Hello Philippe and welcome to Spotyride! Can you introduce yourself?
Hello, so i’m Philippe Sirech, I’m 53 years old, I’ve been doing wakeboarding for over 25 years now, with a Wakeboard World Champion title i’ve won late in my career.
Impressive! But tell me, where does this love of riding come from? When did you start this vocation?
I started very young in skiing at the age of 3 because my father was a ski instructor and at the time it was (with surfing) the only sport that existed. I’m talking about 50 years ago.
So I think that my love of riding comes from there, I did a lot of ski racing being young, going through slalom and moguls, then I naturally went on snowboarding. I was also an alpine hunter during my national service where I was able to get my diploma of high mountain guide (BAM) and ski instructor (BESF). Back in my civilian life, I was able to continue my passion for skiing and extreme sports like the Supercross on a motorcycle, the Freestyle Ski in a Pipe, and I discovered water skiing, sport that pleased me and brought me quite naturally to the wakeboard that arrived in France in 1994
You had to follow a particular path to get to that level?
At the very beginning, I was part of the regional alpine ski teams and I was also part of the BOSS club of Saint Lary in the Pyrenees, then I evolved according to the period and the practice of the different sports practiced.
I always had a ranking in the middle of the table, never at the top but never the last, I had a lot of blows where I sometimes won a competition when I was young but it is true that all my titles as French European and World Champion arrived late and in my last discipline that was the Wakeboard …
It is still an impressive sport, but not necessarily the most publicized at the competitive level. We can ask ourselves the question, can we live from wakeboarding professionally?
Yes, we can live on wakeboarding, but you have to exile yourself to the country that invented it, I mean the United States. I made this sport my passion which allowed me to live it but in a roundabout way by creating UNLEASHED WAKEBOARD MAGAZINE, the only French and international magazine at the time that talked about this discipline, and that allowed me to travel as a media in all the competitions in which I also participated. I also invested in it by being captain of the French wakeboard teams from 1998 to 2004, and I was also president of the various French associations that we’ve developed around this practice since its arrival in France, the AFW and the WWA-France.
I suppose that, being such a technically demanding sport, wakeboarding requires regularity and assiduity to maintain its body and improve its technique. How much practice did you have every week back then?
It is true that I spent a lot of time on the water and out of the water training to get and maintain good level. This sport is very challenging because it uses all the muscles of your body, it’s not like in Snowboard where you just need a good pair of legs, there you need everything.
Strength and stamina are very important for this sport, but you must also be a good sprinter because the race runs are rather short between 1 and 2mn no more but everything goes very fast and if you are not toned, forget! So the training is daily gym and we went riding between 4 and 5 times a week minimum sometimes more.
Do you miss the competitive scene?
Yes, the competition is lacking to all high-level athletes because finding your opponents in a friendly atmosphere in each championship and launching challenges, it has no price. But with age you settle down a little but not too much!
So you’re a wakeboard world champion? Has this changed your life? And that justifies your journey?
Yes, that’s right, but it is true that we have more fame when we are world champion in football... Wakeboarding is not yet sufficiently publicized to be an element that will change your life forever. However it helped me to get my VISA O-1 to work in the United States in Florida for 5 years, the best experience of my life. It also helped me quite a bit in my professional life and also where I am to this day.
Do you have any other sporting ambitions for the future?
Yes, do the pro golf tour! No, I’m joking, of course, it’s way too late for that, but it could be one of my big regrets because golf is really the most ungrateful sport I’ve ever played in my life, to be really good, it is years of intensive training that you must do if you really want to reach the level!
What has been your career path to date?
At the professional level I have more a technical background with degrees in Electronics and Electrical Engineering, I did my job in this field in parallel with my sports career for about ten years because the sports I practiced were not very rewarding .
Your passion for wakeboarding doesn’t stop there. You are now co-founder of a Start up. How did you come up with this idea?
And yes as what everything happens, the idea came to us with Sophie who accompanies me to life as well as to the stage during our time in the United States. I had with Unleashed wakeboard magazine released the World Guide to Wake Spots in the World in 2013 and 2014, a paper guide that references more than 600 wake structures, but was very hard to keep up to date because of its printed version. So I decided to switch to an interactive virtual map, where we put all the user-viewable data directly on their computer or mobile phone, which was a real success, and we had over 150,000 unique visitors at the time.
This is where the idea of creating the Spotyride Startup came from, to enable an innovative digital solution to help sports and water recreation structures in their daily management by developing a solution that will enable them to make online booking, communication and marketing, planning and stock management, all in one to update their information in real time and to be reachable 24/7 by practitioners at first.
When was your Start-up created? Can you describe the concept in a few words? And who is your start-up for?
Our startup was created in 2018 and we took 2 years to develop the SPOTYRIDE solution which is now available as an application and a web platform. Spotyride, will allow the practitioner to simplify his research, no more need to spend hours on Google to find the dream spot, the application allows to identify from his mobile and in 3 clicks all activities and water sports or water sports events (Wakeboarding, Water skiing but also Surfing, Kitesurfing, Canoeing, Paddle, Sailing, Water walks, Fishing, Diving, Canoeing, Rafting, etc.) offered by the bases of water sports and leisure in the world , which are already referenced in the application. (+ 2000 structures in 53 countries to date)
What’s the big deal?
Thanks to a dedicated access, all essential information is updated in real time directly by water sports and leisure professionals (proposed activities, booking of time slots and equipment, weather information, prices, promotion, coaching, itinerary, events, etc.) and by specialized shops and everything is accessible online or on its mobile in a few clicks …
More than a Spot or Shop Geolocation Solution, Spotyride aims to be the future personal assistant, to facilitate management and access to all sports and water sports facilities
Why did you choose Montpellier? Is Montpellier a good place to develop your business? Were you accompanied?
Montpellier is like Florida in France. We found a bit of what we had left in the west, but Montpellier is mainly part of a hyper active region that accompanies startups in the field of innovation that’s why this decision.
In three words, how would you describe Spotyride?
Intuitive, functional, essential if you are a sports fan like me!
How do you see the future with Spotyride. What are your ambitions?
We want to become the reference in water sports, to embark several million users before attacking the terrestrial sports also in demand. Our ambitions are also to develop internationally with a representation in each country in order to be as close as possible to the structures to allow us to reach a permanent exchange that will evolve the Spotyride solution according to everyone’s expectations and at less cost.