Paddleexpo reduced exhibitor space by more than a third, marking the first time in the show’s 11 year history that it has not expanded. The move enabled the trade show, which takes place in Nuremburg, Germany Oct. 2-4, to secure a more attractive venue and focus the show more tightly on hard goods.

Based on overwhelming demand from exhibitors and attendees, the fair will return to Hall 7A, a brighter space without columns on the floor breaking it up. For that, organisers accepted a net reduction in exhibitor space from 14,000 square metres to 9,000 square metres.
The return to that hall will mean a more pleasant atmosphere, according to show organizers. Exhibitors who contracted for space early received slightly smaller spaces than they ordered. However, that then allowed the show to fit in all exhibitors who had applied by the deadline. Of course, that mean those that delayed were put on a waiting list.

A more intimate and focused event
With a space approximately two-thirds the size of the previous year, brands represented will number 251 compared to 271 in 2012. Smaller spaces were a compromise to accomplish “more business per square metre” in a busier and livelier hall.

The goal, per director Horst Fürsattel, was to consciously maintain an intimate trade fair focused exclusively on hardware for its international audience, avoiding other trendy or fashionable products such as sun block, flip-flops and other related but niche items found easily elsewhere.
Internationality is key: Last year 54 percent of participants came from 47 countries, having gradually replaced a formerly regional group of importers. Exhibitors now come from France Italy, Iceland, Korea, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, China, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, the USA and, of course, Germany.

These changes, however, speak to today’s changing paddlesports industry and its internationalisation as well as numerous changes in distributor organization. For example, Northwest River Supplies (NRS) is planning a European warehouse in the Netherlands, and importers such as Gatz Canoe and Tahe Outdoors are furthering their international expansion. Their thermoformed ABS kayaks made in the USA or Canada that sit low on the water are a new brand entry into a category that has been until now dominated by local manufacturers.

SUP show-within-a-show
A stand-up paddle show-within-a-show at Paddleexpo proves attractive to professionals focused on the business of SUP with the ability to take hard look at the coming season’s plans. Globally known brands such as Naish, Starboard, BIC, Mistral and others organise their own international meetings annually at Paddleexpo. Even smaller cult brands like Makai Boards find their place. And the SUP Lounge located centrally to the SUP area helps movers and shakers involved in the growing trend meet, greet and mingle in a convenient setting. Of course, many broader paddle companies are also now marketing SUP boards and they are located throughout the hall.
Whitewater Hall of Fame award added to industry retailer party
Now a tradition, the Industry Retailer Party on the second evening remains a highlight with food and festivities, with a focus on honoring retailers. However, an additional honour is being added to the event in 2013. At this year’s party, the highly respected International Whitewater Hall of Fame prize will be awarded in a ceremony outside of the United States for the first time since its inception.

An additional benefit for show attendees are business seminars open to all. Offered daily by companies such as Jackson Kayak and Camaro, they cover for example, the kayak fishing market (“How to become a successful kayak fishing retailer”) or technical insights about products and materials (discussion of Camaro’s titanium material by its product developers.

Paddleexpo is a trade-only show that takes place every year in Nuremburg, Germany, does not admit consumers and attracts many U.S. paddlesports brands.