This year our coverage of the the 2014 Surf Expo focuses on innovation and perseverance. Since the economy has dropped radically in the past few years, we’ve watched and seen some smaller Expo’s, but it’s always heartening to realize that there are still lots of folks that are working their collective a$$e$ off, trying to keep themselves and the economy going!
Just remember that all it takes is just a good thought or a dream to change the world – remember the lightbulb? Of course, the incandescent is now going the way of the Dodo, but LED’s appear to here to stay.
We met a lot of folks last weekend who are doing great things while at the same time making it eco- friendly and fun; and that is what the surf industry is all about, is it not?
Bamboo as an example: using bamboo as a deck material for skateboards, surfboards use bamboo as reinforcement over an eco-friendly core. Bamboo is renewable and grows rapidly, and it makes the softest t-shirts you ever put on. Bamboo just one renewable resource; how many different things can be made out of it? We also noted folks using upcycled skateboard decks for eyeglass frames, key rings, you name it – somebody can come up with a use for the raw material.
No one is doing Business
if the planet is out of Business.
So let’s get to work and make
money in an eco-friendly way.
I want an Endless Summer
for my kids and their kids.
Sustainable living goes hand in hand with innovation – and nowhere is that more clearly apparent than at Surf Expo! I thoroughly enjoyed talking with a number of people and sharing some things of mutual interest. An inspiring TED talk that fits right along with this is Paul Stamets’ “6 ways Mushrooms can save the World”. But I digress!
My point is that some of these new start-up companies are doing just that; building good things in an eco-friendly sustainable way. My hat goes off to them, but in the end it is about the quality of the product, so let’s get on with it.
There are always too many people to see and a great number of products that are worthy of praise; those listed here are just a few out of hundreds that caught our eye. We always love coming to the show and always meet wonderful people, so please don’t feel slighted if we didn’t catch you this time. If you’d like a better look at any of the products mentioned, either click through the links to their website, or right click the image for an enlarged view!
I really like sustainable, and “The Arbor Collective” embodies that in spades. A great company with a great look for all boarders – among other things, they make t-shirts of cotton and bamboo fiber that feel soft as silk. They got their start making snowboards and skateboards, but they’ve branched out.
Ukuleles are wonderfully small instruments that you can take anywhere and Kala has a fantastic reputation for beautifully crafted and reasonably prices ukes. They use spalted maple, pacific walnut, mahogany and more – and their travel ukuleles are about half the depth of a regular uke with a big, full sound.
Walking around all the exhibitors, we enjoyed looking at the CollectA collection of animal models. They’re representations of the natural world in miniature – and our girls loved these types of models when they were small. They would take them with them everywhere – including the beach!
For beautiful, lightweight surfboards look no further than Sunova Surfboards. I talked with Jason who told me they make great travel boards because they are so strong (they’re made of composite balsa veneer over a polystyrene core with parabolic stringers). They have been built for flex and strength and are pretty enough to hang on a wall – but don’t do it! If you go for one of these, get it in the water – they belong on a wave!
If you’re looking for a replacement for all those plastic drinking bottles, have a look at the beautiful glass bottles wrapped in silicone made by Lifefactory. No more nasty BPA’s to contribute to cancer and waste in the environment. Their bottles are designed so they can be used from the cradle through adulthood with a change in caps, and while they’re not currently listed on their site they are also making matching food storage containers!
For protection of the brainbox, Triple8 has come up with some really unique processes for their helmets – including an EPS liner which looks rather like an egg-crate. The “bumps” help by compressing and absorbing/spreading out the shock of impacts – they’re perfect for biking, skateboarding, long boarding, inline skating (roller blading), and roller skating.
Lib Tech Waterboarding is just so unique, I can’t tech talk them! Their website is so very cool – please send me a board~ j/k! From their site: Each of the 31 pieces used to construct our surfboards are new materials to the surf industry. 30 years of experience crafting and riding high performance environmentally friendly composite surf, skate and snowboards went into designing our unique Waterboard process, materials and shapes. Each fused homogenous surf structure is handcrafted in the USA with a focus on performance and environmentally friendly manufacturing and materials. Only stainless steel fin screws remain the same…
I’ve a friend who has cracked ribs – you’d think that would keep him off his board, but not on your life! He just wears a rashguard by Sportguard and surfs while he is recovering. Protect your chest, but look good while doing it!
The folks from Europa Sports Products were at the Expo, sharing some of their products; NoGii Bars were available at the show, and we brought home a few samples to try. As we’re gluten free in our house, we thoroughly enjoyed them. They’re perfect for active lifestyles – great to tuck into a pocket or backpack. No gluten, no high fructose corn syrup, no trans fats, no hydrogenated oils!
The folks at Boardworks have lots of great stuff – have a look at their site! Pictured above is the Endless Summer designed Hynson board they had on display – beautiful representation of the Expo theme! Boardworks Surf has always represented some of the best in the industry and their SUPs are no different. In addition to their traditional boards, their “show up and blow up” (SHUBU) boards can go anywhere – imagine, you can fit an SUP in your Mini Cooper – gotta love that!
Have you every surfed all day long, and then gone home to jump in the ol’ hammock and fall asleep? You haven’t? Well, dang – you need to get with the program – contact Yellow Leaf Hammocks for some emergency hammock relief! These folks make the most comfortable hammocks in the world – so surf hard, and then kick back in an insanely comfy hand-woven hammock!
Do you want proof that shades are cool? Do you want proof that the company is eco-friendly? The Proof is in the founders – they grew up with “sawdust in their veins” working with wood in the mill. They pride themselves on providing original products that are handcrafted from sustainable materials. Proof Eyewear provides a wide variety of unique and original products!
As mentioned earlier, the show is filled with lots of SUPs, and really, what just makes sense to me are the inflatables! They’re strong, light, and easy to store – but I always wondered how well they surf. Red Paddle makes a well designed and tested board that’s ready to go anywhere. They roll up and fit into a backpack or roll around. The guys I spoke to really love ‘em – check out their site!
While Kay and I were walking around the Expo, at one point I felt a slight twinge in my lower back. Rick at Magic Massage Therapy saw me rubbing it and said he thought he could help. I sat down, and he brought out a little device that looks about like an mp3 player with some electrodes hanging off of it. He stuck the pads on my back and showed me how to adjust the electrical stimulation. We talked, and five minutes later I was good to go – pain free for the rest of the day. I’d never tried one of these before, but I can tell you that if I suffered from chronic pain, I’d definitely look into getting one of these gadgets!
We enjoyed meeting and talking to the folks at the International Surrey Company. If I lived and worked at the beach, or in a gated community or small town – I’d love to have one of these – no gas required, just pedal power! They offer an electric assist should you want it, and they also sell trikes and beach cruisers, but the surreys are “da bomb”. Nice to meet a family/company that’s been in business for 40 years!
A very unusual SUP caught my eye at the Expo – it looked like an egg – I knew there had to be a story about it! The Waveflo board is like no other board available. It moves with you to swim through the water the way a fish swims. Instead of leaning off the side of a narrow board trying to make it go straight, with Waveflo you just ‘go with the flow’. The board swims in a slight S-curve motion, staying on track and capturing your effort as thrust rather than losing it as drag. As a consequence, the 8′ board, which is shorter than other SUPs, according to founder Clay Pequignot is way more agile and moves as fast as much bigger boards. You can stand up straight and not work to stay on track. Then when you want to turn, the board turns on a dime. This makes it much better for surfing – tracks like a longboard, rips like a gun. It is pretty cool stuff.
Hamboards skateboards are the closest thing to surfing on land that you will ever experience! Gus Hamborg was very cool, and nice enough to give us a demo of the 6’6″ Bamboo Classic. Gus was cross stepping to the nose, hanging 10 and sliding without losing control – all while getting chewed out by the expo guards, LOL! These boards are designed to not lock up the wheels in a steep bank, so, yes it does feel like surfing coming at you from Huntington Beach.
Another great addition to the Expo is Cardiff Skate. We met the Inventor, Brian Green – what a nice guy! I never really cared for inline skates, but these are definitely a step up. The Cardiff Skate features a tri-skate wheel configuration. They are very stable, uniquely maneuverable, and can be worn with your favorite shoes. The one-size-fits-all technology makes them extremely versatile – just step on, strap in, and skate away.
Due to foot problems in the past, I no longer wear flip flops unless they have arch supports and are shaped to fit my feet. I like comfort! These flip flops by Hari Mari have everything I’m looking for – and on top of all that, they’re built to last and ready to take some abuse.
Ever just want to pop an ollie in your living room, but don’t want to send your skateboard crashing into your TV? Yeah, happens to me all the time. Four TV’s later, someone comes up with Gorilla Wheel Grips! Now you can practice all your skateboard tricks in the living room with no fear. Where was this tool when I needed it?!
The theme of Surf Expo was the movie “The Endless Summer.” There was quite a bit of memorabilia on display – cool stuff from first tickets, letters, camera equipment. Have a look at the collage below for a glimpse! (And by the way – don’t forget you can click on images for a closer look!)
As a gal who enjoys Yoga (not that I’m particularly good at it, LOL) I was delighted to see that Yoga on SUPs has become a real “thing”. There were lots of references to Yoga to be seen all over:I really enjoyed seeing so many new products at the show; it’s really great to see things we’ve never seen before! My feelings match Tony’s – in a tough economy – pulling together and collaborating on products, helping each other to succeed and grow is vitally important. That being said, some of the products we saw have a lot of potential – and some go together like peas ‘n carrots!
The first couple things I’m highlighting are Sk8pole and Kneeflyer. Kneeflyer is a unique binding system that mounts on skateboards or snowboards and allows for a new way of enjoying the rides – see the photo above! Sk8pole is an adjustable pole which helps you to continue momentum on a skateboard, longboard (or kneeflyer!) and helps to bring the SUP craze to the streets. Their claim to fame is the rounded handle end and a multi-directional rubber pusher tip which maintains 100% ground contact no matter the angle.
Next up – the AquaVault – is a great idea. As the story goes, a group of friends were staying at a chic resort, and thinking that their belongings would be safe enough they left them in view in the pool area. To their dismay, in a very short time their belongings (cell phones, watches, keys, etc.) disappeared. When talking to other guests, they learned that others had lost personal effects the day prior. So, with that bit of frustration as their inspiration, these guys teamed up to create a portable “safe” to store small (and expensive to replace) personal items. The AquaVault is small enough to be portable, protect items from the elements (not watertight, but certainly adequate to protect from a bit of rain), and best of all, lock onto most beach chairs, strollers, bicycles, beach stanchions, you name it!
For inspiration, check out lokai – cool story and a unique product designed to help keep you hopeful and humble with elements from both the lowest and highest points on earth.
Durable, water resistant and fun graphic bags for all sorts of purposes are made by (RA)Reform using upcycled billboard materials. From totes to surfboard bags, paddle bags to backpacks or change mats, Rareform covers your gear needs!
For those who like to change up their eyewear to match their clothes or mood, check out Kameleonz – sunglass sets with interchangeable sidearms so you can change colors to fit your mood!
Okay, so Surf Expo is big. How big? Well, let’s just say if we took 30 seconds to talk to each vendor, we’d still be there – a week later! With 1.1 million square feet of exhibition space, there is lots to see and visit. So after we’d been at the Expo for a couple hours, it was good to meet the folks at Kill Cliff. They offered us each a can of their specialty recovery drinks – the Tasty which is a blood orange flavor – and the Double Awesomeness which is a pomegranate-watermelon. If you like your drinks on the sweet side, go for the Tasty – if you like things a bit more tart the Double Awesomeness was perfection to me! The point is, we felt like the drinks really helped keep us going – and when you’re past 50 years of age, every bit helps!
Do you know anyone who habitually loses their sunglasses? If so, this next company is for you! Each pair of Reflekt Polarized sunglasses comes with a lifetime plus loss warranty. Their designs come in an array of styles and features (melanin infused lenses, color immersion technology and more!) and you’d be hard presses to find a more generous warranty.
Looking for a great way to keep all your surf gear together? Look no further than the Watercolors Pipeline Collection! With a built in rack for your board(s) to a cooler, stuff bag, umbrella and chair rack you can easily haul your gear to the beach and keep it all together.
So, you’ve got an SUP, but it’s not quite stable enough for you for fishing or yoga? Or perhaps you just need a little more stability for learning; if so, Kwik Tek has got the solution. Among a myriad of other products, they’ve got inflatable “pontoons” that strap to your board giving you that extra stability!
For fun and fashion, check out Madil (Make a Difference in Life) flip-flop designs! Moms and daughters can enjoy matching flip-flops – and each purchase donates 10% to charity. Match your friends with easily changeable charms and bands.
Our daughter follows Hendrick Boards on Facebook, so I had to be sure and stop by to say hello to Donny & David at Hendrick Boards. Hendrick boards are animal loving brother-designers of eco-friendly, handcrafted maple and bamboo skateboard decks and distinctive apparel who give of their profits for animal rescue. Every tee sold feeds an animal for one month! Good going, guys!
Another great beach accessory is the pillow plus – an easy clip on carrying pouch with an inflatable pillow which can be attached to a pool noodle, beach chair, etc.
Do you enjoy hiking, biking, backpacking? Have you used the Camelbak type of hydration system (a backpack with a bladder) for your activities? If so, you might like to check out Jetflow! Jetflow packs are designed to use disposable water bottles – so you’ve always got a clean bladder ;-)!
Watershot has come up with a unique enclosure for your iPhone 4/5 or Samsung Galaxy phones. The cool thing about these housings is that they completely protect your phone while making them waterproof to 130-195 feet depending on the model. The lens is glass and includes a lens baffle to eliminate the halo effect or backscatter light, and the housing has a threaded lens bezel so you can add screw on lenses and filters. It has universal tripod mounts, and you can download a free app from either iTunes or GooglePlay. The app itself is rather fun – it uses your phone’s GPS capability to show your lat/long. We actually bought one for my iPhone and look forward to trying it out in a few weeks when the water warms up!
We met a “Fine” young man – Daniel Fine – who started his own company Glass-U to fund his studies – and the really cool thing is that he’s helping others as well! Glass-U cranks out inexpensive custom folding sunglasses – you name it, they can produce the color combo you want, customized with your own artwork.
So, that about wraps it up for Surf Expo 2014 – a good time, lots of nice folks, interesting products and an enjoyable day. Hope all those who attended had a good show and that we’ll see you again next year!