Showing the value of your product and giving back to the community that supports your brand are two of the most crucial steps a company can take at the moment to ensure longevity in the marketplace and loyalty in the eyes of the consumer.
As a way to rally the surf industry and those who support it, TransWorld SURF and Oceanside, California retail staple Surf Ride have put their heads together to come up with Camp Shred, a weekend of demoing the latest gear from the best brands, all while camping out, drinking beers, and spending time along the beautiful coastline that is San Elijo Campgrounds in Cardiff By The Sea.
The idea was conceived during a brainstorming session at the camp grounds with former Bull Taco COO Craig Leslie, who explained that the California State Parks were looking to do something during their down time, says TransWorld Events Marketing Director Scott “Desi” Desiderio. The talk inspired Desiderio and TransWorld SURF to create an event uniting the surf industry and the loyal customers who support it.
“Surf Ride already does their annual spring demo at Seaside Reef around that time so I thought why not combine forces and do one giant demo at the camp grounds?” Desiderio explains. “We’ve had a ton of positive feedback so far. All the brands participating are super into the idea. It’s such a great excuse for them to come out, camp, and surf for the weekend, and get a chance to tell their brand story to all the consumers in the area.”
The event was developed collectively by the marketing staff at TW and Surf Ride , and we delved deeper to get the scoop from Desiderio and Surf Ride Marketing Director Taylor Stahl. Take a look behind the scenes at how Camp Shred came together, what’s in store in Cardiff this weekend, March 16-17, and what we can expect from the event in the future.
What are you trying to accomplish with Camp Shred?
SD: First, it’s our way of bringing a really authentic surf experience to the surf community in Cardiff, and it’s a huge give back to the California State Parks. We’re expecting to raise over $10,000 for the State Parks through this event. The other part was our way to grow the platform that Surf Ride had in place with their spring demo. Now we have way bigger footprint to work with, way more space for brands to tell their story, a bigger variety of waves for people to try out the products on.
Why did you decide to partner with TW Surf on this event?
TS: For the past few years, we have hosted a demo in the Spring and Fall at Seaside Reef (called Demofest). TW Surf has always supported and promoted our demos, so when they asked us if we wanted to partner up on Camp Shred and combine efforts, we were pysched and didn’t hesitate to say yes. Our experience with demos and our relationships with the brands combined with their ability to promote events and their reputation in the industry is going to make for an awesome weekend at Camp Shred.
What opportunities exist for brands participating?
SD: It’s a chance for them to showcase their brand and products to a huge surf specific consumer base. Also, the change for a brand to allow consumers to demo surfboards and wetsuits before they make that purchase. Buying a surfboard or a wetsuit these days is a big commitment. If you have a chance to try a couple and then make the best purchase for you I think thats a great opportunity.
Take a tour of Surf Ride’s family owned and operated Oceanside location, right here:
What value do events like this have for your shop?
TS: Our demos are one of the key ways we show our customers and the industry that we are core. We are a family owned shop that has been around since 1974, started by surfers and run by surfers now. Yes, we have clothes, shoes, and all that other stuff but the heart of our business is in the surfboards and hardgoods that make the sport what it is. Demos are also a way that we can interact with customers at the beach and it’s a chance to show them that we stand behind the product that we carry so much, that we want them to try it before they buy it. And naturally, it helps us sell more stuff, so we’re stoked on that.
Why do you think the industry needs an event like this?
TS: The industry needs all the core events that it can get. A huge surf demo showcasing the top brands and their best gear all taking place in the hub of surfing, Southern California, is a perfect way to show consumers why the brands do what they do and why us, as a retailer, support those brands. It’s also the perfect opportunity for brands, who don’t have much personal interaction with consumers normally, to connect with consumers in the setting where surfing actually takes place, at the beach.
What else can we expect besides a chance to try out the latest gear?
TS: Sunshine, waves, and warm water…fingers crossed! But really, there’s going to be live bands, food trucks, surf movies, education about surf-related non-profits, and other core brands just showing off their latest products like sunglasses, skateboards, etc. It’s gonna be really cool to see the local (and non-local) community trying all the products, surfing together and just enjoying the beach. And a big plus for consumers, we’re having our March Madness Sale that weekend at the shops, so if they like something that they try at the demo, they will have the chance to come buy it during a sale. On a side now, for us and all the brands it’s gonna be a great to have everyone hanging out and camping on Friday and Saturday night outside of the normal work environment, in the shops and in offices.
What would you say to those who are deciding whether or not to come out and try out some gear?
SD: If you’re trying to decide what board to buy, what wetsuit to buy, if certain fins will work on your board, this is a perfect time to come out and try a few of the brands you’ve been looking at and make that decision. We’ll also have live music from a couple local bands, a Pacifico beer garden, and good food.
Take a look at Surf Ride’s previous Demofest event at Seaside Reef in Cardiff:
What do you expect for attendance?
SD: With this being the first year we’re doing this and really the first of it’s kind it’s hard to say. We have a solid marketing push behind this, we have a bunch of radio spots on 94.9, etc. If we have around 1000 consumers for the two days I think it’s a success. This will only get bigger and better over the next few years.
Do you hope to do an event like this every year?
TS: Yes, like I said before, we have been doing demos for the past years and we plan on doing them forever. Surfboards and hardgoods are the core of our business and why we do what we do. Partnering with Transworld in order to grow the event is a great opportunity and we definitely plan on doing this every year! #surfiswhatwedo