I stopped by the Scared Craft show early Saturday morning. Even though there was a $10 cover charge to get inside the event, by noon there was already a full crowd.
This was the first year Sacred Craft was held adjacent to ASR, right upstairs at the San Diego Convention Center.
The consumer-focused event was open to the public and featured over 100 surfboard shapers, and a live surfboard-shaping contest.
Scared Craft Event Director Scott Bass said that having the show next to ASR is a bonus, because ASR draws retailers and media from all over the world.
There is definitely a different vibe at each show.
“Here we’re all about the surf culture and the culture that flows from surfboards; less about fashion more about passion,” said Bass.
With open booths, surf art, and shapers on site to talk about their craft, consumers seemed extremely excited to meet their heroes and learn about surfboards first hand from the guys who make them.
Besides shapers, there were also legendary photographers like Tom Servais, writers including Surfer’s Journal Tom Pezman and a full room of surf artists.
One of the biggest highlights of the show was “Tarp Surfing,” an activity that recently became popular after being featured on a YouTube video. Tarp surfing is where skateboarders ride diagonally across a tarp while others pull the corners over their head so it appears like they are getting barreled. There was a constant stream of spectators watching.
Overall, the show was upbeat and the ambience much different than the business setting inside ASR.
Surfboard shaper and apparel owner Tim Bessell has showed his boards at ASR for almost three decades, and this year was displaying at Sacred Craft.
“The vibe of the show is so uplifting and positive,” he said. “I am so happy about the change. I love that the show is together (with ASR) but that we are separate,” he added.
I asked Bessell if he was selling a lot of boards at Scared Craft, and he said the show was not about business.
“This show is all about the creative expression of surfboard making. It’s not really about selling; it’s about people inspecting and enjoying the craft and learning about it right here.”