Regina Henkel hovers on the spot at just under 160 kilometers per hour. The wind tugs at her red suit, pushes her cheeks toward the back of her head and pulls her hair up. Regina beams enthusiastically and lets the storm push her up a bit.
Bodyflying is the name of the discipline in which the six ISPO Award jury members are gaining their first experience this December morning. The wind tunnel in the Jochen Schweizer Arena in Taufkirchen is one of the most modern in the world. Four fans ensure a constantly strong air flow - the jury members feel like they are in free fall. Later, they still go into the standing surf wave. All work: The fun sports unit serves as team building before the jury session of the ISPO Awards begins for the six experts.
For one day, the jury of six experts will examine and evaluate the selected applications for the ISPO Award. Alongside textile expert Regina Henkel, the jury will also include magazine maker and snowboard veteran Andi Spies and outdoor journalist Martina Wengmeir.
The decisive innovation: From now on, half of the expert panel will be made up of "consumer experts," absolute sports enthusiasts from the ISPO Collaborators Club: Andrea Andriani from Brixen in South Tyrol, 47, mountain sportsman, mountain biker from the very beginning, and trail runner. Robert Semmann, 36, comes from near Dresden. The financial consultant seeks his kick in nature; in February he wants to cross Lake Baikal for two and a half weeks - by bike and tent. Dominic Rasp, 35, from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, is not only an avid sports enthusiast - the sports scientist from the Technical University of Munich also has a close connection to sports in his professional life.
The highlight: "In the future, selected end customers will help decide who wins an ISPO Award," explains ISPO brand strategist Christoph Beaufils. "This also gives the industry even more direct feedback, which can become a success with customers."
But it's not just the jury meeting that has changed. Those responsible have completely reorganized the entire ISPO Award in recent months. The ISPO Award used to be one of the highlights of the trade shows on site: Outdoor by ISPO and ISPO Munich. The coveted prizes were awarded around the sports and outdoor trade show. In the future, candidates will be able to apply four times a year, although the award-winning products and services will continue to be honored and presented on site. However, the winners will receive additional coverage through detailed reviews on the ISPO.com platform - throughout the year.
"It was important to us to modernize this strong seal of approval in the sports industry," says Christoph Beaufils, brand strategist at the ISPO Group. In the future, he says, the award will be combined with the news value of the award and the international reach of ISPO.com. "Our aim was to make the ISPO Award more modern, simpler, and more flexible, especially for the award-winning brands and products," Beaufils explains. The division of individual products into categories is a thing of the past, and the differently weighted winner levels are also history. Instead, services and apps will also be evaluated and awarded in the future.
The jury has now been at work for almost three hours. For each applicant there is a short film and a folder with all the relevant information - from the idea to the area of application, construction, price and novelty value to the origin and sustainability of the material. Each of the six jurors also has all the relevant information on an iPad, which is also used for voting - anonymously, of course.
Christina Rabl, responsible for the ISPO Award, quickly accepts a product package that has just arrived and gives the starting signal for the jury. Despite a tight program, the judges don't let themselves be rushed; thoroughness comes first. How are the seams of this jacket, does a helmet really fit under the hood? Doesn't rainwater run down the neck when that backpack lid is closed? Can I really trust the bouldering mat in case of a fall?
Juror Dominic Rasp is fully in his element: "The day is super," he says. "It was important for everyone to do sports with the others first and to experience something new together, so you quickly noticed what makes the others tick." But he was particularly taken with the ISPO Award contenders. "We test new products here that have never been seen anywhere before - from avalanche backpacks to pocket knives, everything is there. Great fun!"
Want to see who the first winners of the new ISPO Awards are? In the coming weeks you will find the detailed reviews of the award winners at the trend festival on ISPO.com.