Photo by Emerald/Surf Expo
Surfers are known for their positive vibes (as long as you don’t steal their wave), and Surf Expo’s vibes were as high as the waves in Waimea Bay, the legendary home of big-wave surfing.
“The trade-show floor was buzzing with a positive vibe and optimism,” said Surf Expo SVP and Show Director Roy Turner regarding the Jan. 10–12 edition of the show, which took place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. “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 featured hundreds of brands across the surf, bluewater, shoreline, boutique, coastal gift, footwear, paddle, resort, skate, souvenir and swim categories. Many brands reported having a full book of appointments with both existing and new retail accounts.
“I-SEA Sunglasses had an amazing show,” said Vice President of Sales Don Dyer. “We saw over 110 retailers, and 30 percent of those accounts were new.”
New retailers did indeed welcome the variety. “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. Two days really was not enough!”
In addition to the busy sales floor, the show hosted complimentary professional learning labs, multiple fashion shows, and several happy hours and industry parties.
“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, 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. This event is a testament to how we can integrate work, play and celebration into a cohesive community experience.”