N200 GES Global Network


Holly's Story

No matter what your aims, goals or achievements, the right support at the right time can often be the push that makes you come out on top.


In our wonderful world of exhibitions and events this support can be the right event sponsor, that key exhibitor that makes everyone realise they must exhibit, the right visitor base pre-registering for the event or as simple as a good budget to make your plan fly.

As many of you will know, at N200 | GES we like to do things a little differently and this year we have pooled some of our resource into helping an up and coming British athlete achieve her goals.

So, we engaged with Holly Bassett, GB Champion Stand Up Paddle Boarder, who we helped to send to the ISA World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championships in Sayulita, Mexico this May.

Following on from our successful #N200BeachDay at West Wittering Beach with Holly, we grabbed a few minutes with her to talk more about her commitment to preparing for events and launching on the international stage.

Much like events, preparation is key for sports people. While event preparation requires technology, sales, marketing & operations teams, sports people require all of that plus 100% dedication and practice to push them to their limits (ok, so we require 100% dedication too!).

We like to think we played a part in Holly getting to the level she has achieved this year and, for our clients, we like to think our software and service help them increase visitor conversion, create happier exhibitors and offer greater insight into their event secure in the knowledge of what engagement is happening, with whom and ultimately what business is being achieved.

For Holly, the journey before a big championships is often a rocky one. What follows is Holly’s account of her preparation… it’s not quite events, but we think you’ll find it interesting how similar our worlds are!

N200|GES: As a UK athlete, what’s it like competing on the world scene?

Holly: Competing in the UK can be particularly testing at times when you can see your competitors out in decent-sized, clean surf nearly every day, in some of the most exotic places around the world. But I don’t have the liberty to decide when I go surfing; if the conditions are remotely “okay” I’ll be out.

N200|GES: How do you go about funding your international travel for these events?

Holly: Unless you have a sponsor who is willing to pay for you to fly off and go surfing to a different destination each month – then those of us who do not surf for our profession day in day out – find it hard to make ends meet, in relation to getting to these competitions we so badly want to go to. So this year, I decided to create an athlete page with MAKEACHAMP.com and within the first few days of it going live I had my first contributor: Matt Coyne. And over the course of three months not only did I have many generous contributions on my campaign to get me to the Worlds, but I also made connections with N200lGES and they gave me a significant sum to back me; with this I exceeded my target of raising £3000 to get me to the ISA World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championships in Sayulita, Mexico.

N200|GES: And how did you get on in the Worlds event?

Holly: I want to thank all those who contributed* to getting me to this event and to all my regular sponsors too. Regardless of the amount, each and every person who supported me through this process helped me achieve above and beyond the goals I had set myself and now with a World ranking of 16th I am even more grateful for it.

N200|GES: How do you find the time to train?

Holly: Alongside my crowd-funding page, I was in the middle of my AS Levels – my time was limited due to school related commitments and recovering from three months of glandular fever, and I found my training hours had decreased rapidly. In order to prepare myself best for the Worlds, I had to take it easy, slowly building back up to the level of training I had been doing beforehand. My training was based around strength and power; I did loads of static work, relating to core balance and strength and I also went spinning and running weekly to maintain a basic level of stamina and endurance to apply to my surfing. As ‘people of the water’, we can prepare ourselves physically to the best of our ability but we cannot prepare ourselves to what will be thrown at us when in the ocean. So my approach was to prepare myself the best I could physically with training and as many hours on the water as possible, whenever there was even a chance of a small wave.

N200|GES: So it’s takes up a lot of time? If we wanted to turn pro tomorrow, how long would it take us?

Holly: It’s insane to think it supposedly takes 20 hours to acquire the basic ability to do anything, be it a sport like paddlesurfing or any other skill like that, but with hundreds of hours invested, maybe even thousands, the level of competition each year is raised even higher. When I was in Mexico the ability of each and every athlete out there had improved massively from previous years and it was clear to see that the potential of the sport keeps increasing along with all of its competitors. This years ISA Worlds has only made me consider my own potential with even more hours invested. My advice to you would be to give up the day job and get out on the water today!

How many of you can relate to this situation? How many hours do you put in to get an event right?

I for one have battled tonsillitis whilst putting on a major charity event and still had to get catering and equipment booked for a star studded line up as well as having to deal with their ever so slightly demanding riders. You can’t just take time off… you dig deep to get the job done.

Video Recap of the #N200BeachDay 2015