By Pete Williams
ORLANDO – If you needed confirmation that the sport of stand-up paddleboarding is growing exponentially, you had only to attend Surf Expo this weekend at the Orange County Convention Center.
A dozen SUP manufacturers were on hand, along with many other vendors peddling SUP accessories. A temporary pool was constructed for anyone wishing to test-drive a paddleboard and everyone, it seemed, was talking about the sport.
This was our first visit to Surf Expo and we’re anxious now to visit the larger January edition. I’ve attended all manner of conventions at the OCCC – Builders Show, PGA Show, Sporting Goods Super Show, etc. – and while I’m accustomed to seeing models hired as booth eye candy, it was startling to see barely-legal, bikini-clad women manning many displays regardless of product. You just don’t see that at the Builders Show.
Go Pro, manufacturers of those cool cameras that attach to a helmet, surfboard, or race car, had a huge presence and it’s difficult to think of a non-Apple company that’s as popular right now for making cool gadgetry. Each afternoon Go Pro raffled off a prize package of everything it makes, drawing hundreds to its booth.
Most clever marketing award goes to Sun Bum, a two-year old manufacturer of high-end sunscreen out of Cocoa Beach. Sun Bum gave out stickers and tote bags emblazoned with its slogan “Protect Your Lazy Ass” and most every attendee was cruising the floors with bag in hand.
Protect Your Lazy Ass. That’s our kind of sunscreen.
We’re already making plans for Surf Expo in January.