Report on ISPO 2012

(Large crew after second day at the FORTrate booth)

Patrick Switzer drops some 411 on the happenings at the ISPO trade show.

Ramón Königshausen, Tamara Prader and I were in Munich, Germany last weekend for four days at one of Europe’s largest sport trade shows. I attended to promote my gear sponsors and supporters Orangatang Wheels, Vicious Griptape, Fullbag Skateboards, Aera Trucks, Darkspeed Concepts, Risch Aerohelmets, and Patagonia outdoor clothing.

ISPO, Munich is not just a winter trade show for snow sports, but a sixteen building show of all things clothing, action sports, sport related electronic, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, ski / snowboard, outdoor, performance and sport style.

(Giant half pipe in the action sports building beside FORTrate booth)

(Free skiers putting on a show between buildings)

(Redbull with two Indy cars at the show to highlight their booths)

(Goretex with a strong showing, seemingly in every outdoor companies product)

Overall, it seemed like a worldwide party of people diligently growing the sport of longboarding from a wide range of categories.

(Les Robertson of Rayne Longboards)

(Sector 9 booth full with European distributors and friends)

(7Sky Magazine highlighting ladies longboarding in their next issue)

Common subjects were “what are your highlights of 2011 and direction for 2012”, and “how have you seen the sport grow in your regional area?” On top of all the new products coming out, “who / what is your inspiration”, and “what need are you trying to fill?”

(Justin Wilkenfeld of Go Pro giving his feedback on the Hero2 and 46 camera arrays i.e. Bullet-time)

(Thomas Cafaro of G-Form impact protection pads)

Other companies have become apparent to longboarders for the products they’ve made that seem to suit our purpose quite well. We spoke with Thomas Cafaro of G-Form pads on his patented stiffening on impact flexible pads and uses of the padding sewn into NJK leathers. Also, Luke Hontz from Five Ten shoes about their ‘stealth rubber’ soles and Swedish safety gear brand POC about their top quality helmets.

(Luke Hontz of Five Ten shoes with their King Lines high top shoes)

(POC’s Receptor helmet with two layer shell. Said to be one of the safest helmets available)

Another company, Mips (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) has done studies to prove that allowing a ~1cm play between layers of the helmet upon impact reduce head trauma significantly. “The combination of the brain’s own design and the groundbreaking Mips technology ensures maximum protection. Very simple and very effective.” Their system is being developed with POC, RED and TSG who make useful skate helmets.

(“Which brain do you prefer?” by Mips)

It is obvious now that longboarding is hitting the main stream. There are loads of companies now releasing longboards or longer street and pool boards to fit their style in a new market. Mike Vallely has started Elephant Boards and is finding his place. Respect to Mike, we had the chance to watch Mike shredding his Elephant board at a secret underground spot. The brand is now being distributed by MDCN for Germany.

In the Chinese manufacturers building more lower quality products are surfacing from the designs of those who had their products made with less expense, and are now learning a new side to the business world.

The Triple 8 full face was seen for the first time. This helmet has a revised interior and a four point chin harness. The helmet is certified with CPSC 1203 bicycle helmet and ASTM F1952 downhill mountain bike racing standards. The final touch is a $300 U.S. SRP.

(Bobby Oppenheim and Justin Rimbert from Triple 8 showing their new full face helmet)

We all met at “Risch’s round table” for Weissbier after the show.

(Drinks at Stephan Risch’s round table)

Other company should be highlighted for their efforts in sourcing quality local beer, and Burton for their over the top and quite expensive booth construction, a 40ft wooden hull of a boat with a second floor deck at the bow as meeting space.

(Sector 9’s custom labeled Feingehopftes Pilsner bottles)

All in all it was a great show with new connections made, current relationships strengthened and in the end being completely dead tired and overwhelmed by all the visual distractions!

Looking forward to the next show, only now realizing its magnitude and all that was found and missed.