Surf Expo’s January 2018 show in Orlando, FL, opened with a strong pulse and optimism flowing through the aisles throughout the three-day show. With attendance topping nearly 28,000, the show featured more than 1,000 booths showcasing 1,400-plus brands and lines. Footwear brands in attendance included Chaco, Cudas, Sperry, Reef, Sanuk and Vionic Beach.
“We saw strong buyer attendance from all across the globe- from Hawaii to the Caribbean and from Costa Rica to Maine; representing stores in all categories including coastal shops and surf shops,” states Roy Turner, senior vice president and show director.
“It was really great to see so many stores from the Caribbean in particular who couldn’t attend the last show due to Hurricane Irma,” says Leslie Burbank, manager and buyer, Red Otter Outfitters in Fernandina Beach, FL.
The January show was surf hardgoods- and accessory-focused, including the latest boards from Firewire, Slater Designs, WRV, Rusty Surfboards, Pyzel, Savage and Ricky Carrol, among others. Key events included the Florida Shape Off and the 2018 Induction Ceremony for the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame. In addition, Surf Expo’s new Bluewater section made its debut, featuring a collection of apparel and accessory brands catering to the inshore/offshore saltwater lifestyle, including YETI, Salt Life, Scales, Heybo Outdoors, Bimini Bay Outfitters and Sunday Afternoons. Industry icon Flip Pallot was the guest of honor at the Bluewater Happy Hour. Two flats boats from Hell’s Bay Boatworks were the centerpiece display in the new section.
“Surf Expo is an additional branding opportunity; another place for us to see our customers and meet potential ones,” states Chris Peterson, owner/president of Hell’s Bay Boatworks. “With the Bluewater section it just brings more and more of our type of customers to Surf Expo.”
The show featured two fashion shows each day, a full line up of Professional Learning labs led by industry experts on topics ranging from How to Win on Amazon’s Buy Box & Amazon Fulfillment Strategies, to Retail Cash Flow Improvement Tools and Content Strategies for Winning on Google. “Surf Expo produces an elite show, one we all enjoy attending and can’t wait until the next one,” states Jim Archibald, owner of Archie’s Surf Shop in Ontario, Canada, and who has attending the show for more than 33 years. “That cannot be said for many other shows. It’s really well thought out and very productive for us.”
Surf Expo’s next show is Sept. 6-8, 2018, in Orlando with Demo Day on Sept. 5. This will be the second Demo Day at their new location at Bill Frederick Park, at Turkey Lake. Registration for the September show will open in mid April.