By Jon Crowley
The annual Sand Sports Super Show in Costa Mesa, CA serves as not only the kickoff for the southwest dune season, but is also the place where many UTV shops unveil their newest creations. 2017 was the first year of new management for the show, and while attendees may not have felt the difference, vendors surely did. Here are a few of the things we saw that changed:
Attendance was up in a big way. Rugged Radios always attracts a crowd, but it was bigger than I’ve ever seen. And not just people looking and kicking tires. Many of the vendors I talked with said sales were definitely UP! According to Sand Sports Super Show organizers, 2017 was the biggest show ever with attendance up over 10% from 2016. This is great news for our industry.
Gone were the Stadium Super Trucks that dominated a huge amount of square footage. Instead a smaller test track for Yamaha plus a whole slew of new vendors including Kicker, Maxxis, Grounded 4, RIGID, MSA and more either showed up for the first time, or moved to this area making room for new vendors elsewhere.
KICKER brought their 80-foot XRV (Xtreme Recreational Vehicle) tractor-trailer to the new vending area. This rolling showroom features a thunderous, square-subwoofer bass with the 20,000 watt Boom Room that show-goers could walk into and experience. Plus they had several UTV manufacturer audio solutions on display that showcased their partnership with SSV Works (see KICKER AND SSV WORKS ANNOUNCE STRATEGIC ALLIANCE for more details).
More new tires and wheels for UTVs. I am seeing more acceptance for 32-inch tire size and more manufacturers jumping into the market with UTV specific tires. Not only are the powersports manufacturers like STI, Arisun, Tensor, Fuel, GMZ and GBC pushing the envelope with more options, more of the truck tire manufacturers like BFG, Toyo and Nitto are seeing the UTV market as an important market segment.
More details: NEW UTV TIRES AT THE 2017 SAND SPORTS SUPER SHOW
And as usual, there were lots of incredible UTVs on display. Here are a few of our favorites:
The Rugged Radios Baja RZR isn’t new, but it recently received a complete update and I am in love with this thing even more than when it first came out – RUGGED RADIOS BAJA RZR.
Magnum Offroad is a builder that prefers function over form and that is what I like about them. This four-seat XP4 was converted to a two-seater and it is laid out so well that I just can’t get enough of it. The sleek lines make it look like a two-seater, not a four-seat that was converted to a two-seat.
SDR Motorsports always goes over the top for the Sand Sports Super Show and this year was no different. They brough a full-tilt customized Maverick X3 that had everything going for it. Long travel from HCR Racing, body from GlazzKraft and beadlock wheels from OMF Performance really set this Can-Am off!
While obviously not a flashy build, the purpose of this display was spot on. The RZR XP4 sat without much of the plastic so attendees could get a better idea how XTC’s 12 volt solutions work. Brilliant!
RJ Anderson is another function over form kinda guy, but this RZR is just plain sexy. New BFG 35-inch KR2 tires mounted on Walker Evans forged wheels set the tone for sure. Then there are those Velocity shocks – 2.5-inch up front and 3-inch in the rear.
As I mentioned above, SSV Works and KICKER have joined forces to provide awesome audio solutions for UTVs. While most are complete plug-n-play for just about any UTV out there, this GENERAL 4 had a few custom extras in the form of four, 6.5-inch wakeboard pods from KICKER mounted to a custom roll cage. This GENERAL rocks!
My own #CrowleyEdition Polaris RZR XP1000 was in the Rugged Radios booth. This awesome RZR not only took us to a podium finish at King of the Hammers (see 2017 KING OF THE HAMMERS UTV RACE RECAP), but is also a great adventure rig. Be sure to watch our video: Polaris RZR XP 1000 takes on Moab Utah.
Side by Side Stuff caught a great shot of the new “Orange King” build by ProLine Wraps.
Our new Can-Am Maverick X3 build was in the HiPer booth at the show. Be sure to check out our video of this car in action – Can-Am Maverick X3 takes on the St. Anthony Sand Dunes. More details on this awesome car: PHASE ONE CAN-AM MAVERICK X3 BUILD
Wolf Designs performed a stunt that had me grimacing. The pulled a perfectly good wrap off of their new Can-Am Maverick X3, just to clean and install a new wrap. Right there during the show! I love the way a nice wrap sets off a UTV, but absolutely hate the thought of installing one myself. And to do this during a show is nuts. Hats off to the guys at Wolf Designs for making it look easy.
In addition to everything else, there were a few new products that caught my eye:
Boondocker Turbo – Plug-n-play turbo upgrade for the Polaris RZR XP Turbo
GBC Motorsports – Kanati Terra Master tire
GMZ – 30×13-14 XL-TT sand tire
DragonFire – CAN-AM MAVERICK X3 COMPONENTS FROM DRAGONFIRE
Sandcraft Motorsports – New billet a-arms and Steering rack stabilizer
Simpson Seats – Pro Sport Seat
At events like the Sand Sports Super Show, I focus on social media heavily during the event. So, if you want in the moment type coverage, please head over to Instagram and give us a follow – @utvguide on Instagram.
Past Sand Show Coverage: