As I've worked closely with these guys on access preservation, events, evaluations and just good times for almost 15 years, let's stop by theCabrinha Kitesbooth first.
Todd, Damo and Simon hook up at the Cabrinha booth.
Cabrinha and the other Pryde Group brands had an amazingly dealer meeting in the Bahamas recently. So, I will provide links to those write-ups for more images and information on these products in addition to the Cab. website which is a better source for specific information.
An overhead look from Old Bahama Bay, Grand Bahama Island at all the new gear on tap for this year.
Six write-ups were prepared this year. Just click on the photo equated to your writeup and you'll be wisked off to the Bahamas in no time. There is a lot of gear imagery, some product details, island color and even rum?! Have fun!
1. 2015 Water Gear, Wind & Great Times In An Island Paradise - Part I (Lifestyle & history)
2. 2015 Water Gear, Wind & Great Times In An Island Paradise - Part II (Lifestyle & history)
3. 2015 Cabrinha Gear From The Bahamas - Overview, Radar, Control Bar - I
4. 2015 Cabrinha Gear From The Bahamas - Switchblade, Drifter, Genesis - II
5. 2015 Cabrinha Gear From The Bahamas - Contra, Chaos & Velocity Kites - III
6. 2015 Cabrinha Gear From The Bahamas - Kiteboards - IV
Epic Kiteboard's Cameron Maramenides and Cab's James McGrath enter the bubble zone.
As long as we're putting up the odd throwback shot, here's one of a younger Cameron from the 2008 show sporting his namesake board.
Lots of great water gear from JP-Australia and Imagine Paddle Surf. I was playing around shooting composite shots with my phone of many of the booths. The low light in the show hurt some of the image quality a bit, so apologies in advance for the odd fuzzy shot.
NP Surf will see you well togged out and ready for water action!
A ten year throwback shot of Cabrinha rider Damo and friends dry skiing on sheets of paper on the show floor. These guys don't need fiberglass or composite boards, they don't even need water!
I ran into Frances Osorio as I was leaving the Expo and stopped off to say hello. She is the first female kiteboarder whom I have met with a prosthetic leg. She is more than that as an instructor for 15 knots Kiteboarding School in Puerto Rico, but is also a team rider and kick butt competitor.
Frances taking a tourist for an exciting tandem ride. The economics of this activity may be startling to some kiting instructors. More about this in the section on Axis kite boards in Part II of this writeup to come.
Frances competed recently in the 2014 San Juan, Foil Cup Kitesurf Race in the twin tip race. She placed 3, 4 and 5th against a field of 16 able-bodied male riders in three of a number of races. She's a charger to be sure, keep up the great work Frances! You can read more about this impressive lady and role model in the following article in Spanish, "Determined to Succeed"
A throwback to the Naish booth at the 2008 Surf Expo!
I was only able to make it to the show on Saturday and it seems they are cutting back on content provided on that day. So, not much swim ware this time around. I like to insert images from the runway fashion shows as a contrast to the gear images, to break things up!
The Foil Fish a board and foil system with some remarkable differences chief among with this the low price point of approximately $1600. USD. Coming in at what may be around half the par price for many other foils on the market, this may be a game changer and could result in a lot more people entering this part of the sport.
A nose on view of the planning element and connection to the strut.
It is simple plus the materials and manner of construction allow a substantially lower price point for the Foil Fish. Also, I understand all the component parts may be purchased individually.
A view of the cross section of the reinforced extruded aluminum riser section.
Liquid Force knows board design and construction technology very well. It is an ambitious project with potential major dividend for a lot of kiters who would like to trying foiling but can't afford the price of the gear. The trend for the last year or so has usually been price increases driven by demand in composite foils and production back orders.
(LF Facebook page)
A throwback ten years to the Surf Expo of 2004 for a look at the LF booth that year.
A good portion of present day foil boards derived in one form or another from the classic Air Chair foil system show here on display with vintage water skiing notables and gear.
They have some hot new boards this year along with some recent favorite strong performers at the show.
Ken Russell distributor for JL Boards provides a very nice look at the board lineup for 2015. This is the best JL intro video for 2015!
If you aren't familiar with it, you should checkout the JL signature SUP competition in Miami every year, the Orange Bowl Paddle Classic. You can find photo write-ups from past years at: http://fksa.org/forumdisplay.php?f=91
A throwback to the Expo of 2010!
Hey, that one is too serious, here's another one. Ken is trying out for a new career in modeling? I was trying to find the old JL Bitch-Witch print ad, a personal favorite but no joy by print time unfortunately.
Let's drop in on the Best Kiteboarding booth and say high to Lia and shake hands with Ruben Lenten, the incredible high flying, looping, whatever, Dutchman!
Lia and Len10 for the customary Surf Expo shot!
Creative board graphics!
Lia shows off a board with some remarkable properties including variable camber!
You can ratchet the cam on the handle to tension the tendons substantially varying the camber and performance of the board by hand without tools.
The board also has an unusual groove along the edge to reduce turbulence and related separation drag.
Best's brand new control bar for this season.
They even have skateboards this year, nice graphics again!
A throwback to the 2004 show with a quiver of new production kites overhead.
Here is another a throwback to 2006 and Neil Hutchenson's season opener party for Tiki Beach in Ft. Lauderdale. Chyrs and Lia are locked in a pose while Garry Menk peers overhead? This shot is OK as Lia is sporting a Best logo.
I stopped by, said hello and asked what new products was North highlighting at this show? "Everything." I wish I could have spent more time to learn about everything but with just a day to shoot the show I had to keep moving.
Their very worthwhile mission is given as: Wind Sports for Wounded Warriors is a 501(C)(3) Non-profit organization that provides kiteboarding, sailing, and windsurfing equipment and training to our wounded military service personnel. Sadly, there is no shortage of wounded warriors seeking to come home, adapt and get on with life. This organization and others like it are dedicated to helping that come about. Being a volunteer organization with wounded warriors throughout the nation, they need our help. Gear donations/sponsors, volunteer instructors, folks to staff events and good old cash donations. You can donate the later easily through PayPal on their website.
Let's drop in on Dre and crew at the TonaBoards Booth
Dre and his Tona crew up from Antigua with some prime riding ware.
(Tona Facebook page)
Here's a throwback to 2003 and the first time I met Dre. It was at the Islamorada Invitational and still early in his competitive career. He got the conch shell though, well done!
Let's move on to a new but pretty intriguing manufacturer in the SUP arena, Live Watersports
Now for something really different, catamaran SUPs. These provide major stability, speed, low water drag, large payload capacity for the LOA among other factors. This one is rigged out as a fishing machine complete with an axial spud for easy anchoring. These folks have lots of ideas in the cooker so I would keep track of what they come up with, good stuff in short.
The LIVE team
I don't have any older images of LIVE as I just learned of the organization at this show. So, as an alternate, here's a link to the intro article I wrote about SUP way back in 2006 after I had just heard about it from some good friends from Maui while skiing at their lodge in Steamboat with them.I thought SUP would take off bigtime but didn't expect it would take at least three more years to get going in the US. http://fksa.org/showthread.php?t=3841
So, that's it for Part I of the write-up on Surf Expo 2014. The second part will go up real soon so stay tuned ...
Litewave Dave wrote:Thanks for the pics, Rick.....I love Surf Expo.....15 years consecutive exhibiting now for me.
You are welcome Dave! Yes you have, I can recall you being there steady as sunrise, after 9/1/01 when the place was almost empty, through some of the harder recession years as well as through the stronger economic times as well. You are an Institution there!
A few shots from the past ...
2010, you usually have some nice looking women just waiting around for shots, a rare talent.
Could be the same year or she visited again along with the rasta-dude and Greg.
2008 with Toby, Dimitri and Greg
The shot is titled Greg and Dave, "grill-less." You're going to have to explain what that means?
A classic from 2004, Dave copies art?
There are still more, some funny ones too lurking in the archives ...
Liquid Force is to have an composite and aluminum foil (plus board) to come on the market priced around $1600. USD. This is well below normal rates for composite foils at present, that is if you can even obtain them with production/demand issues.
I was curious as to how many might now consider getting into foil kiting at the lower price point?
Thanks for the grill shot, I know I have some someplace in the archives but have yet to find them.
I don't know the physical dimensions of the LF foil setup. Why not buy one once they are available and tell us what you think of it? The trend before this was foils approaching and likely going over $3000. USD. LF could have easily joined that trend, after all it is a for-profit business. Instead they tried to set an attainable price point for more kiters to get into foilboarding. Hope that approach/model works for them. With lighter winds on tap in some areas, that sounds like a very good thing to me for a lot of kiters who might otherwise be spending more time on the beach.