Surf with record attendance at the latest edition of Surf Expo

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Kelli Freeman, Contributing Writer | Thursday, September 29, 2022

The aisles were filled with excitement at Expo Surfingheld from September 8 to 10 at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The Watersports and Coastal Lifestyle Show had an energetic, fun and upbeat vibe reminiscent of the pre-pandemic era.

“With each edition of Surf Expo since the pandemic, we continue to see retailer attendance increase, and this show has been a continuation of that with a 16% year-over-year increase,” said Roy Turner, Senior Vice President and Show Manager of Surf Expo. “We brought in retailers who hadn’t been since the pandemic. Buyers and brands were happy to be back at Surf Expo and back to normal,” Turner added.

Dale Rhodes, vice president of sales for the Compton, Calif.-based surf brand Katina, said, “Surf Expo has been our extended family since the beginning. Consistency is the key to success, and they have been consistent from the start, always delivering amazing results. We made 40 appointments and saw 65 accounts over three days, including 10 new accounts.

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Rhodes also said the biggest trend he’s seen is the new end user. “It was amazing. When everyone was confined due to COVID, the surfing craze really took off and introduced a new clientele through outdoor activities that Katin really caters to, and that’s really cool. Another trend has been the regularity of the repeat customer making multiple purchases. »

New notable brands on the show included Bartolo Beachwear, Carver Skateboards and Guy Fox California perfumes.

“It was nice to be back at Surf Expo,” said Liza Blok-Ponse of the Tee Company in Noord, Aruba. “I ended up buying all day and staying until the show turned off its lights every night.”

Lifestyle brand based in Laguna Beach, CA Roark officially launches Women’s Roark November 19. “The energy surrounding our women’s line was epic. We couldn’t have asked for a better response,” said Dayna Cottee, Roark’s Women’s Brand Manager. “The biggest trend for us is laying the groundwork for our women’s line. While maintaining the Roark brand ethos of functional clothing that can take you from the trail to the bar, we’ve added a layer of femininity and spunk to feminine styles, inspiring her to take the road less travelled,” said added Cottee, who was wearing the Roark Passport Jacket.

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Katie Imswiler grew up surfing competitively and launched her swimwear brand based in North Kingstown, RI IMSY in 2011 out of a need for functional swimwear that stays in place while surfing. “I saw a huge void in the market and wanted to bring something unique to the table. If I had that frustration, other women would too,” said Imswiler, owner and designer of the brand. .

“IMSY is designed for a free-spirited, confident and adventurous woman ready to make a statement no matter where she is. IMSY swimwear bridges the gap between fashion and function, encompassing iconic prints, reversibility and a patented zipper system,” added Imswiler. “Each wetsuit is handcrafted and surf-tested to achieve a secure, flattering fit.”

IMSY has been exhibiting at Surf Expo since 2013. “I am happy to incorporate and fully transition to using all recycled Repreve fibers. In recent years, we have expanded our swimming offerings to clothing, bags and accessories. I look forward to continuing to grow and grow the brand,” said Imswiler.

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Provo, Utah-based brand of wallets and accessories Thread presented its new shoulder bags. “The show was great for us,” said brand manager Trevor Reese. “We have partnered with Sunburn, Pura Vida and cloud of sand in a “neighborhood” type setup where we laid out grass, lunch tables, had a keg or two each day, and played music from the retro Sun Bums van. Overall it was electric. We had great responses from buyers and industry members. »

In addition to a bustling exhibit hall, Surf Expo held special events for buyers, including a keynote address, “Transformation After Disruption: The Code for Riding the Next Wave,” from World Surfing Champion and entrepreneur Shaun Tomson.

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