There weren’t any parties within walking distance of the show, but Surf Expo conventioneers still managed to either drop thirty bucks on a cab or use someone with a car rental for a ride to the weekend’s most exclusive parties. Most passed up the cheesy, theme restaurants that peppered the International Drive strip (which, for the record, is like a crap-ass Vegas without the strip clubs, free drinks, and gambling), and opted for various industry-sponsored shindigs.
Always ready to please the show attendees, Surf Expo set up another wet and wild party on Friday night at the Typhoon Lagoon. What else would you expect when you open up a wave pool (unfortunately, the swell was bad and it was only producing closeouts) and water slides to a bunch of drunken industry people? Well disaster was avoided, only a couple of people were asked to leave, and everyone else had a great time. Thanks to Billabong, Reef, and Surfer magazine for helping sponsor the event.
Not impressed with the waves on Friday night, O’Neill decided to get some better sets and rented out the Lagoon for itself and some of its shops on Saturday night from 6:00 p.m. to well past midnight. Free beer, free food, and free waves were had by all, but you just had to wait a whole lot longer to get your waves than you did to get a beer, so people ended up with a lot more beers than waves. But that kept the vibe strong. Lost owner/shaper Matt Biolos was seen hanging out, along with East Coast reps like Dave Shotten, shops employees from dealers like Surf City, and plenty of friends. Some Rusty sub rep from the Northeast, (who’s name will not be mentioned for his own protection) bounced my brand new 6’3″ Evolution off the the wave pool wall and broke the nose off the board. He owes me big time!
That same night, Rusty, Oakley, and Globe teamed up to premiere the new surf video All Tha Way Live and host yet another party. It was moved from Universal City Walk (where it was going to take place in front of the Quiet Flight store) because of the Hurricane watch, and ended up being held at the Watersports Complex where a wakeboarding contest and party was already going on. Word is it rocked. Guess wakeboarders aren’t scared of a little rain and wind…