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The Surf Expo Diaries: Day One

Sept 12, 2008

Author: Adam Levitt

I know that it’s only September, but Christmas always comes early for those of us in the world of wake. The end of summer always marks the annual pilgrimage to Orlando to check out all of the latest products at Surf Expo, going down at the Orlando Convention Centre.
My first impressions of the show are that things seem completely different. Having been to this show numerous times in the past, I find myself somehow lost as I walk through the front door. For some reason the show has decided to run the layout in a vertical format instead of horizontal; maybe vertical is the in thing this year? My other observation I quickly make is that it is literally freezing in here. It’s close to 85 degrees outside with the humidity pushing it close to triple digits, but I’m wishing I had a hoodie for the rest of the day.  I don’t want to get into any environmental rants, but the energy bill for this place would give Al Gore a coronary.
After getting my senses together it’s time to get to business. If anyone out there is familiar with the standard trade show etiquette, it’s well known fact that the greetings come in all forms, but the standard greeting I’m going for is the high five. To me the high five is the most carefree and fun forms of manual greeting. Since this is the biggest gathering of the wake world, you can pretty much run into everybody here. I know it’s not cool to name drop, but its only day 1 and I’ve already bumped palms with some of the biggest names in the industry. Just in case you’re interested here’s who I’ve slapped skin so far in no particular order:

Joey Meddock (a very hairy hi-five)
Jeff Heer
Don Wallace
Rusty Malinoski (it turned into more of a bone crusher bear hug than high five)
Reed Hansen
Ben Horan
Kyle Rattray
Yannick Thibbault
Olivier Derome (more of a lo-five)
Didier Godbout
Dan Mavery (got kind of awkward when I missed to fist bash at the end)
Tony Finn (more of an official business handshake than a high five)
Justin Stephens
Randall Harris (more of a wave than a high five)
Anthony Hollick
Dylan Miller
Emily Pattison from Sattelyte (she borrowed my USB flash drive and has yet to return it)
Garry Munce from Sattelyte
Jeff Engen
Chris Guard (the loudest slap of the day; congrats Chris)
Chase Gregory
Paul O’Brien (he was actually waving at someone behind me; totally awkward)
Keith Lyman
Josh Letchworth (mutated into a big bro hug)
Kevin Henshaw
Eric Ruck
Scott Byerly
George Daniels (stoked that his knee isn’t completely f’ed up)
Joel Adair (who is looking like a dirty hippie, no offense Joel)
Shawn Perry from the WWA
Stu Shinn
Corey Bradley (was eating some kind of weird toxic candy)
Nic Harlos
Aaron Rathy (slapped my hand so hard, it still hurts)
Parks Bonifay
Andrew Adkison (who I interrupted in the middle of a fierce ping pong battle)
Keith Lidberg
Ryan Doyle
Megan Kloosterman (I told you I wouldn’t forget to put you in there)
Bryan Pady (not to be confused with Ryan Patey)

I sure there were a few more and if you were forgotten, I profusely apologize. My high five hand was completely worn out at the end of the day. I’ll have to go put it on ice to get ready for tomorrow.
For those of you looking for the real dirt on all of the cool products on display, well, you’re just going to have to wait until tomorrow. Trust me, there’s a tonne of rad new stuff. Right now, I’m off to see the Canadians clean up at the Wake Awards.