Surf Expo is a magical gathering of the most important players in the wakeboard industry, so needless to say, TA was well represented in Orlando last weekend. It was a long journey that didn’t even last that long: we left Wilmington at 1:00 AM Friday morning, got to Orlando at 10, went straight to the show, then went to the parties and fell asleep at 3:00 Saturday morning. After a quick excursion to OWC on Saturday morning, we were back on I-95 by 1:00 and home in Wilmington by 10:00 Saturday night. Since I’m a huge fan of lists, here’s a quick rundown of the sleep-deprived awesomeness that went down.
5. Seeing all the new stuff – I’m not going to lie; it’s pretty cool seeing all the new graphics, technology, and gimmicks that the companies are going to be pushing for the next year. Plus, you can get online and tell everyone how in the know you are. Because when it comes down to it, wakeboarding is all about knowing more insider info than the next guy. Slingshot’s got some rad stuff in store for 2011, but you probably already knew we’d say that.
4. Wake Awards – I’d never been to Wake Awards before, so I was kind of pumped to see them. It was kind of like the VMA’s, but instead of Justin Beiber and Lady Gaga, they had Amber Wing and Harley Clifford. I’ve got to give it up to the crew at Alliance for taking Video of the Year with The Parks Documentary and I was also really pumped to see Greg Nelson win the Legend award. It’s been like 13 years since “Spray” came out and the dude’s still a total bad ass.
3. Video Premieres – Alliance premiered “Washed Up Before We Were Has Beens,” the new movie from Obscura in their booth on Friday afternoon and it was as awesome as you’d expect. All those guys are ripping and the video had a really cool Sfumato-esque feel to it. High fives go out to Danny Hampson and Aaron Reed for putting it all together. Later that night, Geoffrey and I got Nick to drop us off at the House of Beer to check out the premiere of Rob Absher’s new movie “Not Just Clockwise.” I’ve got to be honest, that premiere is a bit fuzzier, but we’ll get to that later. I do remember standing on top of a booth, looking over at Geoffrey and saying “This is the spot where I’m going to pass out later.” In other words: two thumbs up.
2. Free Stuff – I mean seriously, who doesn’t love getting free stuff? I came away with like five t-shirts, a hat, a whole shitload of coozies, and enough magazines to keep my bathroom stocked for three months. And that was just one day; Geoffrey and I were contemplating going back Saturday with the sole purpose being getting more free stuff but he wanted to go ride at OWC and I was too hung over, which brings us to our number one greatest ting about Surf Expo:
1. Free Drinks – A long time ago, some marketing genius figured out that people are more likely to spend their money if they were in a good mood. He then realized that people were more likely to be in a good mood if they had been drinking. Do the math and you’ve got a bunch of exhibitors handing out free booze at trade shows. Fast forward to 12:00 Friday afternoon in Orlando where Robby McFarland, Geoffrey, and myself were approached by a good looking, scantily clad Polynesian woman asking us if we wanted a rum and coke. Well of course we did, and the mood for the rest of my day was set. Nick and Geoffrey took off for OWC later that afternoon, but not me. I was on a mission to find which booths had free booze (thanks Oakley!) and then made my way to Wake Awards, were I was greeted with two free beers. Then I ran into my good buddy Molly who happened to have a stash of Red Bull and rum in her bookbag. Is that even a legit combo? Later, the boys picked me up and then me and Geoffrey embarked on a mission to completely dominate the House of Beers at Rob’s premiere, where we proceeded to call virtually every mutual friend we have, you know, just to say hi at 1:00 AM. All in all, the trip was a success.
PS: The photo is from the Obscura premiere at Alliance’s booth and I stole it directly from their website. I hope they don’t mind; I chose that particular photo because it features me and Geoffrey looking like some industry insiders. So thanks for the validation, Alliance!