Recently on the 9 club there was a discussion about ASR. We thought we'd expand on the conversation.
For those who don't know there was a trade show many moons ago called ASR (Action Sports Retailer). It was essentially a gathering of all the major skate, surf and snow brands that comprised the industry. Twice a year they would get together to meet with all the big retailers/skate/surf shops to book sales for the following two seasons.
The ASR brought literally anyone and everyone involved in the industry together for a few days of networking. Publishers, photographers, pro skaters, outside sponsors, skate betties, etc. You would see the likes of old skool legends walking down the aisles along side famous brand owners think Steve Dan Doren hanging with Christian Hosoi or Sal Barbier talking to Mike Carrol.
Usually there was some mediocre skate course set up inside, maybe a mini, sometimes a vert ramp. Always overcrowded with kids trying to prove themselves.
You needed a badge to get in that only your sponsor or employer could get you, assuming they were represented inside the show. It was a coveted place to be. Kids would walk from booth to booth handing out sponsor me tapes in hopes of getting flowed/discovered. Other kids unlucky enough to not have a badge would have to find way to sneak in (we became professionals at this skill).
Let's not forget that there was always tons of free booze inside the booths which helped to ignite the flame for what was about to ensue outside.
After the show pure chaos would unfold on the streets of San Diego for two nights. Every bar, rooftop lounge, hotel lobby, skate spot and street corner was covered with the industry elite (and not elite) raging to their hearts contents. Big brands would compete for the best after parties and again the unlucky spent the night finding ways to sneak into the parties.
Plenty of hotel rooms were trashed, lots of hangovers ensued and years of great memories and friendships were made. At least that's what we recall...
ASR eventually met its demise somewhere in the 2008 ish range when the U.S. hit a major economic recession. Out of this Agenda emerged and took the spot abandoned by the ASR. Tradeshows eventually became an event that were/are largely loathed by the industry elite; somewhat of a necessary evil that goes on for just a little too long. All in all they have their place, but we haven't seen anything since that is as chaotic and uncut as those early ASR days.
Shout out to all who lived it and are still alive to tell the tale.
We'd like to thank God for no one dying when Jase Uno threw a beer bottle outside our hotel window 20 stories up.