March 12, 2008 : – – Surf Expo launched the trade show season once again with an exclamation point on their perpetually strong January show, matching last year’s attendance, demonstrating perseverance of their markets in a difficult economy. Attendance was even to last year’s 15,000, despite only half the show being open on Thursday. Manufacturers wrote appointments right up until the 3 p.m. Sunday close.
Thursday was promoted as a “Bonus Buying Day” for the Boutique, Resort, Souvenir and Swim categories and the show opened with a busy buying day as Skate and Surf exhibitors wrapped up their booth builds in the South Hall for their Friday opening of their three-day show. Retailers were shuttled by buses and rickshaws from the South to North Halls.
65% of Surf Expo retailers add new lines each show. Our New Exhibitor Initiative included email blasts targeted towards specific categories of retailers, linking them directly to exhibitor websites. The Loyalty Pass Program, offering incentives for retailers to visit a deep list of North Hall exhibitors also led retailers to shop the over 200 new lines who set up shop in the Orange County Convention Center.
Board Retailers Association brought four fresh seminars that effectively attacked current issues and attracted full classes. Retailers were also encouraged to take a break in one of several lounges, including the Chill Lounge where free martinis accompanied a live DJ each afternoon.
Lori Kisner, Surf Expo Show Director and VP of dmg world media encourages attendees to when they’re not busy writing paper. “Our show will always focus on strict attendance screening and business-first, but it’s crucial that we bring the verve and the vibe out to our east coast retailers.”
Ed Hardy Swimwear hosted their international launch at Surf Expo with a loud high-powered daily fashion shows on the swim fashion stage, alternating with boardsports and beach shows on the main stage.
Team Pain and Skate Park of Tampa came together to help Volcom launch another successful skate contest, the Reptilian Ramp Rumble, this time with an 84-foot elbowed ramp and another $35,000 purse, with $10,000 going to Pro winner Ivan Rivado.
Surf Expo successfully moved the music to one location, outside on a full-powered, lit stage adjacent to the Sector 9 beer garden where Sector 9 and Hurley brought seven bands to play for hundreds taking a break from meetings on Friday and Saturday.
Friday night the entire Surf Expo community and even the public were invited to the East Coast Surf Legends Hall of Fame induction ceremony where Greg Noll and seven others were recognized, followed by the Sebastian Inlet Pro Winners Awards and the WQS Crowning of Champions.
A new look for the Surf Expo website, which is rapidly becoming a top daily resource for board beach and fashion news, was launched the day following the show. For up-to-the-minute updates, press releases and highlights from Surf Expo and in the industries they serve, point your browser to SurfExpo.com.