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The Primi Naish Downwind Dash Series, currently in its fifth consecutive year,
takes advantage of Cape Town’s windy season between October and March every
year. The series hosts a weekly stand up paddling (SUP) ocean race of just over
10 kilometres from Milnerton Beach to Big Bay. This SUP series attracts novice,
intermediate and elite paddlers who race to beat their personal best race time
as well as a place on the podium in their division.
Race organiser Peter Petersen of Naish SUP, the importer and distributor of
Naish SUP boards for Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, started using the
BulkSMS Text Messenger in 2010 when he realised that an SMS alert
provided a much higher response rate than other forms of communication. Naish
SUP uses real time SMS notifications to keep SUP race participants aware of the
wind conditions and whether or not the event will take place.
For example, by monitoring online weather stations, Peterson is able to notify
the paddlers when the south easterly winds are blowing above 20 knots; which
makes for ideal race conditions. If the wind or ocean swell conditions do not
allow for a safe Primi Naish Downwind Dash Series, a group SMS is sent to all
participants notifying them that the SUP race for that day has been cancelled.
“We find that SMS is the one form of communication that virtually all
recipients will read shortly after I send out the message. SMS provides a much
higher response rate plus it’s easier to time the event alert as we know when
they get it and most likely will read it - something other forms of
communication cannot guarantee,” says Petersen.
Another BulkSMS service used by Naish SUP is the opt-in group service. This
service allows a SUP enthusiast interested in receiving SMS alerts for the
Primi Naish Downwind Dash Series to send an SMS to a shortcode. This
automatically adds their cellphone number to the Naish SUP contact list.
Petersen noted, “It makes managing contacts so much easier when someone adds
their name automatically via SMS to the group. Usually, I am asked on the race
day at the beach to add a number to the list and this service means I do not
need to take down details while getting everyone ready for the race and then
later add them to the list manually. It takes the stress out of ensuring a
person opts-in for SMS messages.”
“SMS messaging is a great way to keep people informed about an action water
sport event. We’ve seen that SUP paddlers participating in the Primi Naish
Downwind Dash are able to enjoy the convenience of receiving an alert about the
event status which allows them to plan their day accordingly. The flexibility
of using the BulkSMS service is a win-win for both Naish SUP and the downwind
SUP enthusiasts,” says Dr Pieter Streicher, Managing Director of BulkSMS.com.