Save Princes Club from closing down

HipsupHipsup Posts: 57 Baller
edited October 2012 in News & Other Stuff
Princes Club is the best waterski/wakeboard facility in europe with 4 boat lakes and 2 cable tows just half an hour from central London. Over the years it has been the home of champions from Andy Mapple to Jodi Fisher, Nicole Arthur and Aaron Larkin. The Princes pro-am slalom event has hosted all the sports great and good over the years including Willie, Parrish, Cox, Ross, Rossi Beauchesne, Tgas, Travers, you name them and now it has all come to a sorry end.

Skiing has now closed at Princes and the doors of this once great club will be closing for good on November 8th. The owner has no interest in the sport and due to general mis-management over the last 5 years the club is making a huge loss and he's not prepared to bankroll it any longer. The trouble is he is also not prepared to talk to members to see what can be done to turn the club around or to sell it for a reasonable price to people willing to keep the business going. He is talking about selling it for redevelopment (unlikely) or just mothballing it and keeping the asset for his kids.

We are hoping we may be able to persuade him to change his mind by the strength of public opinion and have set up a petition site. If as many of you as possible could sign the petition we may just change his mind. Oh and If anyone has a spare £2.5-3m to spend just let us know as well!!!

the link is as follows

thanks ballers!!

[Deleted User]MattPricoHortonLeopoldBroussardBulldog


  • SpeshSpesh Posts: 93 Baller
    I have sent you a private message regarding Princes.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 31,525 Administrator
    @Hipsup how are the funds going to be used?

    If this is a well organized and thought out campaign I will put all of my social media assets behind it.

    Send me an email. [email protected]

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  • JordanJordan Posts: 1,277 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Should try to work out a lease arrangement with the guy and operate as a non-profit club.

    Better deal for the guy than having it just sit there.
  • HipsupHipsup Posts: 57 Baller
    @Jordan Thanks - you are right, that would be logical. But at the moment he won't consider it and says he'd rather close the doors!!
  • JordanJordan Posts: 1,277 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    That's too bad. I could see why he would want to sell for redevelopment, but if that's not available he may soften over a lease arrangement.

    I hope that this works out for you guys.
  • HipsupHipsup Posts: 57 Baller
    Thanks. Yes, we're hoping he may change his mind.

    But as things stand the doors close in 2 weeks and all the assets will be sold.
    @hipsup As a business owner, I think you may be overlooking or oversimplifying Bill's position. I dont know how long he has owned or operated the club but it sounds like at minimum, five years and maybe much much longer. Things happen in business just like things happen in family life. Feelings get hurt, lines get crossed, money comes and goes and not always in the right way. People dont pay their bills, people are disrespectful of other peoples property and often, possible without even knowing it, can step on toes. If the club is operating at a loss month after month, why should he keep it open? If he cant make the numbers work, what makes you think you can? If he can afford to shutter the place and wait out a better income opportunity, he may not need the money and if he put his heart into it and over the years felt unappreciated or slighted by those who benefitted from his efforts, he may be doing it to payback those he felt slighted by. Of course I am just speculating, I have NO IDEA, but I know from my own experience that the above issues can and do happen and may give you some insight on taking a different approach to Bill. Instead of a poll to chastise him for closing the place, why not a huge thank you for what he has done and a pledge from the community to help him in the future? Just a thought.
    Doug Roberts San Diego, CA ski rating: 2 balls
  • HipsupHipsup Posts: 57 Baller
    @SDNAH2OSKIER of course you are right- I accept there is always two sides to all arguments. In many ways Bill has been really good to the members because he has kept the club open for much longer than he needed to. On the other hand he has done many things to lose and alienate members and overall membership is now down 2/3rds from the numbers when he took over. Without wishing to bore you about the details there are specific reasons why the club now loses money and it could be quite easily turned around over time.

    True to say there is a complete mistrust between the owner and members and I'm sure he feels let down by us as much as we do by him. Trouble is he has never talked to us, never met us and refuses to open any sort of dialogue with us. The sad reality is that he chose to buy the club and his decisions have turned a business that broke even into one that loses money. He is a very wealthy man and whilst I don't expect him to keep ploughing money in to a failing business I do think he should give us the chance to keep the club open in some form or rent it to us.

    The club has been a waterski venue for more than 50 years and has a rich history. I guess it boils down to whether you believe it is right for one wealthy individual to be able to play god and just close it down on a whim.

    For those of us that love the sport and want to ensure that it has a future we need to make sure that clubs like Princes are protected. I have nothing against Bill and in many ways I feel sorry for him but the purpose of the petition is not to slag the guy off but to hopefully show him how much the club means to us all and to maybe open some form of dialogue.
    My post was meant to consider taking a different approach with him. I am completely sympathetic to your plight, and I wish you the very best. I am just saying you know he is a crotchety old bagger up for a good slagging off??? Is that how you would say it? I would just consider some alternative techniques. Old rich dudes are peculiar and you never know what might work......
    Doug Roberts San Diego, CA ski rating: 2 balls
  • HipsupHipsup Posts: 57 Baller
    @SDNAH20SKIER Thanks - wise words.
    "Old bagger up for a good slagging off" - Not quite right, but v funny! Love you yanky dudes!
  • colo_skiercolo_skier Posts: 784 Solid Baller
    "Silly old bugger who's up for some good ole slagging off" However that form of communication does make you feel better it seldom has the desired result. As the King in Amadeus said " He speaks with passion and what is needed is speaking with persuasion"
    Not sure I know what I am doing. The boat goes I follow. Trying to perfect the deep water start. Squirrel!
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,286
    "The club has been a waterski venue for more than 50 years and has a rich history. I guess it boils down to whether you believe it is right for one wealthy individual to be able to play god and just close it down on a whim."

    Actually, I do believe it's right. He owns it. Regardless of it's history, It's his to do with as he pleases. If it's not a viable business for him, it's not a viable business for him. Unless you can pony up the $ to buy it from him, there's not much you can do about it.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • OSSKIOSSKI Posts: 82 Baller
    Plus JB Ski
    Log sets and chart your progress with the Swervetracker app, at
  • HipsupHipsup Posts: 57 Baller
    @SHANEH - Ultimately he does own it and in law, of course, he can do what he wants with it, however I don't think its necessarily that simple. We have seen a lot of this lately in the uk with football clubs (soccer to you guys) where new owners have come in and saddled clubs with debt, run them to ruin with overspending on giant ego trips and then put them into receivership or administration.
    The law says that the clubs are owned by the bank or the rich man on his ego trip but in truth they are owned by the people that pay to watch their team every week. I'm not saying a ski club is truly comparative but there are similarities.
    Clearly, John Henry would not be allowed to just shut down the Red Sox or Liverpool football club if he wanted to and whilst we don't have the lobbying power of those supporters we can stand up for ourselves and try to make sure that the club always remains a skiing venue in some form.
    At least, thats our aim.
    Thanks to you all for your interest.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,974 Mega Baller
    Sell "sets" at the club to individuals world wide, to be redeemable at future date. In this way most people who buy a set will never use it, but some will, and atleast in theory you raise some money

    Private groupon.
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,313 Mega Baller
    I know I would buy some sets. I know the impact that club has had on a very good friend of mine. I would hate to see it go. I have always wanted to go ski there when I go to Europe. Now that may never happen.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,974 Mega Baller
    @MattP - exactly - I would definately drop a few hundred up front to "prebuy" sets at princes, at the least if they could ensure some private owner could pull some sets on the lakes, I would consider that an investment.

    In ways I am surprised more US waterskiers don't form "travel co-ops" organized to hit a group of ski sites in an area such as London, prearranged so you'd have boats/drivers/beds/lunch. I'd sell the gf on that for a vacation.
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,286
    I'd sell the gf FOR that vacation. :)
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • otisgotisg Posts: 87 Baller
    I am with Shane on this one.

    It is no mystery to me as to "why" Karl Marx found a home in the U.K.

    The Right of Private Property to do with as you wish was the cornerstone of this republic.
    Anybody here in the N.E. who has tried to buy an appropriate piece of property and dig a ski lake knows the high cost of the "Do-gooders" who think that they have the right to tell you what to do with it. And then bury you with regulatory B.S.

    I am sorry to say that I hear the echo of that here.
  • HipsupHipsup Posts: 57 Baller
    @otisg - haha . I can assure you that I am neither a marxist or a "do-gooder" but I do believe there should be some controls on development and land use, otherwise we would have chaos.

    In this case, the owner bought a ski club and we are just trying to make sure that it stays a ski club. I don't think thats unreasonable. Whether he wants to continue owning it or sells it is up to him, but we will fight any proposed change of use or closure.
  • bogboybogboy Posts: 699 Solid Baller
    Maybe the owner of the club is being saddled with additional environmental restrictions, or unreasonable requirements. I can speak from experience that we have to make a constant presents at certain city counsel meetings to preserve successful business, and what Otis's said.
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,313 Mega Baller
    Lets us Americans think about this situation this way. What if Okee. were being shut down. No more skiing there ever again. What would you do to change this outcome? Yes, I know it is owned by the city but they can still shut a park down. I think that these two locations have a very similar relationship to their respective countries.
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,286
    I realize Okee and Princes are similar. BUT, one IS owned by the public and one is private. I just don't agree with the public trying to force a private owner to do what THEY want with HIS property.

    If the greater good is to have Princes open, then there should be a push for the public to buy it and create a public park out of it, much like Okee. If the city or county(or whatever you call it in GB) can't make those $ #s work, then there's not a lot of options here. But you can't force a private owner to do something with his property that he doesn't want to.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • otisgotisg Posts: 87 Baller
    Hipsup - You (as group) should have thought ahead and bought the place.
    Presumably you knew in advance that it was "For Sale".
    You didn't act.
    Someone else did.
    Now you are whining here and elsewhere trying to invoke a Mob mentality (never pretty) to prevent the rightful owner from doing as he sees fit with HIS property.
    Put on your Big Boy pants and stop saying disparaging things about the owner and see if there is a way for the members to buy the place.
    His profit will be the price of your intransigence on the first go-round.
    There is a good lesson here for all of us.
    If you really care - Don't wait until the proverbial horses are out of the barn and long gone before reacting.
  • LeopoldLeopold Posts: 45 Baller
    I understand you very well Hipsup, I guess we see things different here in Europe. There are regulations about land use, so he bought a sports use land and if the County or Goberment does not change it, he can not do what he wants with the land.

    Anyway, last time I was in Princess it was full of people, most in the cable wakeboard and in the gym, but I remember that I thought it should be a good business... and we ate quite good there, one of the best lasagna of my life and quite cheap.
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,313 Mega Baller
    How I understand it. The land the club is on can't be used for much anything. The water is an emergency reservoir for Heathrow airport fire services. The lakes will always be there. Someone might as well use it to ski on.
  • MaryTeeMaryTee Posts: 25 Baller
    @hipsup...Did you not know the property was for sale? Could you and other members have bought it before he did?
  • otisgotisg Posts: 87 Baller
    Lasagna??? In England?
    Now that's a problem.
    What happened to Bangers & mash?
    Has a better ring to it. Kind of like Ballers.......
  • HipsupHipsup Posts: 57 Baller
    @MaryTee - No, the members did not know about the sale at the time.
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