What you missed at the Association of Wind and Water Sports Industry show in the United States
by Sensi Graves 25 Sep 05:55 PM UTC
September 8-11, 2021
After a one-year hiatus, 2021 marked the return of the Association of Wind and Water Sports Industry show. AWSI exists to support and represent windsurfing, kitesurfing, kiteboarding, foiling and stand-up paddleboarding companies.
Hood River is the perfect location for the AWSI show, as the event site features a rolling lawn right down to the water’s edge, making it an epic setup location to house the plethora of amenities. hosted by the show.
Spread over four days, the event featured brand demonstrations from Naish, Slingshot, Ride Engine, F-One, Manera, AK Durable Supply, Airush Kiteboarding, Freewing, and more. Some brands have deepened their product lines and offered comprehensive presentations, while others have remained concise and focused on their values, mission and future goals. Equipment demonstrations were available throughout the day and a light, steady westerly breeze meant plenty of water time for retailers, brands and athletes.
From 8 a.m. each day, the waterfront was littered with foils, wings, kites, surfboards and twin tips from the more than 20 brands exhibiting. The industry was there – the who’s who of kitesurfing and wingfoil was there with legends such as Robby Naish, Titouan Galea and Jesse Richman. Brands, retailers, distributors and athletes were eager to talk boutique, have fun and see familiar faces.
The wind was blowing throughout the event, but luckily the first two days were bright, sunny and warm. As the wind picked up, expected, impatient participants began to head for the water. The ability to test drive the equipment the brands have been working on for so long is one of AWSI’s absolute strengths, and participants made it to the river for many sessions.
At 4 p.m. each day, pro rider demonstrations started and despite marginal conditions around 14 knots on average, athletes like Jack Rieder, Noe Font, Titouan Gallea and Annie Reickart put on the show! Boosts, handle-passes and wing foil tricks abounded.
Another highlight of the week was Jesse Richman’s tows as he got pulled behind a jet ski with his 15-meter kite and dropped some 50 to 70 feet in the air, sending planks and front rollers going down. The rest of us sat on the beach drinking beer and cheering it on.
AWSI also nominates brands and runners for the âof the yearâ categories. During the AWSI evening, the men and women Kiteboader and Wingfoiler of the year, as well as the Kiteboarding and Winging brand of the year, were recognized. Of the 5 nominations in each category, the winners were: Fred Hope for male kiteboarder, Daniela Moroz for female kiteboarder, Olivia Jenkins for female winger, Kai Lenny for male winger, F-one for brand of wing of the year and Naish for kitesurf brand of the year.
After 3 full days at the water’s edge and with the industry booming, brands started breaking down and charging to get home. With the first AWSI event in two years, we were all eager to talk shop, mingle and try new products. The overall tone of the event was one of gratitude and excitement as we can all do what we love, in a beautiful location, with great people and friendly faces.