MUNICH, Germany (January 11,2003) – While the tough economy has created an impact on sales, it has also solidified the already strong relationship between skate, surf and snow-and given these board sports even greater worldwide influence. Manufacturers and retailers from around the world will see the latest from the board sports world at board_ispo, part of ispo Winter 03. The world’s largest sports trade fair will be held February 1-4 at New Munich Trade Centre.

Board_ispo has become one of the most energetic and dynamic sport communities within the ispo family. In ispo Winter 03, it promises to reveal an even cross-over in both soft goods and hard goods by companies that built their reputations in specific sports, yet now are industry leaders in two or all three core board sports.

During the past year, core board sports companies such as Billabong, Quiksilver, Op, Vans, Globe and Oakley have purchased smaller companies in order to broaden their service in the board sports arena. Consequently, these giants and others now switch between surf, snow and skate in both hard goods and soft goods offerings. With more and more retailers selling all three sports year-round to customers who demand service in all three areas, the manufacturers have adjusted well to the change. These companies have also strengthened their position in sponsorship of major board sports events. Vans now extends its Triple Crown series to six sports-surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, freestyle motocross, bicycle motocross and wakeboarding. They are televised throughout the U.S. on either Fox Sports Net or NBC Sports. Billabong and Quiksilver -along with Rip Curl – each sponsor four stops on the Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour, and Op has bolstered its sponsorships both in surfing and snowboarding.

In addition, snow, surf and skate are spilling over into other sports and other forms of culture. The recent agreement between Fender Records and Op to produce records on an Op label points out the huge influence the board sports lifestyle has had on the music industry, and vice-versa. This is also showcased at ispo’s Sound Squat, a pavilion that brings together board sports and music.

There will also be plenty of one-sport manufacturers in the board_ispo halls, continuing to drive forward product development at a core level and offering retail buyers distinct lines to add to their stores. Since the 1960s, that type of ingenuity has been a driving force of the fast-growing board sports arena – one that draws in hundreds of thousands of new participants every year.

A number of special events, activities and VIP appearances will take place throughout the show at board_ispo. ispo_summer and ispo_winter are considered the most attended and most important sporting goods trades shows in the world. They are among the largest trade shows operated by Messe Munich.

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