Over the years I’ve had a lot (some would say way too much) to say about Trade Shows. I’ve suggested there were too many, that they were too expensive, that the internet made them less necessary, that they’d lost focus, weren’t efficient, and that the way product was sold into broader distribution made them less important.
The poster child for most of these issues was ASR which, as you all recall, went away a couple of years ago. I don’t think my concerns are all resolved, but there’s been progress.
And the smartest thing anybody did in the wake of ASR’s closing was, well, nothing. Absolutely nothing. This brilliant doing of nothing was conceived and implemented by Surf Expo.
You remember all the noise and wringing of hands that accompanied the closing of ASR. Everybody wanted to know what was going to “replace” ASR. There were various proposals and discussions among all the usual suspect organizations about doing a new trade show. Happily, in my judgment, nothing happened.
I say happily because the last thing we wanted to do was replace ASR which, I think it is generally agreed, had become a flawed model. But when ASR went down, people lost streams of income. Having carefully studied this for many years, I have determined that nobody likes it when they lose a source of income, and they will flail about madly trying to replace it.
Flailing there was, but no new event emerged. A little time needed to pass, things had to settle out, and we had to get a better idea of just what it was we needed, because it sure wasn’t to “replace ASR.”
In the fullness of time, the Agenda show evolved to be part of the solution for the street and skate part of ASR. I never saw Agenda as a surf trade show and, frankly, how well did having skate and surf under the same roof at ASR work out anyway?
Then enough time passed. Nike walked away from the U.S. Open, Vans (owned by VF) became the title sponsor for the event owned and operated by IMG and GLM Fashion Group that runs Surf Expo and LAUNCH LA bought The Boardroom. The stars became aligned (and a bunch of people worked really hard).
The result is that we get the event announced today and described in this press release. I’m saying event because trade show doesn’t do it justice and I don’t yet have a better word to describe it. Here’s what the press release says in part.
“A celebration of surfing, surfboards and the shapers who make them, The Boardroom will be held within the Vans US Open of Surfing in a 50,000 square foot freestanding pavilion that will be floored, carpeted, and fully climate controlled. It will feature shaping competitions, seminars, entertainment, autograph signings and hundreds of booths filled with surfboards, legendary and contemporary shapers, surf apparel and accessory companies. The Boardroom will be a hybrid trade/consumer event with two days exclusively dedicated to retail buyers and media as well as two days also open to the general public.”
Here’s an event, then, that involves the surf industry, its customers, the media and the world’s best surfers. It will be all about surfing and, I hope and assume, we won’t have an Invisilign tent on the beach this year. I don’t know- I just had a hard time seeing their connection to surf.
The industry needs this kind of focus and excitement. Whatever this thing is, I’m enthusiastic about going to it like I’ve haven’t been about a trade show in years. I’m expecting to have fun, which is kind of why I got into this industry in the first place.
Tags: Surf Expo, Surf Industry, Trade Shows