The Outdoor Retailer show is the largest trade show for the outdoor industry. It has everything from SUP's, kayaks, down to beef jerky. If you are in the business of outdoor then whatever you need you can probably find at the show. For the SUP industry its the place to show of your latest and greatest products, and see who is still around and who has left the industry. This will have been my 20th year at the show and 5 years coming to the show with Glide. Here are some of my thoughts on the show and the industry in general.
First I felt this year the show had more energy and more people in attendance. At Glide we had non stop business from 9am well past the time the show had officially ended. I will touch base on this in a bit. I think the show was a success this year, and I hope it continues on like this for years to come. It has not always felt like it was worth it to me, but this year was great.
It seemed to me that kayaking is still on the decline and SUP is still growing at a rapid pace. I do not see any signs that SUP will slow down as it is still moving away from the coasts into the heartland. It will be very interesting to see where this all goes in the next 5-10 years.
The largest trend is ultra durable boards. We had so many of our competitors asking if they could license or use GSS. Consumers are getting tired of buying a board that the final step is paint. It looks incredible on the show room floor, but the first time you paddle it, it starts to chip and fall apart. Boards are a large ticket item, and you want it to last more than one season. This I feel was the main reason we were the busiest booth in the SUP section.
We also had a lot more shops tell us they are only looking to bring in USA made products.
I also noticed that a lot of shops are moving in to more of touring sup's like the Quest and Seeker models. It makes a lot of sense to me, when you buy you first board you will generally buy something inexpensive and all around. After you are hooked you want a board that has more zip, and can get you places faster. And as the market continues to move to the coast I see this area of the market only growing.
SUP Yoga is still growing! And still as exciting as ever.
White water SUP, surf, and racing are still very small, but still a very exciting part of the sport.
We have some cool things coming out for 2016.... Stay tuned.....