Hasta Luego, PADDLEexpo

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It was great while it lasted. But, like a river, all great things have to come to an end. Europe’s PADDLEexpo tradeshow series, also known as KanuMesse and once the largest paddlesports gathering in Europe, has officially run its course.

Founder and manager Horst Fürsattel cancelled last year’s show due to COVID-19, and decided against hosting the show this year and in subsequent ones. That means the 2019 edition was the final show of the venerable exposition, which drew manufacturers, retailers, and consumers together in Germany to talk shop, sling deals and network as paddlers are prone to do.

A scene from an early Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City.

“There are no plans and there is no date for another PADDLEexpo show,” Fürsattel officially noted. “I would like to thank all visitors, exhibitors, technicians and service providers, the Nürnberg-Messe team, the editors, photo- and videographers, all other contributors, idea creators and friends for their support during the event series. I wish them all the best for the future.”

A Brief History of PADDLEexpo (By Horst Fürsattel)

In 2003 the paddling industry was homeless; the manufacturers did not have a common platform to present their products and to meet their customers — at least not in autumn, which is the best time for this purpose. For the suppliers from Rosenheim and the surrounding area the matter was simple: they held in-house exhibitions at the same dates. Other suppliers from more distant places joined in and invited their customers to the hall of a nearby hotel.

This arrangement was well-received, and a year later the business people were already meeting in the local gymnasium. With additional exhibitors, more visitors joined the event and the “Kanumesse” became the international meeting-place. In 2005 the event moved to the Frankenhalle in Nuremberg, bringing the canoe-, kayak- and equipment-suppliers all together under one roof.

The first SUP board was presented in 2008 and hardly noticed. But that changed quickly: In the next year, several SUP suppliers were aboard. The “SUP-Expo” was created for this new and fast growing sport, taking place parallel to the “Kanumesse”. The SUP community felt understood and increased its share of the exhibition every year. Still in 2011, Kanumesse and SUP-Expo were merged under the common title “PADDLEexpo”. This made the PADDLEexpo the most important paddle sports trade show worldwide. There was no place on earth where more canoe, kayak and board manufacturers were exhibiting than in Nuremberg.

The PADDLEexpo was not the artificial product of an external organization, it emerged from the industry and it was consistently optimized according to the requirements of its participants. From the very beginning it was a trade show with free admission for the buyers. The Industry Dinner was also a tradition, there people met for buffet, conversations and side events.

“The cancellation of PADDLEexpo 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic offered the perfect opportunity for a conclusion of the PADDLEexpo series after 17 years, leaving the industry enough time to discuss and to shape its future,” noted Fürsattel.

Paddlesports manufactuurers and retailers in North America have two tradeshows coming up: the Big Gear Show in Deer Valley,. Utah Aug. 3-5; and Outdoor Retailer Summer market a week later Aug. 10-12 in Denver. Those making fishing product might also attend the annual iCAST tradeshow in Orange County, FL, July 20-23.

Info: https://paddleexpo.com

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