AWSA membership is now well under 10,000. On the west coast, tournament attendance is at an all-time low. In the last 10 years the number of tournaments has also plummeted in the west. These facts are indisputable. Competitive water skiing is in the worst condition of my lifetime.
BallOfSpray’s Google Analytics data paints a different picture. Before I state the numbers you have to understand that BallOfSpray is barely a grain of sand on the beach that is the internet. The only people that read this site are interested in water skiing enough to search the internet to find a web site about it. The casual water skier does not spend a lot of time on the internet reading the latest news and goings on.
In the last month BallOfSpray was visited by over 50,000 unique visitors*. In the last year nearly 6 million pages have been viewed. California accounts for almost 9% of the unique visitors in the US even though the state is in severe drought. Texas accounts for 7% and then Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, and Washington all account for 4% to 5%. Water Ski Mag subscription data shows a similar distribution.
What does any of this mean? If BallOfSpray has at least 5 times as much readership as the AWSA has membership how do you interpret that? I believe this shows that water skiing is much healthier than competitive water skiing.
Additional BallOfSpray info: Traffic in terms of page views has been plus or minus a few percent for about 4 years. Over the last 12 months traffic is up 3.66 % over the previous 12 months. I assume weather is responsible more than half of that variance. Most surprising for me is that new members are joining the forum at a much higher rate than previous years (I have not calculated a metric).
*Unique Visitors is not a perfect metric but it is an accepted standard. I cross check all my stats with server statistics reports and the forum software reports. No matter how I rehash the data => the Google data always seems to make sense.