EASY roots - a brief history of our company, pt. I


I remember that day as if it were yesterday. One of the most important events in my life. In the winter of 2001, exactly 20 years ago, I registered a business under the following name: "EASY-windsurfing". Me - a freshman, 25 years old, just graduated from economics studies, with some full-time job in marketing, no experience... But I knew already then - and it was probably at the end of my studies - that would want my life to be intertwined with windsurfing somehow.

My older colleague from the Poznan sailing club, Witek "Dzida" Dudzinski, played a huge part in this dream of mine. I have been watching his windsurfing and sporting efforts with admiration since I was a little boy, a trainee in sailing. Dzida was my mentor and still is, in every sense. I am very grateful to him for all he has contributed to my life. I still remember our first regatta together, raceboard training at the Kiekrz lake near Poznań, his help and advice with equipment...

First "business-windsurfing" ideas came to my mind in May 2000, during some windless afternoon on the beach in Rewa, near the Puck bay. I remember at that time, I could not take my eyes off the NEILPRYDE catalogue that I got my hands on. And let me remind you that those were the analog times: no smartphones and the only way to connect to the internet was through a modem. A catalog like that was something out of the ordinary. Beautifully published, fragrant - and the photos! I've always been a brand nut. I like the concept of brand, branding, equipment. I like to dig into these issues, learn more and more about them, keep up with news and technological developments. And so I had this Pryde catalogue in my hands, and that's when my mad side started to get the better of me. Millions of ideas were bustling in my head, including the desire to create my own collection of windsurfing accessories. The idea which from today's perspective was perhaps a little naive - straight from the land of youthful dreams. But when you're 25 and inexperienced, the heart easily trumps reason.

So I bought an industrial sewing machine, I redid my grandmother's garage, I researched materials and local suppliers. I asked my friend to help me out and we started to make some prototypes of uphauls, key tags, car boot wraps, board covers and other similar items. It wasn't too long before we discovered that our hopes for bright future would quickly fade with copying and handcrafting in Poland - in grandma's garage. China's sewing industry is crushing and the lack of investment capital was a true eye-opener. Thus EASY-windsurfing, at least as an accessory brand - died as quickly as it was born.

This is where Witek Dudzinski comes back to the pages of our story blowing wind into my sails once again. Witek suggested that this time I should take an interest in the distribution and sale of equipment, especially Internet sales. My heart started beating faster, I quickly looked into the subject to research the field in Poland. Several companies already had distribution and fledgling websites up and running at the time, including Energy Sports, ABC Windsurfing, Vento, and Board Sports. There were also four brick and mortar shops in Poznań - my hometown - alone: Grzegorz Myszkowski’s “Mysza” store, Adam Gerber’s Funsport, Oleja, Pajkos’ HiWind.
The market seemed saturated, but also quite niche when it came to selling and buying online.

We gave it a go. This time, I asked my IT friend, Tomek Stryczynski for help (Tomek, thank you for everything, including the logo!), we bought the easy-windsurfing.pl domain and started to work on an online shop. I still remember my parents' reaction and the look on their faces when the first phone bill arrived showing the Internet connection cost... The beginnings were crazy.

In our first season in 2001, we sold:

And then it just sort of went on from there..

To be continued...

P.S Who was seriously thinking about kitesurfing back then! And he who thought, gained ;)

Bartek Grzesiek, CEO and founder of EASY SURF