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Paddlesports continues on growth wave at Germany's Kanumesse

Nuremberg was once again transformed into an international paddlesports mecca for three days in September. The Germany-based 9th annual Kanumesse -- the international paddlesports trade show -- took over the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre in late September and included a special stand-up paddle (SUP) show-within-a-show.

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Nuremberg was once again transformed into an international paddlesports mecca for three days in September. The Germany-based 9th annual Kanumesse — the international paddlesports trade show — took over Hall 12 of the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre from 18-20 September 2011 along with the special stand-up paddle (SUP) show-within-a-show.

„For us, the Kanumesse is an experience that offers an infinite pool of information”, said paddle retailer Dr. Hans-Peter Müller, from the northeastern German coastal town of Greifswald, about the fair’s importance. Numbers verified he isn’t alone in his belief: 1,407 registered trade visitors (+7%) came from 41 countries to gain an overview of what’s new, the trends, and financial opportunities of all kinds in the world of paddlesports. Exhibitor numbers also grew to 171 (+5%) – the ninth straight year of record growth in nine years of the event. Net exhibit space also increased, reaching 6,628 square metres / 71,300 square foot (+6%).

The paddlesports market in Germany alone has grown steadily and continuously for years. In Germany, the market value of the core business of boat and related accessory sales supplemented by the rental business totals between EUR 40 million and EUR 50 million. That doesn’t include sales of other gear such as tents, sleeping bags, stoves, etc. In many regions, paddlesports also has a huge impact on tourism. The specialised trade show in Nuremberg, however, sets itself apart by hosting a large international and professional contingent. Professionalism aside, the event remains a true coming-together of paddle enthusiasts, with all the familiar characters, many exhibitors and attendees emphasised. Show director Horst Fürsattel said he is always thrilled with the commitment of exhibitors and the products they present: “At this show, the boss is hands-on building the booth just as much as the apprentice or any contractors. You can clearly see that here one truly lives and breathes the sport and the product”.

A focal point this year at the show in Nuremberg was the innovation and continued development in sea kayaks and touring boats, as well as the focus on white water kayaks. The trade continues to perceive increased interest in watersports on lakes, on rivers and in coastal areas and sees how that is the impulse for further segment growth.

Various exhibitors at the Kanumesse were showing shorter and more compact boats. Also strongly represented were folding and collapsible kayaks as well as inflatable kayaks and canoes, plus SUP boards. With these options one can address the limited storage options many who live in urban areas confront. Particularly noteworthy was the new construction push to make boats even lighter, without losing any stability. High-tech materials and construction techniques these days make such concepts possible. Bottomline is the overall trend toward higher-quality products; for many customers quality is more important than price, although a topic of conversation at the show remained the sales of cheap imports.

Then there’s SUP, where the paddler actually stands on the board. This area has already become one of the fastest-growing watersports. Originating in the United States, this sport can be done on any kind of water, not just the waves of Hawaii. One retailer at the show commented: “Stand-up paddling is not just a fad anymore, but a true point of sell-through. SUP is now well-established.” Especially sought-after still are the entry-level and all-around boards, exhibitors said, although a lively competitive segment has slowly developed. At traditional paddlesports clubs the youth are particularly interested in this new variation with a “coolness factor”.

Those in the paddlesports market seem convinced that this attractive leisure market trend that keeps users closer to nature will continue to grow strongly for several reasons: Nearly anyone can master stand-up paddling, from children to seniors, meaning the sport profits from a wide and growing demographic base. SUP is family friendly, can be done either in groups or solo. SUP can be either competitive or recreational, offers a high quotient of leisure-time value, and is nature-friendly. At the same time the trend toward remaining close to home to participate in recreational opportunities has given the segment a boost. All of these factors are effective, long-term developments. Plus, the market is very dependable and predictable, with a stable growth potential.

The date of the next exhibition is: 18-20 September 2012 (Tue, Wed, Thu).

Below are comments from Kanumesse exhibitors and visitors about both the SUP-Expo and the paddlesports market:

We bring all of our troops to this show from all of our divisions, including the catalog division. There is plenty of time to discuss everything in-depth without interruptions. What for us is very important is that there is a lot of staff at the stands. I appreciate that the insiders are here too. You know them, and you see them. Even chatting with others is important.

Volker Detlefsen, Visitor, Globetrotter

The show is extremely important to us. We meet here with all of our European distributors and gain a good overview of the overall market and the community. This show offers a very informal atmosphere, and we see all the important people.

Noel Basque, Exhibitor, Pelican Int./Elie/Lavika (Canada)

In one fell swoop I can gain an overview here of the overall international spectrum. Here you can tell how comprehensive it is. I can meet here with competitors, colleagues and friends.

Markus Keller, Visitor, Kanuschule Versam (Switzerland)

This is the optimal location for the international trade to meet once a year. The show gets bigger and more international each year. My schedule is totally booked. All around, I’m quite please – just like every year.

Wolfgang Haupt, Exhibitor, Prijon

The Kanumesse is the one place where you make the most international contacts – it’s a rendezvous of the industry, first class.

Christian Handtke, Exhibitor, Paddle People Gmbh

The Kanumesse has slowly become the absolutely leading trade event in Europe where you can find the largest showing globally. The event has been well-adopted by visitors.

Christof Langer, Exhibitor, Blue and White

Here you can really get a good look at what’s going on. I think there are more paddlesports companies here than at the Outdoor Retailer in the USA. This show demonstrates that our industry is getting more and more professional.

Erik Röverkamp, Exhibitor, RokX A.T. (Netherlands)

As new exhibitors, we are very satisfied with this show and are convinced by the concept of a specialised paddlesports show. In the last three years, we have seen our paddle division turnover double. This show offers a very good return on investment. We will come again next year.

Terje Holden, Exhibitor, Bergans/Ally (Norway)

For further information, please contact:

Show organiser — Horst Fürsattel

Tel. +49-9151-862204


Rainer Bommas

Tel. +49-731-1758770