Having risen to gain a position as the number one ranked British pro-slalom windsurfer, there are few as well placed as Ant Baker in gauging the challenges facing those within the industry.
So with nearly three decades of experience to call upon, he has now taken a bold step forward in teaming up with experienced PR and sponsorship specialist Anne Powys-Keck to forge a new company, 77 Sports Management.
Among the Goring-based duo’s key aims is to promote a new kite surfing tour event featuring a host of action-packed racing, which kicks off on home turf on Saturday, September 22.
In addition to managing the interests of a wide-range of professional sports personalities, the company is also set to introduce a new kite surfing discipline (stand-up kiting) in which paddleboards blend with kites.
This month’s event will have some impressive brand support from Ant’s older brother Nik, who is more than a little handy in the water himself, having formerly been a world windsurfing champion.
Feeling confident about the new venture, Ant, who also run a watersports coaching academy, said: “We wanted to create something that everyone could get involved in, we didn’t just want it to be something we just invited professionals down to – there are some really good kite surfers round here already.
“It’s one of the fastest-growing sports there is and the reason why we’re going for the stand-up kiting is that it’s something exciting and a new discipline.”
Taking the inspiration for the new management company name from his race sail number of 77, the 35 year-old believed the firm is a perfect extension of what has been a life-long passion.
“When I was about six my dad got a surfboard and it pretty much started from there – it just seemed the easiest thing for us taking it up.
“Then when I got to about 14, my dad just caught me messing around on a board and said did I want to be serious about doing something that I loved which would enable me to travel around the world, so that’s why I’ve been windsurfing ever since,” revealed Ant, whose first major championship swiftly followed in his mid teens and has never looked back. He added: “My brother has been amazing, you can’t put a price tag on how much Nik has helped me out, he’s a big part of what I do.”
Sharing his enthusiasm, Anne, who has a significant background in national sporting PR, sponsorship and athlete management, hoped the new enterprise with Ant would have a real impact.
She said: “When I moved back down here to my home area I wanted to continue in my industry – I’d been involved with marketing for major action sports brands for many years but didn’t want to have to be based in London, so I thought it would be a great opportunity with Anthony. It’s good to be helping put Goring on the map.”
- For more details of the Kitesurf and SUK open taking place at Goring Gap on September 22, visit www.facebook.com/77sportsmanagement