Words and reporting by Kailee Bradstreet and Hayley Helms
Walking the floor at Surf Expo January 2017, there was an influx of local and national shapers this season which seemed to breathe a new energy into the show. The surfboard section saw consistently busy aisles, as did the more curated Neighborhood community on opposite sides of the floor.
Looking to round up a taste of what’s new with product in the surf space, we’ve identified several of the brands and pieces that stood out from the crowd.
SuperBrand was showcasing its SIMA Image Awards nominations: on the left, Dion Agius’s new model, the SPAM, is up for performance board of the year, and the Fling, in the running for alternative surfboard of the year.
Over at Firewire the brand was showcasing its latest Kelly Slater board, Gamma, which features a Helium construction, making the board lighter with a bit more give while still maintaining the flex in the rails. The brand was giving a sneak peek of the board to East Coast retailers before Gamma’s release in the next few months.
Also pictured here are Ghost Racks, a new brand out of Australia that manufacture clear, high-end surfboard racks for retailers and board collectors.
Futures Fins was showing off its new in-store display breaking down its Ride Number system, a tool for retailers to make sure they are educating consumers on the best fitting fins for their needs. Speed Control gives a predictable ride, Balanced is for an all-around experience, and Speed Generating is for a more springy, responsive feel.
Pro-Lite is releasing the Convertible bag, a three-in-one solution for carrying multiple boards, that also unzips into two separate board bags. The bag retails for $315 and is available for pre-order, hitting stores April 2017.
R&D Surf and Ricky Carroll Surfboards
We couldn’t help snapping a photo of this pop culture amalgamation. Say hello to Deadpool, Suicide Squad’s Harley Quin, and Grumpy Cat, all on one board.
Amuse was showing its latest collaboration pieces with Flynn Skye, which include this fun print in the Gwen bralette and Karissa high hip bottoms.
The Amuse Zani woven is an updated version of one of the brand’s original designs.
The Alana dress was the highlight of the show and the best-selling item amongst retailers for Amuse Society during this week’s show, according to VP of Merchandising Lydia Ballesteros.
OTIS continues their ascent in the sunglass market. The sunglass brand explained that Florida, a traditionally hard market to break into, is their best performing location. Growth across North American has been strong for the brand, proving that consumers appreciate a high-end product with elevated design.
Rusty’s new collection of cut and sew for Fall 2017 will be made in Los Angeles—a story the brand is particularly proud of. While the cost of producing in the US elevates production expenses, Rusty says it will absorb those costs for its retailers for the next few seasons in an effort to create higher quality pieces with quicker turns. The Dozens sweater, seen here, was a stand out from the women’s collection, and retails at $64.95
A strong style for Rusty men’s, this long sleeve tee is part of the Before Crowds campaign, which hones in on the brand’s roots in 1980’s surf culture.
Reef is using their strengths in footwear construction to bring a women’s sandal to market that focuses on durability and comfort as much as it does style.
Premium surf brand Reef continues to bring a new level of product to market, including their new line of boardshorts that offer unique style, print and comfort all in one package. Featuring custom Reef prints designed in house, a brushed material waistband, and triple blend fabric, Reef continues to step up the boardshort game.
Body Glove is sticking to the ’80s with its new capsule Neon Lines. Seen here, the Dexterman (get the reference?) which features Vapor 4-way stretch, water repellent quick dry, and retails for $51. The Dexterman is new for Summer 2017.
The Yew collection for Eidon men’s was a standout, with well-executed subtle detailing, giving it a unique pop—not to mention clever naming conventions: pictured here “I Like Yew” woven and “Yew are Cool” pocket tee.
Eidon model Hailey was showing the Rianti suit in the Poppy top and Low Rider bottom, new for Spring 2017.
Heritage brand Katin showcased their cloud wash fleece at Surf Expo this January, which will hit retail late June at $59 each.
The brand makes 50% of product in the U.S., and has a dedication to creating durable goods consumers can rely on.
O’Neill is refocusing on the bag category, with the introduction of several new story-telling pieces, the Alliance and the Traveller 2.
O’Neill is segmenting its product offering for Fall 2017, by creating a tiered price point offering. The Hyperfreak Hydro (left) features water repellent, wicking and 4-way stretch and retails for $120, while the Hyperfreak (right) has similar attributes but not as many bells and whistles and retails at $60.
Jetty was showcasing its flannel lined chinos, a piece that was introduced for Fall/Holiday 2016 and has been performing extremely well at retail. The brand has improved and expanded the offering for Fall 2017, which was met with positive reinforcement from retailers along the east coast from the Carolinas up through Maine, according to Co-founder Cory Higgins.
Jetty is introducing its Roadblock quilted flannels for Fall 2017, featuring matte finish rubber coated snaps.
Ambsn returned to Surf Expo this season, touting its latest collaboration apparel with Modest Mouse. The collection was inspired after Ambsn founders made the journey up to Portland to visit friend and lead singer Isaac Brock and get a look behind the scenes at his day to day life in and out of the recording studio.
HippyTree is rolling out a new product category with its down jacket, The Carmel, at an entry level $190 price point. The brand is looking to capture a new segment of the market with its clean design and signature camp vibe details.
Continuing to branch out into the outdoor market, HippyTree has also partnered up with Rumpl on this performance blanket, which comes in its signature Legend print and can be easily condensed for traveling in a stuff sack. The blanket is made with synthetic fill and retails for $120.
Chris Christiansen’s collaboration frame with Electric features influences from his favorite hobbies: surfing, motorcycles, and snowboarding. Using a combination of timeless style, modular, clean lines and a perforated side cup, the glasses are available solo or in a custom kit for extra mobility.
Electric has seen an uptick in the women’s market, and has subsequently added additional frames and colorways to support the emerging demographic. This season, Electric will drop two new women’s styles along with updated colors on some of their classic styles.
Smith told us that the big push for their eyewear this season is in color. Color blocking is a primary aspect to their new collection, providing a fresh look for classic styles.
Debuting multiple new colorways for each of their categories, Corkcicle added a fresh twist to their already popular waterbottles, canteens and more.