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Stephanie Beiswenger
Stephanie Beiswenger
Project Coordinator, Exhibitor service
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Kerstin Moßmann
Kerstin Moßmann
Project Coordinator, Exhibitor service
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Stephan Fischer
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Ride the water sports wave at OutDoor 2018

Go with the flow: Outdoor water sports are trending – leading trade show presents expanded Water Sports Area

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.

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