For 2016 the WSIA traded their snowboards for surfboards and experimented with a new venue, opting for San Diego over the oftentimes frustrating remote location of Steamboat Springs Colorado. This was my first Summit and it definitely won’t be my last, not only was the Summit a great networking opportunity, but in between surf breaks, happy hours, and fishing charters, the industry came together and accomplished quite a bit in just a few short days.
I arrived a day early to spend time with some close friends and Ohio transplants. Saturday evening we caught up over a few select AleSmith beverages as I patiently waited for my jet lag to properly set in and without skipping a beat, we were up and at em’ early Sunday morning to spend the day exploring the coastline, brunch spots, and breweries before rolling into the Paradise Resort & Spa Sunday evening.
Monday morning’s meetings kicked off , followed by an afternoon surf, and an evening keynote from Michael Marckx about creative disruption that I was fully stoked on. It’s always exciting to listen to someone who’s not afraid to mix it up and have some fun while providing valuable insights to those open to new ideas.
Cobe and I caught an early surf Tuesday morning before meetings and after what seemed like an endless paddle out, I quickly learned that trying to conquer head high waves on your 3rd outing is too ambitious. After a washing machine ride back to the beach we headed up the coast in search of something mellower to have fun on. Tuesday evening consisted of the WSIA Leadership awards where I was stoked to see Adam Wensink up for Rep of the Year and Cobe Mikacich up for School of the Year, unfortunately they both barely missed top honors and landed in second place.
The Summit ended Wednesday morning as I embarked at 5 am on the Size Matters fishing charter put on by Alliance Wake and Roswell. The clouds cleared and burned off the morning fog as we consumed a few not beers and breakfast burritos. I lucked out and won a GoPro Session for smallest fish of the tip and Greg Dick Nautique’s West coast account manager took home a Hero 4 Silver for largest catch of the day.
Ready to catch a flight home our plane had other plans as a mechanical failure left me stranded in San Diego for an additional night. It’s hard to be salty when Southwest stepped up, put me in a swanky hotel, with a killer view, and a few hours of daylight left to explore the city and local marinas. All in all I’m deeming the 2016 Summit a success, and while there’s a great debate if the 2017 Summit will take place in a warm or cold climate, rest assured I’m looking forward to it.