H2ostoked wrangled an invite to one of the premier surf trade shows in North America. Just one of the “sacrifices” we make to bring you the latest and greatest in upcoming trends and products. Needless to say, it was very cool and as much a party atmosphere vs. a trade show. You know it’s a surf expo when people are cruising around on skate boards, reps wear flip flops, and ball caps abound. What we came away with.
First off, for as sweet as it was seeing new boards and boats, cool accessories, and celebrity riders, it’s really soft ware that drives the show. Meaning, swim suits, bikinis, shorts, tops, shoes, and a plethora of fashion accompaniments. A somewhat surreal combination but a small price to pay to justify the amazing “toy” collection. I confess to avoiding the resort wear section.
Made in the USA! There’s a growing number and firmly established amount of surf and SUP boards that are manufactured right here. Nothing against anyone from anywhere. At the same time, lots to be said for supporting a local economy with quality environmental standards and fair wages. We love it.
Going green. Face it, our quiver is not very environmentally friendly. Heavy on petro chemicals, shipped via internal combustion, water/power intensive manufacturing, and difficult to recycle. Solutions abound. A growing number of boards are being made with recycled material, plant based resins, and encapsulated renewable wood which reduces resin amounts. Furthermore, stainless and glass drink containers are the go-to for hydration. And sustainably produced materials are a big selling point. This is a really good trend.
Saturation. Particularly for SUPs. North America is the worlds biggest market for water toys. Paddle boarding being the largest growth industry in this niche. Thus a parallel growth in paddle board companies, all vying for their piece of the pie. From most that we talked with, the market has plateaued. Mostly because of increased competition and a flood of boards and board manufacturers.
Women, girls, gals, sisters. Although board and paddle sports market still sway to males, the largest growth is with females. Additionally, and at least based on the clothing and swimwear makers, they’re bringing a great fashion statement to the sport. Top it off with virtually every board maker tailoring designs for women. ‘Bout time.
Waterwo(men) It used to be that you were a surfer, or paddle boarder, outrigger, diver… Now, in the Hawaiian tradition, we have lots of toys in the repertoire. We’re grabbing what’s best for the conditions or our moods. Aloha all.