Paddle Sports Show 2021

Preview: Paddle Sports Show in Lyon, France Sept 29-Oct 1

The launch of the Paddle Sports Show in Lyon provides the European paddle industry with a new show following PaddleExpo closing its doors. The Paddle Sports Show is the logical successor to PaddleExpo, a show that ran for 15 years in Nuremberg, Germany, and was the world’s biggest paddle sports tradeshow.

The organiser of the new show, Philippe Doux, Founder of KS Publishing, an international paddle sports media house and publisher of Kayak Session magazine, was a long-time partner of the PaddleExpo and was also the host of the awards ceremony, so he knows and understands what the paddle industry is looking for from a trade show. Also, many of the paddle brands were already clients of KS Publishing’s magazines and websites.

Lyon is a completely new location and will provide a great backdrop to kick start the paddle industry trade event calendar. The exhibition is to be held in the Halle Tony Garnier, located in the centre of the city right by the river, bringing great new opportunities to the event.

As before, exhibitors and retailers from around the globe will gather to do business, catch up with each other and drink a few beers as has been the case in the past. So, as they say, why change a recipe that works well? As a result, organisers have kept much of the concept the same but have added a few new elements. But the ambition, first and foremost, is to remain the place-to-be when it comes to the paddle sports business.

For sure, the industry is really excited at the idea of catching up with each other after a two-year break. They’re exited to do business but they’re also eager to have 3 days of fun! The fact that the show is in downtown Lyon, on the river banks, with many bars & restaurants nearby, will all add to the ambiance.

The 7000 m2 hall is nearly fully booked with all the brands one would expect, as well as many new companies, so loads of new products to see and check out. At the time of going to press and despite the global situation, over a 100 brands have signed up, from all over the world. Visitors are mostly coming from Europe’s retail base, although there are still a fair number of accounts coming all the way from the Far East, North and South America. The organisers have even got requests from Iran, Nigeria, and Nepal!

They will also continue the famous paddle sports industry party, with the ‘Products of the Year Awards’ and the annual ‘Hall of Fame’ ceremony, along with nice local delicacies to throw down your throat. The 11 categories in the Paddlesport Product of the Year Awards presented by Kayak Session Publishing, are chosen by a panel of independent judges. The awards highlight products that are making a difference through innovation, performance, design, and utility and the lucky winners are announced during the industry dinner. Later in the evening, the 2020 International Whitewater Hall of Fame honourees will also receive their awards.

A novelty this year at the Paddle Sport Show, and completely new for the paddle sports business, is a series of webinars & conferences around all sorts of themes, like the future of the industry, Brexit’s consequence on the markets, the keys to produce in a more sustainable & responsible way. The exact program will be announced soon.

Last but not least, they are adding the concept of on-water demos to the show. Shops and buyers will be able to test the products they’re looking at due to the fact that the exhibition centre is located only 250m from the riverbank. So, any time during the show, an exhibitor can walk to the riverbank and demo products; a new ingredient to the show that everyone is looking forward to!

Also, they are organising a public day. The concept is to bring the show outside for one extra day, and meet the public with races, all sorts of events (sup, kids, kayak fishing etc…). This will give brands the opportunity to display and have their product line tested by the consumers who will end up buying in the next months.

On the first day, the show is open from 9:00-19:00 and stand parties will be welcoming you between 19:00 – 22:00. On day two, the show’s hours are the same, followed by the industry party and awards ceremony from 9pm till midnight. The last day is shorter from 9:00 – 13:00 as the industry on-water demo is from 14:00 – 18:00. The next day is the public day of on-water demos & tests, races, events and a film festival which is open to paddlers from clubs, racers, associations etc… This is not part of the trade show, but exhibitors are welcome!

For each of the first two days, a webinar will be held on-site and on the third day, there will be the event conference. Day one’s topic is ‘Access Development – Broadening the audience’ which explore the theme‘ access to sea and water activities how and for who? Legal context & European principles and the social context & people with reduced mobility’. The webinar will run at 11.00 am (English) – 13.00 (French) – 16.00 (English) and will include Jezza Williams from Inclusive Tourism New Zealand.

Day two’s topic is Brexit and its consequences on the Outdoor & Paddlesports industry and will look at the new situation established by the Trade & Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU: Impact on products and goods trading & on the delivery of services for outdoor companies. The webinar will also include Virtual online guests:Tanel FELDMAN, EU ImmigrationLaw Associates (Brussels), and Maître Philippe PLANES, Barrister at Allrights-avocats (Lyon) and is scheduled to run at 11.00 am (English) – 13.00 (French) – 16.00 (English).

Day 3 is a conference on the ‘Future of the Outdoor & Paddle Sport Industry’ starting at 10.00 am. Topics to be covered include the resumption of travel, adventure tourism and active leisure; new customer expectations; impact on outdoor professionals in general and those of water activities in particular; evolution of products; professional training of animators. Guest speakers are: Bom Timms (PGL), Luis Rabaneda (Roc Roi / Icf), Emmanuel Delager (Idoine), Corran Addison (Soul Waterman), ATTA representative. All 3 days will be hosted by Jean Yves Lapeyrère, President ECOE (European Confederation of Outdoor Employers)

For all visitors there is onsite Covid testing at the show (both PCR and Antigen).

Consumer demand has remained strong for SUP this year, so action sports retailers should take the time to visit the show and look at this market whether it be for hardboards or inflatables. The Paddle Sports Show is a one-stop-shop window for all there is to buy in the paddle business and it’s all under one roof in a single hall, simplifying the selection and buying process for retailers and this is a significant advantage for all visiting shops. See you in Lyon!

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