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Surf Expo Rides a Wave of Show Growth

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ORLANDO, Fla.– This September’s Surf Expo, the leading watersports and coastal lifestyle trade show, was a success on all fronts, including an 18% increase in square footage compared to the previous year’s September show. Held at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando, Fla., from Sept. 8-10, the show brought together more than 7,400 industry professionals, including more than 645 exhibitors. 

“The September 2022 edition marks the fourth event we’ve held since the pandemic, and with each successful edition, we continue to see our retail attendance grow. Attendance was up 16% over last year,” Roy Turner, Surf Expo SVP and Show Director, said. “We had several retailers return from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, St. Johns and the surrounding Caribbean. The energy on the show floor was up and the sentiment among buyers and brands was they were glad to be back at Surf Expo and getting back to normal.” 

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Launched in 1976, Surf Expo is produced in January and September at the OCCC and features apparel, hard goods, accessories and gift brands, in addition to events such as fashion shows and awards ceremonies.   

This September’s Surf Expo introduced more than 150 brands to the show floor, including Bartolo Beachwear, Benson, Carver Skateboards, Chasefire Outdoor, FoamLife, Guy Fox California, Hang Loose, Imago Portugal, iROCKER SUP, JBAY.ZONE, Johnny Fly, Lake Label, LaTAN Swim, Marine Layer, Martha, Mono Wakesurf, OneOne Swimwear, Phoozy, Puffin Coolers, Roostas, Saint Maddox, Salty Home, Seatec Outfitters, Sea & Grass, SMKFLWR, The Wave Hut and Trippy Outdoor. 

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The show floor at this edition of Surf Expo was buzzing with life and hearkened the pre-pandemic era of face-to-face meetings.  Many attendees offered testimonials on the success of the three-day show, including Molly Buckley, owner, St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures, who said, “Surf Expo is great for our business. We found several new lines to add to our ManCave store and we were able to touch base with our current vendors, touch the products and converse face to face.” 

 Networking was a priority, including many brand-sponsored happy hours, free professional learning labs and multiple fashion shows. Surf Expo also hosted several special events and amenities for buyers. 

“Surf Expo is dynamic, cool and it helps us conduct business with our retail partners in a way that makes it feel like we are meeting with family,” Lauren Behning, Dune Jewelry, stated. 

Key events included a keynote address, “Transformation After Disruption – The Code to Ride the Next Wave,” from world champion surfer, author and entrepreneur Shaun Tomson. Other events included the Surf Expo Industry Party presented by Body Glove and the Post Show Mixer presented by Atunas.  

Surf Expo will return Jan. 4-6, 2023 to the OCCC’s  West Concourse.  

Reach Roy Turner at

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