Surfers might not be keen on sharing their waves with paddlecraft, but the higher-ups in the trade portion of industry are more than happy to do so on the showroom floor.

Emerald Exposition's Surf Expo recently announced it will be adding kayaks, canoes and related gear and accessories to its Sept. 8-10, 2016, Orlando-based event, allowing boats to be showcased right alongside surfboards.

Paddling companies are stoked about finally being included in the line-up. "We're excited that Surf Expo Summer Market will now include the full spectrum of paddlesports categories and we look forward to exhibiting," says Confluence CEO Sue Rechner, whose brands include Dagger, Perception, WaveSport, Wilderness Systems, Mad River Canoe, Board Works and Harmony. "The timing, location and venue make this a great opportunity for both independent retailers and all watersports manufacturers to finalize pre-season orders and prepare for spring."

Indeed, evolutions in paddling manufacturers' sales cycles, order deadlines and retail selling season make the show perfectly timed for specialty retailers looking to expand their product offerings and integrate the watersports category vertically into their stores, says show director Roy Turner.

Boats will now be seen alongside boards at the Surf Expo.

Boats will now be seen alongside boards at the Surf Expo.

"The addition of the kayak and canoe segment of watersports is a perfect fit for the Surf Expo summer marketplace," he says. "It reinforces the show's standing as the premiere watersports show in the country."

Historically, the show has connected manufacturers and retail buyers in the Surf, Wake, Wind, SUP, Skate, Swim, Resort, Footwear and Coastal Gift markets. The crossover business from its current water lifestyle categories should result in expanded business opportunities for kayak and canoe retailer and manufacturer.

"We're excited to add kayaks, canoes and accessories to our show mix," Turner adds. "Our market continues to grow as we focus on business that has a connection to water, including watersports found at all shorelines, be it ocean, lake, river or streams. We see this as a perfect fit and a great addition for our buyer base, and look forward to attracting more traditional paddlesports retailers to Orlando as well as adding the paddle community to our show floor and our onsite events and offsite demos."

No spray skirts here. Photo courtesy SeaDek.

No spray skirts here.
Photo courtesy SeaDek.

Produced in January and September each year, the two Surf Expo shows draw buyers from specialty stores, resorts, cruise lines and beach rental companies from across the U.S., and more than 70 countries. They feature about 2,400 booths of apparel and hard goods and a full line-up of special events, demos, fashion shows, and annual award ceremonies. The summer 2015 show was named Fastest 50 for growth in exhibitors by Trade Show Executive.

Paddlesports manufacturers are glad to be riding that same wave. "In addition to market timing, location and venue, Surf Expo offers crossover selling opportunities from its established surf, wake, SUP and wind markets," says Bill Kueper, vice-president of Wenonah Canoe. "We look forward to paddlesports being included."

Brands interested in exhibiting at Surf Expo September 8-10, 2016 can contact Doog Becker at for more information. Buyer registration opens in early May 2016.