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Stephanie Beiswenger
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Kerstin Moßmann
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Stephan Fischer
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OutDoor 2017 explores water sports in more depth

Urban water sports trends given greater prominence at leading international trade show in Friedrichshafen: Water Sports Area expands

“Water sports mean variety”. The Water Sports Area at OutDoor 2017 (18 to 21 June) is all about variety. As a section of the new OutDoor Plus focus, water sports feature more prominently at this year’s leading international show. Exhibitors at the special display area and in the halls show that, as original outdoor pastimes, water sports are gaining in importance, especially if outdoors is seen in a more holistic manner. S mall, transportable boats make canoeing ideal for the urban outdoors and stand-up paddling is becoming ever more popular and reaching new target groups. Both trends are also showcased at testing areas in the West open air exhibition grounds and on the lake at the trade show.


“We’re delighted that OutDoor considers water sports important enough to have its own dedicated area,” comments Steffen Sator, owner of Out-Trade GmbH, the biggest German manufacturer and vendor of folding canoes based in Ulm. Sator is convinced that water sports have potential: “We believe that both our participation in OutDoor and the entire water sports area will send a clear signal to retailers that water sports products do exist that would be ideal for their ranges.” In his view, water sports are the perfect complement to all the different activities people undertake in the great outdoors. The majority of towns and cities sprang up around rivers, lakes, canals or the sea and a rising number of people are moving to urban environments. “Therefore, it’s only logical that these people will become a target group and their surroundings the place where they are engage in physical activity,” comments Nele Braux, communications manager at Onak. “The water sports area will help to create awareness of all the opportunities water sports offer. Retailers will receive a perfect introduction over a compact space and discover the latest ideas and developments. Onak, the young Belgian company and 2016 OutDoor Industry Award winner, will be showing folding canoes this year that are ready to go into production.


In addition to traditional products like kayaks, folding canoes and the associated accessories, the area will have two other focal points: stand-up paddling (SUP) and swimwear. “SUP is an on-trend sport and waterways without it are impossible to imagine any more. It attracts a target group similar to climbers and yoga fans, many outdoor fans enjoy gliding along the water, their bodies and minds at one with nature. And it’s a pastime that’s becoming more and more popular,” explains project manager Dirk Heidrich. SUP is an excellent type of water sports as a classic and new way of getting around as well as a lifestyle element of being outdoors in urban environments – which makes SUP attractive, particularly to the young target groups.


Swimwear is definitely not something that we would have seen at OutDoor a few years ago, but even here it’s clear that the industry is trying to diversify. The requirements and trends of today’s urban society are responded to and showcased: being outdoors means experiencing adventures, wellness and recreation in equal measure. Swimwear will be making a prominent appearance three times a day with its own water sports fashion show and presenting the latest functional and fashion trends.

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