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Surf Expo started Thursday, and it's a good thing there are still two more days of the show. There are a massive amount of booths to get through, and I barely made it out of the surf section.
The crowd was fairly steady throughout the day and rose by late afternoon. Attendance was up 39% on the first day of the show vs. the first day last January, Surf Expo said.
For many retailers, this show is their most important show of the year.
"This show has been the main show for a lot of people for a lot of years," said Yehuda Azoulay of Padre Island in Texas who owns Que Padre and Extreme, two large beach and surf shops in the area.
He said he can only come for a day and a half this year, but it’s all business during his stay. “When I come here, I come to buy," he said adding that it’s the same way for many retailers at the show.
I ran into several retailers at the show, including Tom Brown of 17th Street, Ben Murphy from Bird Rock Surf Shop, Coco Tihanyi of Surf Diva, and Bobby Abdel of Jack’s.
I also saw some interesting new shoe categories from brands, new materials, and some innovative technology in wetsuit and waterproof apparel.
I'll have more stories and pictures coming soon.
See our slide show, above, for photos of Day 1.