Kiteboarders worldwide are going to feel like kids on Christmas when the new 2017 products roll out from all the kiteboarding brands. From new control bar technology and materials to more customized gear and accessories, this year’s annual industry trade show for AWSI (Association Windsports and SUP Industries) at Surf Expo 2016 did not disappoint the Tkb staff or retailers as they checked out all the new toys coming from participating brands including Airush, Best, North, Slingshot, Ocean Rodeo, Ride Engine, F.One, Manera, Mystic, AXIS, Litewave Designs, Crazy Foil, HQ Kites, Vanhunks, Naish, WOO Sports, LP Foils, Waterman MFG and Progressive. 2017 represents a year of innovation and there’s plenty to be excited about! For details on what’s coming, be sure to check out the 2016 Surf Expo videos at www.thekiteboarder.com.
Friday night, the industry presented its annual awards for the brand, male rider, female rider and retailer of the year. For the brand of the year nominations the criteria was:
- Profile/exposure (traditional and social media exposure) in North America
- Recent product innovation
- Support of events in North America
- Support of a healthy dealer network in North America
- General increase/maintenance of significant market share
- Support of healthy industry initiatives (trade shows, media, events, athletes
In the running were Cabrinha, North, Airush, Liquid Force and Slingshot but in the end, Slingshot claimed the 2016 Brand of the Year Award, much to the pride of an elated Tony Logosz (SS Co-founder) who thanked his team for their dedication and hard work, along with the industry and riders worldwide for their support.
For the male and female riders of the year, the awards were based on:
- Profile/exposure (traditional and social media exposure)
- Professionalism, ability to present the sport in a professional manner
- Involvement/support of North American events, demos
- Contest results
- Content generation (video, print, social)
Colleen Carroll (North), Sensi Graves (LF) and Tonia Farman (LF) earned the top votes with North’s Colleen Carroll coming out on top for the the third year in a row. When accepting her award, Colleen said it was an exciting time to be involved in kiteboarding, especially with the inauguration of the Kite Park League and tour this year, a grassroots efforts organized by riders pushing progression in park-style riding.
For the men, it came down to Jesse Richman (Naish, Brandon Scheid (LF) and Craig Cunningham (North). Winner Jesse Richman was not able to make it to this year’s show so North American Naish representative Mike Dunhaime accepted on his behalf. This is the second time Jesse has been recognized as male rider of the year.
The kite awards concluded with retailer of the year, an award voted on by the industry brands. For the first time, MAC Kiteboarding out of Michigan took the top spot.
Congratulations to all the finalists and winners of the 2016 AWSI awards!