We speak with Roy Turner SVP, Show Director at Surf Expo to see what this summer’s show has in store for us.
Please tell us what’s hot for your September 2019 edition.
The September show will highlight our watersports categories- wake, paddle, kite and surf.
Wakeboarding is going to be big. Not only do we have the best brands for gear and apparel including Ronix/Radar, HO Hyperlite, Liquid Force, Fatsac, Connelly and Mystic, the show floor will be lit with the Wake Rail Jam happening throughout the day, the Alliance Wake Lounge Premiere’s and Beers at happy hour each day, plus Supra, Moomba, Malibu, Centurion, MasterCraft ATX and Nautique are going to be showcasing their newest boats for attendees to check out the newest features. Also, we’re have a few pro rider boats coming as well.
Thursday evening after the show we expect a huge crowd for the 16th Annual Wakeboarding Magazine Wake Awards.
Simply put, Wake Awards is the sports’/industry’s awards show that celebrates the best riders and content of the year. Voting is private and done by a panel of over 60 industry experts.
Readers Poll was created in 1996 in the print mag, and asked readers to write in letters naming their favorite riders. It’s become a bigger and bigger thing over the years thanks to the internet and social media. This is a public vote where anybody can vote for a wide variety of their favorites: male & female riders, board teams, boat brands, videographers and more. Both will be announced at Surf Expo!
We understand you’re debuting a new Water Fest activation.
Yes, Waterfest is our new kick off event for Surf Expo. The outdoor event will be a fun warm up for the show, and a great way for our retailers to get a peek at 25+ of the newest products and best brands plus top industry associations and non profits. Not only will there be apparel and accessories, from brands like Costa, 4Ocean, Beachables and Surface Suncreen, but also hard goods/equipment for testing out on the water, including Bic Sports, Sic Maui, Oxbow, Zengal and Uncharted Watercraft just to name a few. We’ll have reggae music, food and a beer garden. This year the event will be held at the Orange County Convention Center adjacent to the North/South hall which will make it easier for our attendees. It’s a short walk from area hotels, or we have a free party bus as well.
What are the most important product categories for boardsports retailers at the show and why?
Actually ALL our show categories are relevant for boardsports retailers- large and small by design. Retailers differ a lot, and we want to have everything they are looking for, plus some surprises. Surf and Swim have everything from boards, to board shorts, bikinis, t-shirts, footwear and accessories. The Resort and boutique sections feature moderate to better resortwear products such as cover ups, shorts for the shops that cater to that clientele. Our Coastal Gift section is a retailer favorite- and where they’ll find the perfect add-on, gift type product to help with incremental sales.
Please tell us more about the new Wake Pool set up in the exhibition hall.
We’re excited for the return of the wake pool, ON the show floor at Surf Expo. We’ve partnered with the crew at StepUp Productions for the Tricks & Grinds Rail Jam with top riders showcasing tricks and delivering the excitement and vibe Surf Expo is known for and people have come to expect and anticipate.
What are the key seminars and conferences at the show?
Based on input from our attendees we’ve organized our seminars for September into a few key “tracks”. Tracks included Business, Watersports, Environmental and Wellness. There are several topics that we’re excited to bring to the large audience at Surf Expo, to generate awareness and help the industry unite for change.
Headlining our Environmental Track are topics that impact everyone:
- The Watersports Industry Association’s Larry Meddock and Chris Bischoff will talk about a topic that could affect us all, but few are aware of the plight – Waterway Protection – what you need to know about water access and protecting our way of life.
- The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association’s seminar shares how SIMA is driving the industry toward better solutions on poly bags and catalogs.
- We’ve invited the Outdoor Industry Association’s Sustainable Business Innovation Manager to talk about why having a sustainability strategy is critical to today’s brands.
- Wellness will feature the Spa Industry Association’s Director, Patti Biro, talking about the growing market for spa and wellness products, to help specialty retailers who may be considering trying a few products in their stores. Also, we’re hosting CannaCauses Foundation and Cannaisseur Brands’ Founder & CEO, Aryn Sieber, to review the ABS’s of CBD and THC, and talk about how to successfully implement CBD into the retail environment.
The Business track features several really timely topics, including:
- Using RFID at retail for loss prevention and inventory management, hosted by RFID Journal’s Founder and Editor, Mark Roberti
- Klarna will talk about ways to engage the new gen-z customer online. We are witnessing an emerging generation that has never known life without cell phones. This shopper expects to walk into an experience, not a store and retailers are challenged with engaging these customers.
- The Outdoor Industry Association hosts two hot topics from the Business and Environmental Track. With the U.S.-China trade war, OIA hosts a session to look at how additional tariffs on imports from China are impacting our industries Industry and we can respond and creating efficiencies and cost savings. Through Sustainability: How SIMA is driving the industry toward better solutions on poly bags and catalogs
What fringe events, parties, dinners etc are planned?
The summer show is always stacked not only great events like the Wake Awards, and Waterfest, mentioned earlier. We always host events for people to come together and catch up with friends, relax and celebrate, and network. Our Friday night Industry Party will be hosted by Body Glove. The live band, t-shirt printing. Thursday we’re happy to partner with 4Ocean again for a mixer at show close.
Why is it important for European retailers to attend?
It’s important to stay in touch with what US Brands are showing, find new and interesting products not offered yet overseas, stay on top of the surf vibe and hear what the US surf industry is saying and showing.