Surf Expo kicked off its 39th year with strong attendance from 48 U.S. states and 49 countries at the Jan. 8-10 show in Orlando.
The show opened with a Hawaiian drum and dance performance to welcome buyers, exhibitors and media onto the 250,000-plus square-foot show floor, and celebrate the debut of the buyer-inspired Hawaiian Pavilion.
“We were excited to partner with the State of Hawaii to introduce key new manufacturers with coastal-themed products made in Hawaii. With the addition of the Hawaiian Pavilion, Surf Expo saw more than 250 new exhibitors. The show featured more than 2,500 booths and really delivered on our buyers’ demand for new product and more choices under one roof, accentuating that Surf Expo has evolved beyond a regional show and become the international destination for the board sports and coastal lifestyle business” said Roy Turner, show director, Surf Expo.
“It was a very rewarding show. We needed one more day, to be honest. Surf Expo will become one of the tradeshows we look forward to. Great experience!” said first-time Surf Expo attendee, Kelly Sorenson, owner, On the Beach Surf Shop in Monterey, Calif.
“We had a great show,” said Chris Silva, first-time exhibitor at Surf Expo and owner of Steamboat Stickers. “We opened more than 20 new stores, and there are another bunch in play for follow up.”
The three-day show hosted an abundance of coastal and water-themed events, including
- An interview on The Stage with world-champion surfer Tom Carroll on his past struggles and move into SUP, presented by Global Surf Industries and SUPIA.
- Six iconic East Coast surfboard shapers competed in the 8th Annual Florida Shape Off at Surf Expo, in honor of 2010 East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame Inductee Bud Gardner. Florida shaper Mike Whisnant took home the grand prize and bragging rights.
- A crowd of more than 1,000 buyers and exhibitors gathered at show close on Friday for mingling and music at the Hawaiian-style Post-Show Mixer with live music by surf and stomp band The Carvers.
- Swim, boardsports and resort fashion shows were well attended by buyers looking for latest styles and trends.
“It’s the best show in the business! A great environment to see surf swim and even non-surf brands in one place. The show is very business oriented, and that makes it nice plus you get a feel for what is out there that is not so surf specific,” commented Josh Hansen, long-time Surf Expo attendee and owner of Hansen’s Surfboards in Encinitas, Calif.
Buyers were pleased to see longtime exhibiting brands as well as a mix of brands and products new to Surf Expo all resulting in a vibrant marketplace grounded in the water and coastal lifestyle that retailers have come to expect.
“Again, another great show! I was able to find new, fresh, on-trend styles for spring 2015! I was actually a bit apprehensive going into the show about my assortment for spring 2015 since neon was such a big presence for the past few years and now it has down-trended. Luckily, our vendors never disappoint; reinventing their booths with new silhouettes, new fabrications, new trends and new color stories! I was also able to meet with new vendors too, which is always a plus to find new unique product to add to our assortment!” commented Tara Jardine Towers, senior logo buyer, The Marshall Retail Group, America’s largest independent specialty retailer in the casino resort marketplace.
The next Surf Expo opens with Board Demo Day on Sept. 9, followed by Surf Expo Sept.10-12, 2015 in Orlando.