Surf Expo creates business-focused marketplace for brands
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 1 February, 2016 - Orlando - Surf Expo kicked off its 40th show season with a strong January show.
SVP and Show Director Roy Turner said, “The industry gathered in Orlando to help us celebrate Surf Expo’s 40th year and we couldn’t be more stoked. From the Bustin’ Down the Door presentation with Shaun Tomson, PT, Ian Cairns and MT on hand, to the 25th anniversary of Eastern Surf Magazine and highlighting the history of the Ollie in our skate section, the show came full circle. Once again Surf Expo offered the very best working environment for the thousands of qualified buyers who trust us to deliver.”
The show featured more than 2,300 booths of hardgoods, apparel and accessories in the surf, SUP, skate, swim, footwear, resort, coastal gift and boutique categories. Nearly 20% of exhibitors were exhibiting at the show for the first time, and with the many new products unveiled by long time exhibitors, buyers were presented with a wealth of new brands and products to diversify their mix.
“We found about a dozen new lines, which is phenomenal,” said Jeoffrey Nathan, owner of Coastal Urge in Wrightsville Beach, NC.
Charlie Bunger, owner of Bunger Surfboards in Babylon, NY said, “The show met all my expectations and I was able to secure a few new brands I wasn’t aware even existed, that I think will be a nice addition to our shop.”
The pace remained consistent across the three-day show as buyers from more than 3,100 retail companies from 46 states and 51 countries viewed lines, met with manufacturer executives and placed orders.
“Surf Expo is a working show, and we write more orders and get more done than any other trade show. As far as a trade show, Surf Expo’s got it down” said Eric Miura, owner of Déjà Vu in Hawaii.
USA brand manager for The Mad Hueys, PJ Connell said, “The Mad Hueys is an emerging brand and every dollar we spend has to count. Investing into Surf Expo proved to be the highest return on investment to date growing our retail account network exponentially. We’re going back.”
Brandy Faber, the Roark Revival’s marketing director added, “Roark had another amazing Surf Expo this January with appointments booked solid from the moment the doors opened on day one ‘till the lights went off on the last day.”
The show continues to capture the core surf market, with strong turnout from surfboard manufacturers as well as shapers and accessory brands.
Jim Vaughn, owner of Whalebone Surf Shops in NC and VA, said, “We had a great show. The best part was the turnout of surfboard manufacturers. There’s so much new technology changing so fast. It was great to touch the boards and talk to the shapers- it builds excitement for me and the shop.”
The show’s second annual Hawaii Pavilion featured exhibitors with unique, one of a kind products made in Hawaii. Dennis Ling, administrator for The State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism commented, “Surf Expo has provided the State of Hawaii with the most efficient and effective marketing and sales opportunities exposing our Hawaii manufacturers to thousands of qualified retailers.”
“We really enjoyed the show but we ran out of time. We found a lot of new things that we plan to write orders for and we found some new products we did not see in Las Vegas or Gatlinburg,” added Lakeisha Dukes, corporate director of retail operations for Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts in New Braunfels, TX.
“The January Surf Expo was again a great experience for us and helped continue to build on the success we've had from our last show. It's not just that we have great buyers coming through the booth, but the networking and brand building you can get done at Surf Expo is just not possible at other shows we've done,” commented Bradley Reidl, owner of Beach Road Design.
Highlights from the show:
Florida Shape Off- Surf Expo day one opened with the tune of sanders on foam, as iconic surfboard shapers in the ninth annual Florida Shape Off went to work. In the first of two key events, Shapers replicated an iconic Gary Propper surfboard, in honor of Hobie Alter. Ken White took home bragging rights. On Saturday the Master of Masters Challenge pitted former Florida Shape Off winners to replicate the Channel Islands Proton board. Al Merrick judged the competition and Jim Hannan was crowned the winner. Special thanks to Ricky Carroll, R&D Surf and sponsors Channel Islands and US Blanks.
Industry Party—At the close of a busy day one, attendees headed outside for an open-air industry mixer. The live music and perfect Florida temperature providing the perfect venue for reconnecting and mingling.
East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame Ceremony - The induction ceremony for the 2016 East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame drew a record crowd of celebrities and who’s who of the surf community as the eleventh class of honorees was inducted. The night was kicked into high gear with a keynote speech from American pioneer of big wave surfing, Greg Noll.
Ten men and women who have influenced so many generations of East Coasters were honored, including surfers Cory Lopez, Jason Borte, Sandy Ordille and Rich Rudolph. A Special Recognition Award was presented to “The Duke” Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, who is credited with introducing surfing to the East Coast.
40th Anniversary Celebration – To celebrate Surf Expo’s 40th Anniversary the events included an exhibition of Bustin’ Down the Door - a film that chronicles the rise of pro surfing and the emergence of the surfing industry over a tumultuous year in 1976. In attendance at Surf Expo to meet the show attendees were the surfers who kick started a surfing and business revolution: Ian Cairns, Peter “PT” Townend and cousins Michael and Shaun Tomson.
Celebration of Florida Skateboard Roots and The Ollie – Featured in the skate area of the show was a never before seen collection of historic skateboards and photography from Craig Snyder, artist photographer and writer of A Secret History of the Ollie. The writer grew up with skating with Alan “Ollie” Gelfand, and signed autographs for show attendees.