The number of US regional consumer dive shows has shot up over the last few years. The US Dive Shows company now duplicates its proven formula in seven venues across the county. Combine that with the big standards, Our World Underwater, Beneath the Sea and the Scuba Show in Long Beach, CA and you are into double digits. But dive media mogul Rick Stratton is forging a new and different path with both his Northwest Dive and Travel Expo (NWDS – locally called the Tacoma show) and his re-branded journal.
Diminishing attendance at the former NWDS and exhibitor requests for a venue change were two major contributors that prompted Stratton to realize he needed to make a big change or risk going under. In a move that could be a catalyst for growth in the dive industry he decided to vent the walls of dive community and create a show that speaks to divers and all water sports enthusiasts. The new show on the Seattle waterfront is the Scuba and H2O Adventure Show. Likewise the new journal is the titled the Scuba and H2O Adventure .
The show will be held April 5 and 6, 2014 on Seattle’s Smith Cove – Pier 91, one of Seattle’s cruise ship docks. It is around 3 miles from the downtown core and ferry docs.
From “show” to “show and sale”
Unlike past regional dive shows, the The SCUBA & H2O Adventure Show rules will allow vendors to sell from the show floor. The producers explain, “By offering sales on the show floor, vendors can more effectively market their businesses and recoup the direct expenses of the show. Local retailers do not have any restrictions on sales – anything that can be sold legally in Washington State -can be sold from their booths. Manufacturers are encouraged not to sell directly to the public, rather to refer all requests of purchase to retailers participating in the show.” While this move may bring in more vendors, one industry watcher we interviewed cautioned that this could be a slippery slope of doom for local dive shops. He postulated that if one of the online scuba superstores (e.g. Scuba.com) decided to bring in a truckload of gear to sell at small margins to undercut local dealers, it could take area dive shops months to recover from the lost sales. However, others pointed out that many of the large dive shows allow sales without negative consequences.
The producers say the show will feature over 150 exhibitors and include indoor and outdoor displays with prominent travel experts, consumer mini-clinics, interactive family-friendly activities, and industry focuses trade events. There will be interactive demonstrations including a paddling demos, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) demos and even SUP yoga demonstrations. As with the previous dive shows they have kept the show floor seminars for visitors to learn about gear, safety, travel, and of course, try new water sports.
Many vendors offer prize drawings. The show grand prize is a trip to a beautiful resort in Fiji with Airfare.
As with each of the past shows the producers pick a charity to support. This year all food and beverage profits from the show are being donated to the Burned Children Recovery Foundation (BCRF) .
Show tickets are available for purchase on this show site or at the door for $10. Many local clubs and shops are offering discount coupons which include entries in special prize drawings. Children nine years old and under are free. Military including retirees, all Police, Fire, or EMS personal who show credentials are also FREE ADMISSION. The contact number for questions (360)240-1874.
Hot on the heels of the Scuba and H2O Adventure show is the similar, albeit smaller Gear Up Show. Gear Up is an outdoor adventure show that also includes a substantial scuba presence. The Gear Up Expo to be held in Everett, WA April 26-27, 2014.
We will be covering both of these shows live with ScbuaGadget Facebook posts, tweets and a summary article to follow.