Paddle Sports Show made its debut in Lyon, France last summer, taking over directly from the previous PADDLEexpo. After a successful first show, establishing itself as THE European paddle event, show founder and organiser Philppe Doux has big plans for their 2022 edition, which he details here.
Please, can we have an overview of the show’s launch last year.
The inaugural edition of the Paddle Sports Show last September went great, especially when you consider half of the world was still on lockdown and sanitary passes were in place all over Europe. Not an easy time to launch a show to be sure, but the response has been amazing, making us even more excited for the 2022 edition this September 28th-30th.
Please give us some figures from the first show.
Last year, we had a 6500 m2 floor plan, 125 + exhibitors, and a little under 800 trade visitors.
What were you most proud of last year?
Probably the trust put in our hands by the whole industry. Despite a rather difficult situation, to say the least, industry players showed they still strongly believe trade shows are essential for our industry, and they decided the Paddle Sports Show, in Lyon, (France) was the best place for it. We were thrilled with the location; our exhibition hall is 200m from the riverbank, ideal for on-water demos. Getting the world’s biggest Paddle Sports industry players together under one roof was a challenge we’re proud of, as was the satisfaction of all who attended, which was evident all week, especially during our final party and awards night.
What are the planned highlights for 2022?
Many! The products of the year award ceremony, conferences, and the Testival (a public day on the Rhône River, 200m from the show’s gates. We really try to create an ecosystem of events that come as an added value for exhibitors and visitors. While the trade show is not open to the public, paddlers can still test the new products exhibited during the show; this is the whole concept behind the Testival, which is free for exhibitors. The Testival also allows visitors who could not make it during the show to meet with exhibitors in a more relaxed atmosphere.
What’s new for the second edition?
Everything is new because everything will be bigger this year. The development of the Testival is a big one. For 2022, we are coordinating the Testival with the French Stand Up Paddling Championships and an international SUP race. We already expect 300+ racers, including some of the best in the world. The goal is to have the Lyon Paddle Show Race become a key event on the European racing and event calendar, and we hope to reach the 500 paddler mark within the next two/three years.
What is your motivation for going above and beyond a trade show?
We want the experience at the Paddle Sports Show to be unique. For instance, we have a video studio and photo booth available where exhibitors or visitors can professionally shoot products, with a green wall, spotlights, professional photographers, and video operators – everything one needs.
You are also organizing conferences that will take place during the show?
Yep, that is another big one for us this year. The development of a conferences and presentations program targeted at exhibitors, retailers, and buyers; no less than eight conferences are scheduled with themes like new regulations, how to take advantage of social media, meeting with official governing bodies, environmental evolution in the production process, and more.
How are the bookings for the show looking?
Bookings are going great so far. Our floor plan has increased by 30% from 2021 (10,000m2 vs 6500m2) and occupation is above 90%. As we speak, nearly 120 brands are confirmed.
Which brands or segments will be new to the show for 2022?
Many! In the board segment alone, 120 exhibitors have already signed up. Expect the usual big players such as Starboard, Fanatic, Indiana, Tahe, Aquamarina, Aztron, Aquadesign, Poolstar, Aquaglide, etc., alongside smaller and super innovative companies. Naish, SIA 425, NRS, Palm Equipment, Wavesport, Perception, Valley, and others will also be present. Another novelty is the increase in companies exhibiting foil-related products, including E-foils.
Why should retailers attend the 2022 Paddle Sports Show?
Because it is going to be fun. Because the parties will be wild. But more, because the whole industry will be gathered under one roof for three days to share in shaping our future.