What’s better than an outdoor trade show in a windy location where retailers and Kitesurfing Magazine can try out the gear? One held in Hood River after two years of COVID lockdowns. The Association of Wind and Watersports Industries (AWSI) trade show was well attended by retailers from across the US and Canada. With wind every day and hundreds of kites, boards and foils pumped up and ready to go, this year’s show was a huge success. The 4 p.m. pro pool showdown was a highlight of each day, while exhibitors and retailers swapped stories from the past year of retail life in the pandemic trenches.
Five main kitesurfing trends emerged at this year’s show. Expansion of light weight designs and new light weight materials in kite design is the biggest story. Aluula, first introduced by Ocean Rodeo two years ago halved the weight of their kites. The revolutionary material is now available from Duotone as well. Airush is working with a new light weight material from Challenge Sailcloth called Ho’okipa. And almost every brand has worked tirelessly at removing excess weight and lightening their kites to work better in the light wind conditions foil boarders are pushing their gear in.
More refinement in hydrofoils and foil systems was evident across the board too. Foils from just two years ago are being left solidly in the dust with stronger, stiffer more versatile designs that work across a wider range of conditions. Having a hard time foiling through your transitions and moving your feet? A new, more efficient and versatile foil may just be the ticket to your success.
Control bars with quick reconnect chicken loops, that can be reattached as easily as plugging in a seatbelt are now becoming the industry standard.
On the twintip board front, some exciting new high-end constructions are pushing the limits of weight and performance. The new Formula V2 is the lightest twintip Slingshot has ever made. The 136 cm weighs in at a crazy light 1.9 kg. Not to be outdone, the new Carved Imperator 7, built in exclusive Cartan 2 carbon.
The big air category is hot, with multiple new models available in newer light weight materials. Two made our top ten list; the new Aluula built Ride kite from Ocean Rodeo and the tweaked and lightened North Orbit.
In addition to the kitesurfing trends we observed at the show, wing foiling is definitely the new hot category that is here to stay. At the last AWSI show in August 2019, stringless kites were barely a blip on consumers’ radar, but the past two years of explosive hard goods growth has supercharged this exciting new category. Consumers have been turning their unspent travel dollars into hard goods purchases to help them make the most of their time on the water at their local beaches.
Kitesurfing and wing foiling are emerging from the pandemic stronger than ever. The gear to take advantage of our local water sports locations has never been better. Be sure to check out Kitesurfing Magazine’s videos from the show on our YouTube channel youtube.com/kitesurfing. Be sure to subscribe to receive updates from our next round of gear testing this fall in Cape Hatteras.
Kitesurfing Magazine’s top ten items at the 2022 AWSI Tradeshow that you should check out.
1. Slingshot https://youtu.be/8ZAw54FWplo
2. Duotone: https://youtu.be/SleLRgxWTCA
3. Naish: https://youtu.be/uSiLY7ITvN4
4. Core/Carved: https://youtu.be/uGYybvnWDx4
5: Airush: Ho’okipa Fabric
6. Ride Engine: https://youtu.be/NhLST8YXFRQ
7. North: https://youtu.be/7k5k8nMwMFg
8. Ocean Rodeo: https://youtu.be/-3FMYijjORE
9. WMFG: https://youtu.be/-vXu3QbDsw4
10: Eleveight: https://youtu.be/HcBF2WfcA3A