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I didn’t get a chance to see every booth at Surf Expo, but I kept getting asked what I thought stood out. Here is a list of the top 11 things that caught my attention at the show.
Please note, I had appointments scheduled with many of the brands mentioned, some of these items people directed me to, and others are purely biased opinions based around my going to a ton of trade shows and surf shops, and also what I saw people circling and crowding around.
In no particular order…
Sundays during the Chargers football games is one of the rare times my local break is almost empty. Which leads me to believe there are a lot of surfers who are huge football fans.
By partnering with the NFL and more recently, the NBA, Quiksilver not only puts its brand, but also helps put surfing onto a larger sporting map. Quiksilver launches its full campaign at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii next week. I will have more on Quiksilver’s NFL initiative in an upcoming story.
Core skaters are still riding popsicle shapes, but the longboard craze continues. Sector 9, which leads the longboard business, had a packed booth the entire show. Reggie Barnes, founder of Eastern Skate Supply, which distributes more skateboards and skate-related gear than anyone on the East Coast, said while Sector 9 is his top seller, Penny Skateboards and plastic models were extremely popular at Christmas.
I also saw a metal skateboard model (ouch) at both the NHS and the Lost booth. The biggest shocker was an AK47 shaped deck that the NHS crew says is built to ride, and also looks great hanging on the wall.
Lost's Joel Cooper, Matt Biolos and Rafael Llompart
Jim Glik of the Glik’s retail chain pointed me to the Lost booth saying it was one of the most refreshing brands and booths he saw at the entire show. Since striking out on its own, it appears that the Lost Brand has unleashed a load of creativity into its apparel and designs. Not only was its both colorful (and craftily built from crates and cinder blocks), but it was full of bright neon colors and original patterns.
When people saw the iPhone case, the response was always the same. “Where did you get that? How can I get one? I want that now!” But Vans was not showing this at its booth; a few lucky people just had them protecting their iPhones.
The Vans iPhone case
The design features the waffle outsole, a toe bumper and it even has the Vans “Off the Wall” tab on the side. Because Vans only released a limited amount at holiday, the cases sold out in two days at stores.
Every hipster blog from High Snobiety to Complex has written about the cases. Guys like Ryan Seacrest are tweeting about them, and the cases have become so in demand, I saw one on eBay this morning for $162.50 with 35 bids already. They cost $28 at retail. Customers will have to wait for a few more months until Vans gets more cases in stock.
See Page 2 for more of The List