Well, I just got back from a quick trip to Orlando to check out the radness known as Surf Expo. In the world of Trade shows, I think we’re a match made in heaven. Boards, beach gear, fins, more boards, sunnies, sunscreen, beach mobiles, swimwear, boards…and more. Pretty sure if I ever had a boutique, this place would be my first stop to stock up for it. Plus it had a cool vibe, and everyone I got a chance to talk to was so…nice.
So, I wanted to do a recap of some of my favorite things I saw (while it’s all fresh in my head). There were over 1,000 booths, so yeah, there’s a lot to take in.
Also, fun fact: A decade or so ago, when my husband and I were newlyweds in LA, (and both conveniently unemployed,) we scored passes to the Surf Expo. So, I quickly went to Kinko’s to make some business cards, and we drove down to San Diego. We walked around in awe and I was too shy to hand out a single card. I think we talked to one paddle board company for about five seconds. Fast forward a decade and it’s pretty cool to be invited by Surf Expo to attend, and actually talk to a bunch of people…but I forgot business cards. Life is so fun (and ironic) like that.
Onto the gear. I’ll group things by category, and keep it to brief bullet points or else this would be a short novel…
Surf + Fins
Firewire Surfboards – AKA one of my favorite board companies – All their boards were gorgeous, but they have a new “Woolite” technology thats pretty fascinating. They worked with Paul Barron, a New Zealand Surfboard designer, and ZQ Merino, a leader in the New Zealand wool industry to create super light and durable boards that use wool (from happy sheep in New Zealand) instead of fiberglass. Which, is wooly cool, and wooly less toxic. They have a Woolite Rob Machado Go Fish…that quickly sky rocketed to the top of my board wish list. Plus the firewire guys were also just super cool to talk with, which is always nice too.
Black Rose MFG – Gorgeous boards. Super super gorgeous boards. The thin Liszy made me drool.
Rainbow Fins Design – Had some of the most gorgeous fins I’ve laid eyes on, and it was cool talking to their artist, Sarah about the fabric used in them, and her art that she does with the leftover scraps. I shall be investing in one for my longboard soon, very soon.
Da Fin – My favorite swim fins had a rather sweet booth, lots of Kicks fins in new colors included. I learned they even make a xxs size, which Levi is juuuuust the right size for, and I’m just a wee bit pumped about that. Mark Cunningham was also there, and man oh man what a nice guy to talk to.
What else? There were inflatable short boards and longboards – They confessed it is like surfing a couch cushion, but still I thought inflatables were only for standups and goofy shaped floaties people take instagram pics with.
Lots of paddle boards. So many paddle boards. Some were the size of a small apartment. Some were the size of a shortboards. Whoah.
Beach + Beauty
Coral Isles Reef Friendly sunscreen – Reef friendly sunscreen that does not make you look like a ghost when you put it on. Had a great conversation with their rep about how sunscreen is messing with our reefs.
Sun Bum – It was hard to miss their booth with the giant Gorilla next to it, ping pong table and bean bag chair lounge. Well done Sun Bum, well done. Their new kid’s body care line looks amazing, so does some of their hair products, and I was thrilled to score their soon to launch spray hand sanitizer (take that flu season!)
Sphynx pocket razors – Are a little on the go pocket razors where you can shave anywhere or do touch ups. I really wish I had one of these when I snuck out to the pool in the afternoon.
Elox Bikini Beads – These are patented little beads that let you tie your bikini in ways other than around your neck, without having to tie it in knots. Looking forward to testing ‘em out.
…I really didn’t spend too much checking out swimwear, but I did stop by the Tavik booth…and fell in love with a plethora of suits. And Amuse Society is killing it, as usual.
Duvin Design Co – Is an line for dudes, but I’d SO rock any of their tees or button ups. Anywhere. Anytime.
Saltwater hippie – Hands down my favorite booth. It was basically an old VW surf bus that the crew drove up from Madiera Beach, FL …and into the convention center for the show. I wish I would’ve been able to check out their gear, but they were pretty swamped with buyers. Rightfully so.
I’m wearing a hat form Banks Journal as I type this. They are cool.
My favorite sunnies I saw were an oersized black and white tortoise frame aviator with rose gold polarized lenses by D’Blanc. Swoon.
Otis (totally scratch proof sunnies), and Maui Jim (they had hula dancers) had some gems too.
Almost done folks…
The overall vibe –
It’s just a really fun trade show. Reef had a big indoor ball pool (which Levi immediately fell in love with then disappeared into). I’m sure all the Reef folks will have nightmares about constantly picking up balls for the next few days. There was in indoor skate park, a bunch of brands had happy hours, and there was an on site board shaping room where you could watch shapers at work, which is something I’ve never been able to do, and thoroughly enjoyed watching do their craft.
I also logged in some pool time and thoroughly enjoyed having a gigantic hotel gym all to myself to go nuts in. Guilty as charged.
Surf Expo, thanks so much for the fun time.
Next time I’ll remember business cards.
This post was Sponsored by Surf Expo. Thanks for taking the time to check it out, and supporting companies who love Goldfish Kiss.