Surf Expo January Shows Growth Over September, Attendees Optimistic About Industry Bounce Back
Orlando, Fla. (January 19, 2024) – Surf Expo, the premier watersports and coastal lifestyle tradeshow, kicked off 2024 with a robust gathering filled with top exhibitors, important retail buyers, and exciting industry events.
“It was amazing to be in Orlando with the Board Sports and Coastal Life communities in early January at Surf Expo,” said Surf Expo SVP and Show Director Roy Turner. “The tradeshow floor was buzzing with a positive vibe and optimism as brands presented new products to buyers for 2024. Surf Expo was able to connect buyers from the United States and abroad with a wide array of manufacturers across multiple categories all related to the beach lifestyle.”
The show, which featured hundreds of brands across the Surf, Bluewater, Shoreline, Boutique, Coastal Gift, Footwear, Paddle, Resort, Skate, Souvenir, and Swim categories, also included a busy lineup of events.
“It’s been a few years since Reef has exhibited at Surf Expo, and it was great to get back in the mix on the show floor,” said Reef VP of Sales Mike Matey. “There was good energy and traffic, and our appointment calendar was booked solid all three days. We loved the open booth format and the variety of brands exhibiting.”
The section of the floor showcasing surf hardgoods, the heart and soul of the surf industry, was particularly vigorous, with a wide range of brands exhibiting including Firewire, Slater Designs, Channel Islands, Lost, Wave Riding Vehicles, Sharp Eye, and many more.
“January’s Surf Expo delivered great value for Firewire and Slater Designs,” said Firewire Surfboards CEO Dylan Slater. “The opportunity to connect in person with so many high-quality retail partners from all over the country while showcasing our brand story and products proved to be incredibly productive. We look forward to returning!”
Retailers were also excited to see so many surfboard brands at the January show.
“It warmed my heart to see more surfboard companies returning to the show – it felt good,” said Kathleen Engstrom of Montauk T-shirts. “We had a great show and are excited about the new lines we picked up We were able to order for the entire season. I’m putting so much positive input out there about the show.”
Many brands reported having a full book of appointments with both existing and new retail accounts.
“I-SEA Sunglasses had an amazing show this January at Surf Expo,” said Vice President of Sales Don Dyer. “We saw over 110 retailers at the booth and 30% of those accounts were new. Shout out to our phenomenal East Coast I-SEA sales reps and retailers for supporting the I-SEA brand as well as Surf Expo Sales Executive Rod Tomlinson and the entire Surf Expo Team. You guys killed it!”
New retailers also found a lot to like about the show, including the vast variety of brands and products to choose from.
“As first-time attendees, we didn’t know what to expect beyond a strong recommendation to attend from a supplier,” said Chris and Chrissie McCotter of Lake Anna Outfitters in Virginia. “The show was just what we needed to take our new shop to the next level with more merchandise and the brands we wanted to stock. Two days really was not enough!”
While providing a venue for retailers to find new products is a key component of the show, Surf Expo is about more than the gear. In addition to the busy sales floor, Surf Expo hosted free professional learning labs, multiple fashion shows, and several happy hours and industry parties. The Florida Shape-Off, the annual surfboard shaping contest and exhibition that promotes the craft of hand-shaping surfboards, was won by Jordan Brazie of Valaric Surfboards. In addition, the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame inducted 11 new honorees during a gala ceremony at the show.
“Surf Expo was able to bring together incredible people from all corners of the surfing and beach business community, opening doors for opportunities, making new acquaintances, and celebrating the business of Surf,” Turner said. “All in all, it was an exciting event to kick off 2024.”
D Nachnani, the president of retailer Coastal Edge in Virginia, agreed. “Since my first Surf expo in 1990, I’ve seen how it consistently fosters a unique blend of professional development and community engagement,” Nachnani said. “This event is a testament to how we can integrate work, play, and celebration into a cohesive community experience. I’m looking forward to taking the insights and connections from this year into a prosperous 2024.”
Surf Expo will return Sept. 5-7, 2024, to the Orange County Convention Center’s West Concourse. Find out more about attending, exhibiting, sponsorships, or other opportunities at www.Surfexpo.com.
About Surf Expo
Surf Expo is the largest and longest-running watersports, beach, and resort lifestyle tradeshow in the world. Produced twice annually in January and September, Surf Expo draws buyers from stores across the U.S., the Caribbean, Central and South America, and around the world. The show features hundreds of apparel and hardgoods brands and a full lineup of special events, education opportunities and awards ceremonies. Surf Expo is a trade-only event. Visit www.surfexpo.com for more information about the upcoming show Sept. 5-7, 2024, in Orlando, Florida.
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