The Future of Tradeshows: Shred Expo

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After visiting the most recent Agenda trade show this summer, many skateboarders in attendance were left asking questions about what the lack of a core presence meant for the current state of skateboarding and the future of the trade show experience as a whole. At the same time, Andy Ngo and a dedicated group of organizers were (and still are) in the midst of mobilizing for an event of their own, over 5000 miles away in Leipzig, Germany. Fresh off a successful first year, the crew behind Shred Expo are gearing up for a strong sophomore year for their effort to bring the essence of the core back to the trade show experience.

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The origins of Shred Expo began brewing over the past three to four years in accordance with the general decline of skateboarding’s presence at the Munich-based ISPO trade show. Most commonly referred to as the Agenda show’s European equivalent, skateboarding participants of this event similarly felt the pinch of growing corporatization as they saw skateboarding being exploited as a way to bring people into the show. As such, Ngo began to collaborate with roommate and owner of Bastl Boards, Bastian Mühlbauer, to build their own trade show in an effort to promote the values and encourage trade at the core level.

With their inaugural show taking place last spring, the independently organized event created the perfect environment for collaboration between all things skateboarding, longboarding and even fingerboard-related to commence. You can check out the recap of the madness here:

According to Ngo, the key to making this happen again for 2019 is through enabling shop owners to see the faces behind some of the up and coming brands in the European skateboarding and longboarding scenes. Speaking on the potential exchange between these two groups, Ngo noted,

“Because we’re able to see both ends of the spectrum, I feel that the quality is coming back. We want to focus on the small brands that people don’t know about but at the same time have very high quality boards.”

In order to properly showcase this quality and let the products speak for themselves, Shred Expo is slated to focus on making live skateboarding a focal point of the weekend.

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By curating this sort of environment, Shred Expo hopes to shift the vibe of the show away from making money and instead about celebrating skateboarding. To help the cause, the show will be anchored by demos, games of S.K.A.T.E. and contests including highest ollie, wallride and hippie jump. At the end of the day, the thinking behind this structure is to embrace the “show” aspect of trade show and to spread the stoke in person.

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At the same time, the financial implications for the improvement of trade regulations within skateboarding is still an important angle that Shred Expo seeks to pursue. By targeting limitations surrounding shipping, taxes and customs, the team has their sights on leveling the economic playing field for smaller countries looking to bring skateboards from larger board companies and smaller companies looking to offer their selection to larger international markets.

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When it comes into seeing these possibilities come to life, Ngo is confidently holding out hope that skateboarding’s upcoming debut in the 2020 Olympics will be the catalyst for helping these trade agreements come into place. By broadcasting skateboarding to the masses, the Shred Expo squad believes that the ripple effects of having skateboarding on the biggest stage in sports will trickle down to local governments. By seeing the bigger picture, Ngo hopes to eliminate as many of the commerce-related restrictions on importing and exporting skateboards as possible. If the upcoming Shred Expo can help to make this happen in some context, it’ll have served it’s purpose to unite a more global community of skateboarding infrastructure.  

Those looking to make it out to the show can find all the details on how to do so on Shred Expo’s website here. For any other questions or concerns in reaching the event’s organizers, feel free to shoot us a message directly here. 

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