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The OutDoor show Water Sports Area is growing. This will
be no surprise to participating exhibitors, after all water belongs to the
outdoor sector as much as mountains do. Especially given the latest outdoor water
sports trends flowing in to specialist retailers. This will be crystal clear at
OutDoor in Friedrichshafen from 17 - 20 June 2018.
The outdoor sector is changing.
Outdoor enthusiasts who only do one activity are few and far between.
“Mountaineers climb one day, mountain bike the next, and then paddle the next.
People are combing activities more and more – in new ways and at different
times,” says Steffen Sator, one of the managing directors of Out-Trade, Ulm,
Germany. Out-Trade specialises in folding boats, kayaks and canoes. They
founded the Nortik brand, which is made in Germany and offers a comprehensive
range – from packsacks to paddles, and spray skirts to cockpit covers. The
Swabian travel boat experts have been exhibiting at OutDoor since water sports
started its renaissance. And Steffen Sator knows that the leading trade fair in
Friedrichshafen is a real “door opener” for small brands.
The fact the he is riding this wave
of success is also due to underlying currents in the sector. Outdoor trends,
such as lightweight, microadventures and urban outdoor all have more to do with
water than with mountains. And outdoor consumers increasingly want more
mobility. The ideal solution: folding boats and packrafts. At this year’s
OutDoor, Nortik is introducing the new CityRaft. “It’s designed especially for
use in urban areas,” explains Steffen Sator. Weighing just 2.8 kilos and
packing down to the same size as a sleeping bag, it’s so quick to assemble that
you could use it to go for a paddle during your lunch break.
Belgian boat manufacturer Onak
takes a similar approach. They make collapsible canoes for urban use and
everyday life. The “Onak” folds up to become a transportable case with wheels –
ready for adventure. “Our boat is primarily designed with microadventures in
mind. The concept is winning a new audience to canoeing,” says Dominique Laane,
Head of Sales, Onak. Naturally, this means that retail benefits too. “We have
convinced numerous mountain sports specialists in Belgium to offer our origami
boat for adventures on your doorstep.”
However, water sports at the
OutDoor show means more than just boats. The wide range of additional equipment
and accessories demonstrates that water sports is a topic that can generate
good sales for outdoor retailers. Florian Hieber, managing director of
MyInVision, talks of some 1.4 million “water sports fans in Germany – and this
is set to increase in future,” and he’s only referring to outdoor water sports
and not Germany’s 300,000 motor boat owners. “Water sports are trending,” says
Florian Hieber, “Microadventures nearly always involve some element of water,
we’re doing more than just riding the trend wave, we’re helping to generate
it.” His company MyInVision focuses on high-quality accessories – from dry
cases for electronic devices for urban outdoor users, SUP use, boats or canoes,
to cooling towels. At OutDoor 2018, MyInVision is presenting the foldable
Paradise Pad, a revolutionary and unsinkable foam water mat. The new pad is the
size of a double bed and can be extended with further sections using its
integrated Velcro straps. Each section weighs 125 kilos.
Safety is always a high priority when it comes to water sports. This is why Restube is now offering two new versions of its rescue device. “Thanks to its Restube Ready interface, our compact water safety sports back-up combines simply and easily with other products, such as wetsuits, harnesses or swimwear,” explains marketing manager Laura Rösberg. Most recently, the new Restube Automatic for drone rescue has been making waves. Remote-controlled by emergency personnel, it can be dropped exactly where needed, to deliver a quick and effective water sports rescue device. Restube also sees water sports as a major future outdoor theme: “There are so many lakes and rivers to discover. You just pack a few things and then head off to explore nature in your surrounding area,” says Laura Rösberg. This is no new discovery. The classic English tale, “The Wind in the Willows”, by Scottish author Kenneth Grahame was published in 1908. He writes, “There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” This year’s OutDoor show will be demonstrating that passion for water sports has also become an important industry trend.