pursue. The idea we landed on was simple: What if we could turn kiteboarding, action sports, and perhaps other parts of our lives, into games?

The Magic of Games

Games have the ability to turn the mundane into magic. By giving someone an objective, rules, and creative freedom, a simple activity can become a joyful, flow-inducing adventure. Simply giving someone a ball to kick is rather boring. But add a goal, rules, teams, leagues, and kicking a ball becomes the foundation for an obsession.

We believe that the world completely underestimates the power of games.  So our goal is simple: bring more games into the world, and creating more playful moments in everyone’s life. It’s a vision that immediately sparked our passion and resonated with our hearts. It was something we’d be willing to give up a lot for.

The First Iteration

Now it hasn’t exactly been a smooth ride since – starting a business is never easy, and we’ve hit our fair share of bumps in the road. Regardless, driven by our passion and love for games, we’ve plowed through countless challenges and are beyond happy to see the excitement in our riders day in and day out. We feel that we’ve fulfilled a small part of our vision, even if just for the tight-knit community of kiteboarding.

Yet, somehow we still feel like we’re missing the mark.  Yes, games are exciting, but that word somehow does not capture and reflect the essence of what we saw in the WOO community as it grew rapidly over the past years. The term game sounds rather mechanic, rule driven, serious.  Through observing our community (and ourselves, as we are very active members of this community), we saw less of what we would call a serious game, but instead a very sincere, honest and real expression of joy, fun, presence.  

The WOO Moment

Perhaps the best example is what we coined the WOO Moment – you went out with your buddies, wind picked up, and everyone was boosting.  Back on the beach after the session, while packing up, anticipation grows.  Did I get a PR?  You glance over to your friends, give them a confident look and perhaps a quick “had a big one, I think I got you today”.  Walk back into the parking lot, the banter continues.  Maybe it’s time to set expectations (“Didn’t feel it today, I think I should have taken the 10 instead of the 8”), maybe it’s time to be aggressive (“Man that was awesome!  I caught one updraft, huge!”), but there is always an element of community and mutual respect (“Saw you had a big one!  Also, Mike went huge today!  I’m quite sure he’ll get a PR”).  Finally, there is the moment you download the session, the WOO Moment.  You can’t always win, you can’t always have a PR, but literally every session has an element of reward, achievement, and progression.  Though, if you hit a PR, or a new milestone, kiters suddenly look like a soccer player scoring the game winning goal in the 94th minute of the World Cup.  Once posted, literally every session gets the love and recognition of the community, extending this feeling out long past the session, and building anticipation for the next.  It’s that moment of joy, fun and pure presence that defines WOO.

What we realized is that none of this indeed is serious, none of this feels like a game that is rigid, mechanic, all about winning or losing.  Instead, it’s a very sincere moment, where our inner child lets loose.  It’s not about the thing – the game – it’s about what we do and feel in this moment.  We immerse ourselves in the game.  We play.  We play a game where everyone wins.  We do what lies within human nature.  We forget what we have learned and go back to who we really are, present, full of energy and joy, full of zest for life.  

A Simple Objective

The game is still the means to create these moments of play, so we will continue to build games around the sport we love, but our mission is to bring as much of the magic of play into your life as we can, to make you play more!  That experience is what we want to create for you, this is what WOO is all about.  We haven’t changed our focus, but we’ve sharpened our pencil and narrowed it to that moment and experience of play, with the goal to bring this beautiful element of our lives to everyone.  It’s not just about those who can win the games, but for everyone, from pros to beginners, so that everyone can get that sense of achievement, reward, joy and fun.  Everybody gets to #PlayMore