Eight years ago, Kanumesse was nothing more than eight paddle industry distributors milling around a hotel meeting room. As the show came to a close on Oct. 7, after a three-day run at the convention center in Nuremberg, Germany, 163 exhibitors from all over the world had smiles on their faces.
At times, the aisles may have looked empty but, as SNEWS® was told, the important people were there to assess products and, more importantly, place orders.
“The Outdoor Retailer show is very America-centric,” said Corran Addison, founder and president of Imagine Surfboards, who was exhibiting in the new “Stand-up Paddle Expo” area of the show. “This paddle show is bigger and more important than the U.S. one at Outdoor Retailer. There are more exhibitors and more attendees from more countries.”
Although Outdoor Retailer doesn’t break out paddle-specific numbers, Kanumesse (www.kanumesse.de) has proved itself by showing substantial growth: From eight exhibitors in 2003 to 95 exhibitors and about 1,000 attendees from 33 countries in 2005 (the first year it was at the convention center) to 2010’s 163 exhibitors. This year represented about a 25 percent jump over last year with 35 countries represented among exhibitors. New this year on that side of the aisle were, for example, brands from Russia and Australia, as well as several smaller European Union countries. Preliminary numbers show more than a 25 percent growth in attendees, too -- approaching 2,000 -- also representing a broad global swath of 42 countries, according to organizer Horst Fuersattel.
“More visitors means more people in the aisles,” Fuersattel told SNEWS, reclining near the demo pool just a few hours before the show’s close. “They, of course, are coming because they feel they can take care of business and make money, and this is the success of the show.
“This means the paddle industry,” he added, “will do good business next year.”
As should Kanumesse. As of the last day of the show, Fuersattel has handed over his other business interests as a distributor and publisher to others so he can focus full time on developing the show.
Still, it’s proved solid enough for brands like Hobie, where it was represented by its Netherlands-based European staff.
“Everybody is here -- and they’re always here,” said Hobie’s European director Richard Barth, who meets with current distributors globally but also has signed up a few new ones.
For the small Slovenian paddle maker Ophion, being at Kanumesse is more affordable than going to the United States -- plus, it is one step in building awareness of the high-end brand. Ophion is now in about 10 countries, but not the United States, although representatives told SNEWS they had just finalized an agreement with a Canadian distributor at the show.
In its second year was the “SUP Expo,” which was one area that collected most of the stand-up paddle brands, such as Naish, BicSport, Starboard and Imagine, in one area. Although still fledgling in the United States, SUP remains, per most brands SNEWS spoke with, about two to three years behind in Europe, although countries like Spain and France are farther along in developing the trend.
“If you want to sell more SUP, you have to come here,” Fuersattel said. Interest was high in the category (click here to see a special SNEWS TV feature report at Kanumesse).
Key for Imagine’s Addison was not only the interest in SUP, but the fact that buyers came ready to commit. Since it was October, their season was mostly over, so they knew what had sold and what they needed. The later timing is vital, he added.
“The people who were walking into our booth were here to buy,” Addison said. (Click here to read a June 7, 2010, story about Kanumesse’s change this year to the later date.)
Then there are brands, like Werner Paddle, which have done Kanumesse for four years, but for that past two years have opted not to exhibit at Outdoor Retailer. In Germany, they meet with global distributors, while in the United States, the company representatives just travel to meet with stores.
Also showing maturity was a presentation by the European Outdoor Group’s executive director Mark Held about the Eco Index (SNEWS will run a story later this week about that development).
With Fuersattel now focused 100 percent on Kanumesse, it could be THE international paddle show to get to, no matter where who you are or where you are from.
“If American buyers want to see what’s going on,” Addison said, “they should come to this show.”