Surf Expo Expose
Posted on Monday, September 20, 2004 by Rob Meronek
Surf Expo ExposeWords by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek
One thing that's especially cool about Surf Expo is that it's only about an hour and a half from my house. Avoiding annoying plane flights and packing a bunch of bags is always a plus. Matt Giles, Ian Gow, and Pat Stiener all met at my house at 6:30am Friday morning, and in everyone's best interest, they arrived on time.
Arriving at Expo couldn't have been easier. They must have made some improvements with registration, because this is the first time in years that we entered without any hassle whatsoever. As we made our way through the wakeboards, boat kits, and all of the other weird touristy stuff that compliments Expo, we got that first taste of the bikini-clad chicks that we've grown accustomed to at the bi-yearly event.
The street course constructed by Team Pain was pretty much the same as last show. All things considered, it's a pretty good course under the circumstances. Friday was pretty mellow at the Expo, as it generally is. You know, I can't even think of anything out of the ordinary that even went down on Friday, that is, until we left.
We had to hustle out of there ASAP when the show closed at 6pm so I could get back to Skatepark of Tampa for the Element Demo. I valet parked my car at The Peabody to avoid long lines of traffic and instructed Giles, Ian, and Pat that if they weren't there at 6pm sharp, that I was going to leave them in Orlando. I hate when I have to be the bad guy, but Pat didn't show up. We drove around until 6:20pm looking for him, and we even called his cell phone, which started ringing in my truck. Pat got left.
The Element Demo completely went off at Skatepark. We arrived just after the skating finished so I helped with the three-hour autograph session. Thanks to the skaters that showed - Tosh Townend, Brent Atchley, Dallas Rockvam, Jake Rupp, and ADHD sufferer, Terry Kennedy. Man, Terry is something else. He could barely sit down 15 minutes without getting bored with what he was doing - the kid is hilarious and fun as hell to be around. Marketing Director, Ryan Kingman, and Team Manager, Ryan DeWitt, kept them him in line though. Thanks for a great demo. Sorry for the lack of photos on the site - somehow Meronek got stuck on door duty.
Before I knew it I was back in Orlando the next morning, at the same Denny's, with the same people (minus Pat). The past 24 hours had just flown by. Saturday was quite happening at Expo. The Volcom Circus Tent was in full effect with clowns, games, and peanuts all over the floor. The vert demos were entertaining thanks to Tony Froud, Chad Shetler, and a bunch of kiddies. I was actually surprised at the amount of vert rippers there are under the age of 14...keep it up you little turds.
The highlight of Saturday was definitely the Best Trick Contest on the gap-to-rail. We managed to raise nearly $600 from some very generous exhibitors and people attending Expo. Here were the heavy hitters:
- $160 Volcom
- $50 Graffiti Skate Zone
- $100 Element
- $200 DVS, Lakai, Matix
There were about eight kids that had some moves on the rail, but Dominic Johnson came out on top with both fs and bs kickflips to 50/50 along with a kf crooks and walked away with $266. Matt Seeman has been ripping and he showed us with several moves like switch bs 180 over the rail, and switch front boards both up and down the rail - he earned $150 for his second place efforts. Third and $50 went to Alex Safier for a nollie fs feeble over the gap and down the rail - I swear he did that one last year, but he said he didn't. Regardless, it was still gnar.
The Show was over at 6pm and it was off to another demo/session, but this one was at Orlando Skate Park, just outside of downtown Orlando. Check out that place at www.orlandoskatepark.org. The staff couldn't have been cooler, the park was fun and fast, and the session went off. Rodney Johnson from Hawk Clothing brought out his entire crew, all of the Element guys were ripping, and we had some good representation with the Skatepark of Tampa, including Shaefska. Not to mention, Paul Schmitt, Monty Nolder, Chuck Dinkins, and several other cement park rippers were in force.
We didn't get out of there until about 11pm, so that put us at Pointe Orlando Hooters after midnight. From here on out we don't have any photos because Rob bailed and headed back to Tampa after the demo. We ended up accidentally meeting up with Rodney and the Hawk kiddies at Hooters, so that put our crew at about 30 deep. The adults drank plenty of beer and the kids kept us entertained while we closed that joint. Thanks for picking up the tab, Rodney...much appreciated.
When I woke up the next morning and headed to Expo from the hotel, I knew that I was over it. But on Saturday I was claiming that I was going to skate the vert demo, so I acted like everything was cool and that I felt fine even considering my body was completely worn out from the previous day's activities. One run and SLAM - I was so embarrassed that I fell on a kickturn. It's been three days and my knee is still swollen, but I think that I'll be able to skate in a week.
The rest of the final day at Expo was more fun than previously anticipated. There were plenty of drinks going around, and since I was suffering from 'last day trade show depression,' I joined in and enjoyed some adult beverages with the rest of the derelicts. I don't know if it was due to the alcohol, but I had a blast at the final Street Demo of the day. It was started off with the mini-bike crew from Alpine Stars jumping their motorcycles from ramp-to-ramp. I thought that their show was going to be cheesy, but it was pretty impressive and those guys were cool as hell. They were operating within one tiny section of an already small street course and managed to do flips on those little bikes...good times and good entertainment. In addition to some great skating, we had some 'volunteer' girls throwing product out to the crowd...good eye-candy. The females in the crowd were getting friendly and frisky because the folks from NHS must have given us $1000 worth of product to throw out. Those types of improvisational product tosses are the best.
The next thing you know it was time to go home and all of the excitement was over. It's been a couple of days now and I'm over the depression - life is back to normal and that's just fine with me. Thanks everyone that donated product, the pros and ams that showed up to skate, and everyone that made Surf Expo possible once again. We'll see you in January for the next one.