Deal Is Off to Hold Surf Show During U.S. Open of Surfing

GLM Shows and IMG Worldwide broke off a deal the two companies made just over two months ago to hold a combination trade and consumer show in conjunction with the U.S. Open of Surfing in July in Huntington Beach, Calif.

After owners of the U.S. Open, IMG Worldwide, refused to allow GLM to charge admission to the public during the Boardroom International Surfboard Show, scheduled July 23-27, simultaneous with the surfing competition, GLM and IMG ended the partnership that had previously been announced Feb. 19.

GLM Shows CEO Charles McCurdy says, “GLM’s involvement with the U.S. Open of Surfing had always been predicated on our ability to filter and control attendance at our event through admissions.”

The show—which would have focused on surfboards, surf apparel and accessories—was expected to take up a 50,000 square foot pavilion during the sporting event that would have been trade-only for two days and open to consumers for two more.

Instead, the event will be held Oct. 5-6 at the OC Fair & Events Center (formerly the Orange County Fairgrounds) in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Scott Bass, Boardroom founder and owner, told Korduroy TV that the issue had less to do with revenue and more to do with controlling access to the event.

In past years, the Boardroom consumer show had attracted around 6,000 attendees. Typically, the U.S. Open of Surfing draws crowds of as much as 700,000.

James Leitz, IMG senior vice president, says the two companies had reached an impasse, despite the understanding both thought was in place just two months ago.

“This was a game changer for our industry, a massive tradeshow footprint on the beach with both b-to-b and b-to-c components,” Leitz says. “Unfortunately, like some big ideas, things just don’t work out.”

See Also: Consumer Surfing Show Partners With GLM’s Surf Expo

Ironically, the Boardroom last took place in October at the Del Mar Fairgrounds north of San Diego, less than 100 miles from its new location. Two months later, Bass and GLM announced their agreement to join forces.

The plan was for GLM to help Bass create a one-day trade component to the traditional consumer surfing show and to expand the franchise to other destinations, most likely GLM’s Surf Expo, held twice a year in Orlando.

Then came the February announcement that it would expand beyond original expectations with the collaboration with IMG and hold the show during the national surfing event for the next three years.

At the time, Bass said, “I’m psyched to produce The Boardroom in Huntington Beach at the historic H.C. Pier.”

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Posted by Michael Hart

Michael Hart is the executive editor of Expo. Reach him at View all articles by Michael Hart →