Spring Break – check. Skate, skim, surf, paddle boards – check. The hottest beach fashions and accessories – check. Beautiful people and crafty hucksters – check. H2ostoked again got invited to wander the rows in Orlando’s 2018 Surf Expo. Thee international trade show for all things beach and surf. What we learned this time.
As usual, the bulk of products were the knick knacks you find in the touristy beach shops. So we zeroed in on the boards to talk story and feel out the changing industry that hooks us water types. Let’s get to it.
Boards, whether skim, surf, or paddle, in the intro to medium range have plateaued or dropped. Leaving the industry with a little head scratching future wonderment. Most attributed the decline to a number of factors. Mainly dumping of “cheap” imports, less younger people grooving, price points, and the “one board is enough factor.” Some big players have even gone out of business.
On the flip side, the custom, exclusive, sexy, label, boutique builders are seeing some major growth. This trend parallels with high end accessories like sunglasses, coolers, and swim wear. The only plus I heard regarding the “cheap imports,” was it introduced more beginners to the sport that now want quivers and better performing boards. Basically, more money spent on high ticket goodies, lass money spent on the mid range.
It was a lot to ponder. So we followed the cool kids to the after parties. We’ll see what next year brings.