boot Düsseldorf anniversary
A success story that spans 5 decades
Preparations for the biggest trade fair in the world that covers all aspects of water sports are already in full swing
Yes, boot really is 50 years old, but it remains as young as ever. boot Düsseldorf’s success story begin on a foggy day on Fischerstraße in Düsseldorf in November 1969. Over the course of six exhibition days, 34,000 visitors flock into the hall and boot is launched. Trade fair manager Kurt Schoop landed a real coup by getting experienced boat journalist Horst Schlichting on board and founding the first inland boat trade fair. All of 116 exhibitors from seven nations participated. In those days, seeing boats in a trade fair hall was truly sensational. And only one year later, 183 companies from 25 countries participated, spread out over an exhibition space twice as big as the year before. The manufacturers’ demands also increased drastically in the following years. In 1972, boot moved into the new, ultramodern exhibition centre in the North of Düsseldorf, close to the airport. Since then, boot has taken place every January. This makes it the first event of the year and the gateway trade fair to the new season. In 1972, the duration of the trade fair is extended to nine days, meaning it now spans two weekends, and exhibitors and visitors alike show the utmost respect for this change.
Spread out over 50,000 square metres of exhibition space, 307 exhibiting companies from 41 countries welcome 85,751 (!) visitors at their booths. For the first time, a large regatta pool is built for the sailors. Children and beginners are able to test sailing in the hall. boot proves to be a real trendsetter and presents the first surfboards at the trade fair in 1973. After ten successful boot years, a rapid increase in visitor numbers and hall space, boot catches on to diving’s growing popularity. In the new millennium, boot becomes immensely athletic: The Olympic Games in Sydney are approaching, and boot can’t wait. An Olympic centre is created in cooperation with the plastics industry, which supplies the material for the construction of sailing and rowing boats. The star among the yachts is a Jongert motor glider with a folding keel that is 34 metres long and weighs 125 tons. ‘Catwalk’, which travels to Düsseldorf in 2006, is the largest yacht ever to be exhibited in a hall. The sleek kitten measures 41 metres and proves to be a true media attraction. For the first time, classic and antique treasures are shown at boot. The Classic Forum is first held in Düsseldorf in 2007. The vintage boats offer a gorgeous contrast to the shiny, modern yachts. boot gives a panoramic view: ‘Experience 360° of watersports’ is the new trade fair theme in 2010.
In 2012, 40 large yachts are expected at boot, 30 of which travel up the Rhine under their own power. In 2016, for the first time in its history, boot breaks the record of 1,800 exhibitors and next year for the first time, indoor-surfing is offered at a watersports trade fair. ‘THE WAVE’ is the name of the game. In 2019 around 2,000 exhibitors will be on board from 19 to 27 January for the 50th edition of boot. A gigantic experience world will be set up across 16 halls, in an exhibition space measuring 220,000 square metres, focusing on the theme ‘Experience 360° Watersports’. Whether you love sailing, driving motor boats, diving, surfing, stand-up paddling or simply relaxing by the water, many ideas on leisure time in, on or around the water will be exhibited boot 2019. Trend sports like surfing on the 1.50 m high and 9 m wide wave or diving in the new Dive Center help the water sports trade fair to stay in tune with the times. And the active spirit of boot Director Petros Michelidakis seems to be having an impact on each and every one of the 16 halls on the site. He explains: ‘We work the whole year round to make sure that boot is increasingly successful and is even more attractive and even better each year. The exhibitors at boot develop trends, present impressive innovations and highlight interesting premieres and new high-tech products. I am therefore expecting boot to have a very strong economic impact too in the coming year.’
Photos by boot Düsseldorf