After representing Ozone in Australia since the beginning, Steve McCormack of Kitepower in Sydney is handing over the distribution of our products to Mike Walker
We are hugely grateful for the passion and drive that Steve’s had, not only for Ozone, but for kiteboarding itself in Australia. He’s been a positive ambassador for the sport and its industry since kiteboarding first came alive.
While Steve is retiring from Ozone, he will still continue to build his fantastic store, Kitepower.
We are, however, thrilled to welcome Mike Walker onboard who will take over as Ozone Brand Manager, representing Ozone kites wings and foils to shops and riders in Australia.
Mike’s been close to us for many years too, and says,
“I’m very stoked and excited to be working with the brand that I’ve connected with for such a long time. I’m stepping out of retail operations to be able to serve the Australian dealers as best I can and assist their businesses to grow and prosper.
“I’m grateful to be taking on such a strong established network of dealers, team and ambassadors and thank Steve for the excellent stewardship he has delivered over the years.”
Reflecting on his early experience with Ozone, Mike remembers,
“Back in 2011, I was in Mauritius and shared a place with Rob Whittall, founder and lead designer of Ozone. I got to see first hand the passion, skills, philosophies and the attention to detail they put into their designs.
“The team are true innovators. Not just in the world championship winning designs of the awesome wings and canopies, but also in the design and production processes. From their proprietary OzCAD software that gives them incredible precision and freedom in production, to their simple, clear, specific design briefs that lead to us having an easy job to give great advice to customers at the point of sale.”
Mike currently runs Kitethrills in Caloundra, Queensland’s longest running kitesurf and foil centre, but he will be retiring from that to fully focus on helping other retailers get the most out of working with Ozone. So if you’re interested in speaking to Mike about taking over Kitethrills, get in touch –
Mike says he can’t wait to get started and is passionate about helping Australian businesses and riders learn more about Ozone.
“This is really exciting for me,” Mike continues, “as I have such a strong belief in Ozone, how they make our toys, how they distribute and do business, and how they carry themselves as socially and environmentally responsible global citizens.
“Actually it’s more than belief. I’ve experienced the success Ozone can bring. I became a dealer in 2009 and ever since the brand has been the backbone of Kitethrills.
“Being a small business without loads of working capital, Ozone’s ‘on-demand’ production and distribution model has really allowed me to minimise the risk of forecasting half a season or more in the future. Ozone fully own their factory, putting them in a unique position. Not only does it allow them to ensure excellence in production, but it also means they can help small retailers, like me, to operate clean, successful and fun-to-run businesses as there’s never any pressure on us to make huge orders. Instead, everything is made to order, the process is transparent, cleaner and with less waste and less stress.
“Originally making paragliders, Ozone started out doing what other brands are still doing today; they had other factories produce their designs. Soon it became clear that they couldn’t trust these OEM operations to produce the quality of work they demanded. Their lives and those of their customers depended on it.
“So Ozone started its own factory in Vietnam in 2000. Now 1,000 machinists produce the highest quality gliders, kites, wings, boards, harnesses, helmets and all the lines and accessories we need to give full service to our customers. Their quality control is unmatched.”
Mike has an impressive history in kiteboarding and is also now a passionate wingfoiler.
Having started kiteboarding in 2000, he reached several podiums in National Championships and in 2016 became a principal examiner for Kiteboarding Australia. In business Mike has run many water sport businesses with a focus on instruction, retail, and tour operations. He was president of the Australian Kitesurfing Association (2002-06) and currently operates tour holidays to Mauritius.
For enquiries in Australia, get in touch with Mike: [email protected]