Spy Holds Week-Long Boot Camp For Retailer/Consumer Contest Winners

Spy’s 7th annual Boot Camp has become a tradition for the company and its retailers, and TransWorld Business had a chance to meet this year’s contest winners at La Jolla Shores and take part in one aspect of the six-day event. Still recovering from a weekend in LA for X Games, boot campers spent Monday with seven-time national champion Jeremy McGrath.

Surf Diva held an official surf lesson for the campers, and company founder Izzy Tihayni was out on the beach to show support for the students and Spy. Spy team members Mike Losness, Luke Davis and  Kanoa Igarashi were also on hand to give some pointers. Fran Richards, Spy’s vice president of marketing, made the trek down to La Jolla from the company’s Carlsbad-based offices.

"Boot Camp gives our Spy action sports enthusiasts' unprecedented access to meet, befriend and participate in their favorite sports with Spy's roster of world-class professional athletes,” says Richards. “They will leave with the most memorable experiences from Spy Boot Camp.”

Campers will be at the Carlsbad Lagoon today, wrapping up the week with a wakeboarding session and a final party at TransWorld headquarters. We caught up with the bootcampers to find out how the trip was going, and what they will take away from the experience.

Stef Shedek, 21,
Shop: McGrath Power Sports, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Position: Parts

Stef Shedek, Spy Bootcamper
Stef Shedek, Spy Bootcamper

“I’ve gotten to experience a lot of new stuff, but I am really into motocross, so it was cool to meet McGrath. A lot of the things I’ve picked up I’ll be able to use, especially on the motocross side of things. Our shop sells sunglasses and goggles. We are big on boating in Iowa so I should be able to apply some of the things I learned from wakeboarding, too.”

Drew Milliken, 24
Shop: Island Snow Board Shop, Kelowna, B.C., Canada
Position: Assistant Manager, 5 years

Drew Milliken, Spy Bootcamper
Drew Milliken, Spy Bootcamper

“The surf stuff – I will definitely take what I’ve learned back with me. We get a lot of Australian customers that come up for snow season and they are always telling me stories so now I can relate more to them. I think just getting a chance to meet everyone from the company has been great. It’s a solid company. Seeing the Men’s Street Finals at X Games was pretty cool too, but surfing was the best hands down.”

Cassie Hudson, 23
Shop: Mainland Skate & Surf, Concord, Calif.
Position: Assistant Manager, 1 year

Cassie Hudson, Bootcamper
Cassie Hudson, Bootcamper

“It’s way more motivating and liberating for me as a manager, and helps me to want to be better at my job and really kick it up a notch. I think you just get stuck in a groove at work and this really takes you out of that and reminds me why I work in this industry. Especially in this economy, the fact that they could still do something like this for seven of us is amazing. I’m appreciative that I could be a part of this. Just getting to talk to all the different people at Spy, it’s really cool to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes.”

Matty O’Connell, 23
Shop: SpareParts, Regina, SK, Canada
Position: Manager, 2 years

Matty O'Connell, Spy Bootcamper
Matty O'Connell, Spy Bootcamper

“I’ve definitely gained respect for the company. When you get a notion of how many people are actually working at their office and and all the different jobs it takes, you really gain more respect for the industry. Getting to meet all the people and talk to everybody solidified the fact that this is the industry I want to work in. With everybody back home wearing a suit and tie, sometimes I wondered if this was the right decision, but when you get to do stuff like this it really drives it home.”

Ryan Cameron, 24
Shop: Jack’s Surfboards, Corona Del Mar
Position: Store Manager, 5 years

Bootcamper Ryan Cameron
Bootcamper Ryan Cameron

“I’m so close to the industry, I’m kind of already attached to it. All these West Coast guys [from Spy], I’ve known them for a while and they are all so nice and so engaging. All the team riders like Mike Losness and Jeremy McGrath are very genuine and want to help people out so that’s a good model. When you create a bridge between the kids and a company that is the best thing. If you give a shop kid a pair of sunglasses, that kid is going to be stoked for life.”

Consumer Winner: John Bennett, 26,
Manchester, New Hampshire

Bootcamper John Bennet
Bootcamper John Bennett

“I grew up riding wake, and worked in a local shop while I was in school, so I got that inside look at what these guys do all the time. The whole experience meeting everyone at Spy has been great. They’ve been really supportive and really nice, and it’s been fun to hang out with them in the downtime.”