Orban Gergely from Budapest (Hungary) can be considered somehow a globe trotter of rowing. His background shows it clearly: 6 months in New Zealand from 2003 to 2004 where he took part to national championships on behalf of Cure Boating Club, Kaiapoi, in South Island.
Almost two years in Italy (from 2009 to 2011) where he raced for the Canottieri Mincio from Mantova (Italy) but above all it was Hungarian single scull champion in 2008. In 2010 just in Mantova, the meeting with our David Filippi, after which he started to run the company named Orrlabda that sells Filippi boats as sole agent in its country of origin.
Hi Orban, how long have you been representing Filippi?
I have been working with Filippi Lido S.r.l. since the end of 2010. I met David the first time in Mantova at the Italian National Champs in 2010. Marco Penna an Italian international rower (5th in Atlanta 1996 on coxless pair together with Walter Bottega from Turin), introduced us.
Where is your company site?
We are located in Budapest, but you can find us at all major regattas in the country.
Did you start from the national team to promote Filippi boats or from the clubs?
Our cooperation with the Federation has a long tradition, as Filippi through us supplies most of the boats for the senior/U23 team. Out of the 4 World Champion titles 3 were won in Filippi boats. Filippi provides 3-6 sponsor boats for the national team each year for the past 10 years and in case needed we can provide boats at the World Rowing international regattas. We are working in close contact with many of the clubs.
Do you allow your customers to test Filippi boats at your company site?
We can arrange if needed mostly in the Budapest, Csepel area, but in case somebody is looking for a mould/rigger combination we do not have at our site we will try to arrange the test at the closest location possible. We have good relations with former customers and can arrange tests at their site.
Do you want to tell us your rowing carrier?
I was involved with the Hungarian national team and participated at U23 World Champs, World Cups, European Championships. I never dared to put on the coach suit, that takes a different set of skills to be doing coaching good. As rower I got interesting results at the national level:
Tell us more about the organization of your company?
Our company is really small, besides Filippi we also sell other rowing & fitness related products like WaterRower, RP3, NK, etc. Basically you can find everything you need for rowing at our store in the inner city of Budapest which functions as a showroom for the fitness products, parts, oars etc. and also as a coffee shop. I do most of the rowing boat related technical work and sales activity; my colleagues are working more with the other connected products.
Which races do will attend in the Hungarian national calendar 2022?
We attended the International Budapest Cup Regatta as season opener, next you will find us with tent at the Velence Trials, Bled Euromasters, Velence Countryside Championships, National champs and some of the smaller regattas.
In which area of Hungary your market is more prosperous?
The Hungarian rowing scene is small, the heart of it is in Budapest, with most of the clubs being here.
How do you invest money and energy to promote Filippi boats?
We invest in our communication on our website, social media. Medium size stock of spare parts is available which are needed usually and of course we have started to have an inventory of new and used boats. With used boats we work 95% only with Filippi boats. In the last 2 years we introduced a rental model for boats, with the minimum rental period of 1 season. This can help a lot in case a rower/club wants to use high quality premium boats but cannot invest the complete sum for a boat. Especially in the large boat classes. We also have a boat buyback program for our customers, who want to exchange their older Filippis for the top models.
What does your customer look for from a local dealer?
They mostly look for good guidance on the product to choose, which mould, which rigger, and of course the best deals. We must have spare parts and all needed accessories like stroke coaches and sculls when they need it.
Do you believe in coastal rowing to increase the popularity of our sport?
Coastal Rowing is a great development over the past 20 years in the international rowing world. I think all rowers must try it on real the real sea. I believe it is great that World Rowing organizes the Coastal World Champs for club level rowers, and that more and more regattas are available like the European Coastal Challenge organized by Filippi where the rentals of good quality boats is easy for participants. I think clubs have to invest in this.
Why should a customer choose Filippi?
I believe Filippi is the greatest brand in the current world of rowing in the top segment and this is going to stay like this for the foreseeable time period, even when competition is building up. Filippi listens to rowers when developing the boat shapes and the design of the boats. The design development over the past 15 years of the top deck is really a great story in itself, whereas the Aliante riggers were a breakthrough design development over the past decade. All the small parts when a rower sits in a boat is like it should be, with the highest level customization possibilities and giving the most comfortability to rowers. The introduction of the forged carbon parts of the footstretcher will add largely to boat speed and efficiency. Also, if you are looking for best price/quality ratio in the top boats segment Filippi is the boatbuilder to go to.
How should the Filippi service improve?
The service itself, the mentality is good - to serve and help the athletes is good as it is - it has to be kept, that is the highest challenge, I think. Of course, there can be mistakes like everywhere where people work to solve these problems as fast as possible is the most important.
How much Filippi results at the Olympic games rather than to the international event can help your job?
The Olympic games is a big reference when it comes to medals, in case of the international events, the weight of Filippi boats is the reference.