ISPO 2012 Highlights – Ashley Gray tells us about his first time visit

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Powerbreather ISPO 2012 Munich

So ISPO 2012 done!  It was a first time for me.  Certainly an event to check out just for the sheer scale of the Munich venue and the surprising amount of brands that seem to exist and be able to spend big on some very flashy stands but have still yet to break through into the UK.  Primarily a rendezvous for sales and distributers, the more technical amongst us are left to look a bit closer beyond the enthusiastic fluorescent extreme vibe and numerous renditions of artificial fur but there were a few golden nuggets to be had.

In the meantime it was also interesting to get out on the other side and see how products are actually being presented to buyers and consumers at such an event.  Ultimately something that all researchers need to keep an eye on to ensure what they are working on is in demand!

Stand outs for me… The SmarTube by Blue Desert, simply on personal experience having had a couple of refillable bladder systems that have deteriorated after the struggle to keep clean, the ability to switch in your old but more fresh bottles of water or any drink is very appealing and convenient.  Blue Desert also have a range of other neat bottle attachments to keep hydration handy!


As an ex swimmer, Powerbreather also caught my eye.  Snorkels have now become more common place on the poolside to allow swimmers to focus on their technique without the complication of breathing.  Where this product takes the lead is its balanced design around the head which should make the feeling of use more natural.  They also claim the valve allows only fresh air to be inhaled along with no water!  To strengthen the product even more it would be great to see smaller diameter tubes to minimize drag resistance and make it a little less cumbersome.

Finally, those that know me well, know that magnets make me a little bit excited!  So there maybe some bias in this final product but if you use a helmet for your sport you can see exactly why it comes in useful.  With the Fidlock there’s no more fiddling trying to buckle up, the magnets automatically orientate the buckle and then hold it securely with a one-way mechanism.  To open the buckle just slide it out-Simple!

Article by Ash Gray

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Posted in Ash Gray, Extreme sports, Featured, Running, Snowsports, Snowsports, Sports Business, Sports Technology Videos | No Comments »

Highlights ISPO Munich 2012 – Always about the ISPO BRAND NEW AWARD

Monday, February 13th, 2012

It was my 4th year at ISPO Munich and I must say that it is definitely the place to be if you are in the sporting goods industry. Although the focus is always snowsports, it is great to see such a variety of ideas, concepts and brands popping up every year. For me, the most exciting part is talking to the new brands who were awarded prizes in the ISPO Brand New award. This year the judges chose 50 new brands to showcase, all with great novel ideas. For me the highlights were, Dual Snowboard, Smovetec, Rebreather and 4iiis. Each of these brands had great people behind them, and I look forward to future articles with interviews of the owners.

Again, there were a plethora of “barefoot” shoe brands. Unfortunately none hit the mark for me, the same concepts were recycled time and time again – ones that have been developed by “experts” but little substance when questioned. There is a lot of room in the market for barefoot brands, but its time to be innovative and different. Another disappointing product was a new football boot claiming increased speed because of a new stud configuration. If this is true then they are magicians, but when questioned there was no evidence behind the claims. Also, the mechanism which was described to me as being the reason for the increase in propulsion was also misguided. However, I will gladly apologise should this research come to fruition.

Onto, the big brands. A great showing – almost all had a large stand which promoted integration with the crowds, many of the staff were glad to talk to the consumers, and new innovations were showcased beautifully with clear marketing messages. Believe me it is fun playing with new toys and gadgets that are aimed at improving sports.

ISPO Munich 2012 - Polar

Sourcing is another interesting area. I spent around 5 hours trawling through factory stands from China, India, Taiwan, Pakistan and much more. I am always pleased by how friendly, open and honest they all are. We have so much to learn from the Asian manufacturers. In the factories I visited on this trip, they were more than helpful even to the point of wanting to travel over to the UK just to talk about business.

Finally, the most exhilarating part is always the new sports shown around the peripheries of the halls. This year the major talking point was the inaugural URBANLINING open. A mixture between tight-rope walking, trampolining and gymnastics. This sport is crazy but, becoming popular, being shown at half-time in Madonna’s show during the SuperBowl. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to wait around to see the eventual winner, but whoever they are, they are extreme in my mind.

Urbanlining Slacklining Open ISPO

Urban lining Slack lining Open ISPO

Love ISPO, just wish there could be an alternative for less extreme sports. Looking forward to next year already,

Article by Bryan Roberts

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Posted in Bryan Roberts, Extreme sports, Skate boarding, Snowsports, Snowsports, Sports Business, Surfing | No Comments »

Sportswear for emergency workers?! – PeakZero

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

About time our emergency workers got some sportswear. Check this video out!

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Posted in Bryan Roberts, Extreme sports, Snowsports, Snowsports, Sports materials | No Comments »

Finisterre Sastruga jacket review

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

finisterre sastruga jacket review

What the manufacturers have to say:

- Female-specific active cut
- Hood with adjustable drawcords
- Packs away into its own pocket
- Dual draw-cord adjustable hem
- Elasticated pockets and secure zipped internal chest pocket
- Weight 400gms
- Lifetime guarantee

- Windproof & water resistant, durable ripstop outer shell
- 100% recycled/recyclable polyester shell & lining
- Fast drying & breathable – Primaloft Eco® synthetic insulation fill (130g/m2 body, 100g/m2 sleeves and hood)

What I have to say:

I bought this jacket a couple of months ago, mostly because I was jealous of my friends with their snug down jackets and wanted one of my own. This jacket offered something a bit different in style and technology to the typical North Face, Alp Kit, Rab, etc jackets. In addition to that I am a big fan of Finisterre, they are a UK based company with good philosophies backed up with good products. I have owned one of their Bise gilets for months and love it.

The inner of the jacket is a synthetic, breathable insulation called Primaloft Eco®, containing 50% recycled materials. From a performance point of view all I can say is it is snug, warm and lightweight (400g compared to a leading down jacket at 700g). So it is definitely less bulky than similar down equivalents. This is highlighted by the fact it will fit into its own pocket, don’t worry I have checked this claim as it seems impossible that it would – it does!! In addition, Finisterre claim that synthetic fill will retain 75% of its warmth when wet, compared with 15% for down.  The fit, comfort and aesthetics of the jacket are brilliant. I like the feel of the elasticated cuffs and adjustable hemline; it just makes it feel well fitted. The hood also has toggles so you can wrap up warm when it gets a bit cold. I love the feel of the fabric, it is like being in a silky, soft sleeping bag. Have to say I now have many friends jealous of my jacket.

Overall the Sastruga is a comfortable, lightweight, warm, windproof, water resistant, breathable jacket that lives up to its claims. Buying a product, from a UK based company, with some nice environmental claims also means you can feel you are doing your bit for the world. Plus it looks a bit different to every other insulated jacket on the market.  I guess if I had to say something bad it is that the price point of £150 may be a little high for some people but it is worth the money – and I managed to get mine on a 50% offer so keep your eyes peeled for similar deals.

With the summer months approaching you may not be looking for a full jacket but I can certainly recommend the Bise gilet for the cooler summer evenings.

Article by Sian Slawson

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Posted in Sian Slawson, Snowsports | No Comments »

Burton Snowboards and Nokia team up to map your Ride

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Burton Snowboards and Nokia have partnered to create Push.  Push is an open innovation platform for riders that is centered around instrumenting speed, orientation, pressure, heart rate and galvanic skin response.  Top Burton riders have been trialing the new technology and the data from their runs is freely available to the public on the Push website.  It was showcased this past week at the Burton US Open and the hope is to involve snowboarders from across the globe in enhancing the riding experience.

For more info please visit:

Article by Mike Vasquez

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