To view up upcoming events, please take a look at our Calendar


April 3, 2019
On the heels of the Eye of the Innovator, we started a new series called “Meet the Legends” which is a small intimate group of people that gather to hear from a leader in the Sport and Active Lifestyle Space in the comfy setting of SDSI. Thanks to Banner Bank for sponsoring this series, we had a unique opportunity to hear from Quiksilver cofounder Bob McKnight in a very open setting. Some of the photos from the event can be found here.

April 2, 2019
SDSI’s Eye of the Innovator was held at Belly Up in Solana Beach thanks to presenting sponsors: Morgan Stanley and Elevated Internet Marketing. The crowd of over 130 people listened to Bill Walton’s keynote before Denise Lee Yohn moderated panels with Steve Lake, Beaver Theodosakis, Scott Tilton, and Mitch Thrower. Read more about the panelists and moderator here. Event photos can be found here and stay tuned to our newsletter or social media for info on a podcast with the dialogue.

March 19, 2019
SDSI held an event for all members to learn about the new sports being included in the 2020 Olympic Games. This event was held before the US National Skateboarding Team was announced so, a clear venue choice was the CA Training Facility. Scott Bass moderated a panel featuring industry members, organizing bodies, and infastructure builders from Skate, Surf, and Climbing. The event concluded with a sneak peak at the upcoming SDSI Olympics Trip to Tokyo with Adam Dailey of FunLy Events

February 26, 2019
Our Advisory Board came together at CAF to hear from Dr. David Bach of Platypus Institute about how to condition the brain to increase productivity. The Platypus Insitute is located right here in San Diego and is well-poised to be a leader in this booming market that can be used for everything from: taking strokes off your putting game, increasing your free throw percentage, or financial wizards executing trades with optimal focus.

February 12, 2019
Digital Marketing Series brought Paid Search to the forefront with the assistance of Red Door Interactive. The team and Red Door shared several tips and tricks for the attendees which could help them implement tactics and strategies to their business. Thank you to Red Door Interactive for hosting this event and sharing their knowledge! Stay tuned for Digital Marketing Series to come.

January 29, 2019
Our first Board of Directors meeting of the year was held at CBRE’s new location in the UTC Mall… Guests were treated to a tour of the incredible space and full briefing from Virginia Sullivan on the Wonderfront Festival occurring later this year.

December 11, 2018
Our annual Holiday Party was another great success with over 120 Friends & Family members of SDSI joining in on the fun. We had so much fun that we forgot to take photos this year but this is always one of the best events of the year. Happy 2019

November 13, 2018
Our SDSI Advisory Board gathered at CAF to get caught up on what we’ve been up to, plans for the future, and the meeting ended with a presentation from Red Door Interactive’s Justin Gabbert with his contemporary and comprehensive go-to market strategy presentation. This is a good course for anyone launching a new product and gave our advisory board members a look into the type of programming we offer in our Gateway Workshop.

October 24, 2018
Hobie hosted us for a Board of Directors meeting with a tour of their incredible facility showcasing all the manufacturing that takes place right here in San Diego County. After the tour, CEO Doug Skidmore answered questions from the group before the meeting was adjourned… Photos from this event can be found here.

September 25, 2018
Digital Operative hosted a Digital Commerce Workshop to share their expertise with our general membership. The workshop covered multiple topics including: Ecommerce Landscape Heading into 2019, Fourth Quarter Preparedness, Planning for 2019 in terms of Budgeting, Customer Acquisition and Retention, and much more.

August 21, 2018
Our advisory board meeting was held at CA Training Facility in Vista… what an impressive location! We ended the meeting with an update from SDSI and heard from all of our most recent Springboard Graduates. Event photos can be found here.

August 1, 2018
Craig Dado and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club hosted our Board of Directors meeting with a day at the races! We started out in their Board of Directors room for a meeting and followed it up with some fun watching the ponies.

June 14, 2018
SDSI Executive Director, Bob Rief, in conjunction with Quiksilver Founder, Bob McKnight, conspired together to get Sun Diego's Dave Nash out to the Estancia. Unbeknownst to Dave, the rest of the industry showed up to give him a good old fashioned roast as the group honored a retailer who helped start countless small companies and pave the way for the surf culture as we know it today. Hopefully Dave will continue to attend SDSI events!

May 22, 2018
The SDSI Advisory Board met on May 22nd to get caught up on the latest SDSI updates followed by some featured guests within the membership.  Angela Watts gave us a recap of the progression of the Slyde Handboards business, Brandon Lowrey from CA Skateparks showed us a video of their just finished training facility in Vista, and Matt Simons with Assault Fitness gave us an idea of the scope of their business and what it covers.  Followed, as always, by some networking.

April 24, 2018
For the second Board of Directors meeting of the year, the group met at the Essakow Conference Room at CAF and discussed the topic of Accelerators in San Diego.  Some great dialogue will result in some minor changes as we implement the suggestions from the Board.

March 28, 2018
Our third year of Ryan Mulvany of Quiverr presenting the evolution of selling on Amazon.  An interesting look back to see how this platform has evolved in just a short amount of time and where the focus is for Amazon moving forward - shifting to predominately 3rd party selling, what is going to happen with Whole Foods, what else are they looking at acquiring? 

March 20, 2018
Thanks to sponsors, Morgan Stanley and Elevated, we were able to host a leadership dinner at the Estancia featuring San Diego legend and recently announced Baseball Hall of Famer, Trevor Hoffman.  Thank you to Vessel for partnering with us on this event and helping secure Trevor!  It was a great evening with stories, Q&A, and our guest of note couldn't have been a nicer guy.  For photos of the event, visit this link.

February 28, 2018
SDSI Member Bob Pollack gave the Advisory Board some insight into all the pivots he has made in his professional career - from decisions on a corporate level, to pivoting away from corporate life to try his own thing and ultimately selling that business, and now with his newest shoe company and how it came about.  Lastly, weathering the storm with having too much inventory from large retailers out there with Cardiff Skate Co to allow that to stabilize and refocus on direct to consumer sales vs mega-retailers. We also had an opportunity for all springboard grads to present a brief company description to the group!

January 30, 2018
The San Diego EDC's Mark Cafferty popped in to the SDSI Board of Directors meeting at The Estancia in La Jolla to give an update of the 2017 Year in Review for San Diego.  This presentation focused on how the Sport and Active Lifestyle industry plays an integral part in attracting talent to companies of all sectors to the region.  Thank you to The Estancia for setting up this meeting and we look forward to future meetings there!

January 18, 2018
On Thursday, Jan 18th a sold-out crowd of over 200 attendees gathered at The Future of Sports at the Qualcomm Institute at Atkinson Hall on the campus of UC San Diego to learn about the Future of Sports. The day featured compelling panels on e-sports, reaching Gen Z, as well as thought provoking presentations from keynoter Guy Kawasaki, the current state of Biohacking and where it is headed by Raymond McCauley, and was capped off with a Future of Sport in San Diego panel. Thank you to all the sponsors, panelists/presenters, and attendees. Here is an article from the SD Union Tribune.

December 12, 2017
Thank you to the 100+ members, mentors, and guests who came out for a fun night of catching up while embracing the holiday cheer! The Holiday Party is always one of our favorite events and we hope you enjoyed yourselves. A few pictures can be found on our facebook page

September 19, 2017
Our Executive Director, Bob Rief, led a very interesting networking meeting for our entire membership where the 30+ participants broke up into smaller groups/tables and spent 45 minutes talking amongst the smaller groups so that each table walked away really knowing a lot about what their fellow members were up to.  This event idea came as a suggestion from a member so please always be sure to let us know about event ideas that you might have.  Event photos can be found here.

September 12, 2017
Procopio, Elevated, and Morgan Stanley cosponsored a fantastic leadership dinner featuring Pat Hazel, CEO of Kelly Slater Wave Pool.  Pat shared some never-before published video of the wave pool in Lemoore, CA which led to a group discussion of what wave pools mean for the future of surfing... Whether it be from a participant front or from the lens of a spectator.  Thanks to the Estancia for facilitating another great Leadership Dinner! The lone photo can be found here.

August 23, 2017
Another iteration of "Breakfast with Bob" turned into a another succesful event to allow our members to get a better understanding of what fellow members are up to.

August 22, 2017
The brand new Airborne SD hosted the SDSI board for a tour of their magnificent facility capped with the opportunity for board members to fly in their indoor skydiving tubes.  For those that haven’t had a chance to try it yet, all of us HIGHLY recommend it for corporate teambuilding with sharing a common experience that takes people out of their comfort zones... Here are the links to all the fun: Airborne Photos, SDSI Photos, Airborne Video…send it on to friends. Read Bob's full meeting recap

June 23, 2017
Our second SDSI Cycling SIG meeting focused on efforts on how to make cycling safer via visibility. While there is no single addressable item to reduce cycling related incidents to zero, being visible can ONLY help!  In conjunction with items like advocating for safer infrastructure, enforcing significant penalties for unsafe motorists, and being a positive force on cycling culture/safety running blinking lights during the day AND night will make a difference.  80% of bicycle accidents take place during the day so why not increase your visibility with the technological advancements of LED lighting and lightweight USB rechargeable batteries?  This discussion was led by Nathan Fletcher and featured over 20 attendees.  Photos from the event can be found here and a story from the La Jolla Light can be found here.

June 7, 2017
The SeaWorld Advisory Board meeting was a great success! Thanks to the wonderful team at SeaWorld, we were able to orchestrate a behind the scenes tour of all the great things that SeaWorld does beyond it being an amusement park.  They have rescued over 30,000 animals and have been doing so since 1964 - last year, SeaWorld rescued over 1,000 animals here locally in San Diego alone! Interestingly enough, it is the government that decides if the rescued animal is able to go back into the wild or if it is to stay at a managed care facility like SeaWorld.  What funds all of this? Proceeds from the gate - with SeaWorld being a for-profit company, they are able to do great work without finding grants to help cover the costs.  SeaWorld animals consume 5,000 lbs of fish every single day and each day they run tests on the water for each tank to ensure the animals are in a safe environment (as you can imagine, this takes several hours due to the amount of tanks/pools SeaWorld has.  SeaWorld also impacts 100,000 students per year including the new lab focusing on STEM that has served 990 students since it's pilot in the Spring of 2016. Photos can be found here.

April 20, 2017
A leadership dinner - co-sponsored by Merrill Lynch and Quiverr - featuring Jim Wilkinson of TrailRunner International. Jim's corporate experience was as an executive heading up Alibaba's North American operations and prior to that Jim was EVP of PepsiCo.  Before entering the private world, Jim held positions in Washington DC as Chief of Staff to Secretary Hank Paulson, Senior Advisor to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Deputy Assistant to the President, etc.  Jim is a fascinating force of nature and he outlined his advice for any company interested in doing business in China.

April 19, 2017
The second of our "Breakfast with Bob" meetings featured 10 various members throughout the membership and everyone shared their latest projects and points of emphasis for their business over breakfast at T's Cafe in Solana Beach.  This allowed the group to become more intimate with what fellow members are doing and encouraged many connections after breakfast for future business to be made... We hope you'll be able to attend the next one!

March 28, 2017
SDSI brought together a Shark Tank Panel sponsored by Voit Real Estate Services featuring three SDSI companies that have entered the tank, displayed their products in front of millions of viewers and ultimately closed a deal with the Sharks! Eric Fagan CEO of RinseKit, Angela & Steve Watts owners of Slyde Handboards, and Stephan Aarstol Founder of Tower gave us a look behind the curtain (and editing) so we could see what it was REALLY like from the initial process, the filming, the wait, the airing, and how it as affected their business. For more info, check out the recap on our newsletter
March 23, 2017
FS Investors spoke to a room full of SDSI constituents about the plans to develop the Qualcomm Stadium site to SoccerCitySD and beyond over lunch at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.  Nick Stone, Jon Dunbar, and Craig Benedetto answered all the questions the room had to ask and we look forward to watch this project progress!

March 9, 2017
SDSI hosted a small intimate "Breakfast with Bob" with a handful of members solely focused on networking and sharing company updates so that everyone can be on the same page.  We will be hosting more of these as we go on, if any members are interested in joining in on an upcoming breakfast - please email Nick.

February 28, 2017
Wells Fargo Capital finance sponsored an collaboration put on by Red Door Interactive and SDSI focused on the Omni Channel. This event highlighted the changing expectations of today's consumer as we heard from Reid Carr (Red Door Interactive,)   Mike Froggat (L2,) Ryan Mulvanny (Quiverr,) and it was finished with a candid discussion with David Kahan from Birkenstock about the complexities today's market can present itself to brands.

February 15, 2017
Thank you to Mesa Rim Climbing and Fitness Center for hosting our Advisory Board meeting.  In addition to hearing the 5 minute quick pitch from springboard grads Core-Tex and Kilomodo, we had the pleasure of hearing the story of Mesa Rim and the landscape of climbing gyms in the US from Mesa Rim President, Ian McIntosh.  Mesa Rim Staff members then took us on a tour of the impressive (and busy) facility before allowing us to do some climbing ourselves.  For photos of the event, click here

February 13, 2017
SDSI's first Cycling Special Interest Group (SIG) was a success! Over 40 of the top cycling industry executives met over breakfast to catch up with one another in a relaxed and casual atmosphere.  Cycling legend, John Howard shared briefly what he was working on and Michael Marckx spoke about how the the Belgian Waffle Ride was a brand first (not a ride or race race) since its inception.  Some photos can be found here and a brief (no budget) video can be found here

February 7, 2017
Thanks to our sponsor, Procopio, SDSI was able to put on another leadership dinner featuring former MLB pitcher David Wells.  David spoke to the intimate group attendees about his upbringing in Point Loma, his career, what he does now, and candidly answered several questions from around the table.  The level of networking was significant and we were happy to host Mayor Faulconer again.  Some (low quality - sorry) photos of the event can be found here

January 17, 2017
Back due to popular demand, our Amazon 2.0 Workshop, sponsored by Voit Real Estate Services, was another hugely successful and informational event.  Ryan Mulvany of Quiverr followed up on his presentation from April 2016, explaining how the Amazon ecosystem had changed since then and dove a bit deeper into the actual strategy.  This event featured reps from several companies throughout the Sports and Active Lifestyle Industry as well as brands and retailers.

December 13, 2016
Our annual Holiday Party featured about 100 members and mentors stopping by SDSI throughout the evening purely to catch up and socialize among one another.  We had a great time on a beautiful (albeit chilly) December evening and we hope you did as well if you were in attendance.

November 17, 2016
SDSI partnered with Techstars who brought in their cofounder, Brad Feld of The Foundry Group, to speak about his thoughts on startup communities, his experiences investing in companies as a VC and Angel Investor, and the realities of "mental fitness" or mental health of entrepreneurs. After the moderated conversation, Brad took a few questions from the audience that covered work/life balance of founders, husband/wife business partners, and his plans for the next book
November 15, 2016
This was Denise Lee Yohn's last advisory board meeting at SDSI (she has now moved to the Bay Area) and gave us a fantastic presentation on her book, What Great Brands Doon the principles of great brand building: 1) Start inside 2) Avoid selling products 3) Ignore trends 4) Don't chase customers 5) Sweat the small stuff 6) Commit and stay committed 7) Never have to "give back" and 8) Brand as a business.  Some of those principles may seem counter-intuitive as a headline but Denise explains her stances well in her presentation and book. A few photos can be found here

November 9, 2016
We held a Chew and Chat panel on "Techniques to Fund Your Business" and as part of our founders skill set curriculum.  This panel covered the basics of debt/equity funding, the details of SBA lending, alternative financing (factoring, inventory financing, PO financing), and traditional bank financing.  Photos from this event can be found here

October 13, 2016
Following up on our Advisory Board Meeting on August 30th, SDSI took a group of members down to visit Taylor Guitars Tecate production facility... Take a look at Bob's Blog post for a full recap

September 20, 2016
SDSI Chew & Chat sponsored by Springboard provides insights into Corporate Valuation and Real Estate Landscape
SDSI Springboard Sponsors Voit Real Estate Services and Vantage Point Advisors provided an enlightening and actionable workshop for SDSI members on corporate valuation and finding the physical space to meet a growing company’s needs. Participants gained insights into investor “tricks” to be aware of when negotiating financing, and an understanding of why pre-money value is important to protecting founder’s ownership. Attendees also learned key aspects to negotiating a lease in a market that has a historically low vacancy rate of 4.5 – 12%. 

August 30, 2016
The Advisory Board this quarter featured cross-border manufacturing with Bryan Bear and Victor Villanueva of Taylor Guitars discussing how beneficial their Tecate manufacturing facility has been for the company.  Taylor Guitars has even taken it a step further with offering to give a group of SDSI companies a tour of the Taylor facility in Tecate - be on the lookout for the invite for that event in October.  There are a few photos available here

August 25, 2016
This Chew and Chat meeting was all about kickstarter... We learned from Eric Fagan and Chris Crawford of RinseKit the secrets to their successful kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $400k on a $30k goal. Full event recap can be found here and a few photos of the event can be found here

June 9, 2016
Chew and Chat breakfast meeting for the general membership at American Wave Machines.  On a June gloom morning in the parking lot, Bruce McFarland gave us all an overview of how the artificial wave technology works and Marie McFarland gave us the background of the company.  After questions were answered and ideas were floated, we went in to look at the demo of the technology in the AWM offices.  Click here for photos

June 7, 2016
6 companies presented to a panel of 4 celebrity judges who selected the winners of the first ever, SDSI Star Brand Award, and a $5,000 cash prize.  More info here

May 26, 2016
Advisory Board Meeting featuring Tony Finn's story covering the ups and downs of popularizing the sport of wakeboarding.  Tony shared with us some key moments in the development of the sport, how he was able to gather visibility/traction in a new sport, and innovation progressed over time.

May 14, 2016
While this wasn't specifically an SDSI event, a number of SDSI members came out on a Saturday morning to show support/appreciation for our executive chairman, Bill Walton, at his statue unveiling at Ski Beach.  Thank you to Board Member Michael Brower for designing and ordering t-shirts. Click here for photos

April 6, 2016
Our regularly scheduled Chew and Chat Breakfast meeting was expanded to invite the entire membership to learn various options of selling on Amazon, advertising on Amazon, and to think about their Amazon strategy. Over 50 attendees gathered at SKLZ to hear a presentation from Quiverr. Click here for photos

February 23, 2016
Special guest Ed Clancy joined the SDSI Advisory Board meeting and spoke about the Amgen Tour of California start in San Diego, how it impacts our region, and how you can get involved! Chris Cramer, CEO and Co-founder of Karl Strauss, presented the San Diego Beer Week Model, explained the roots of the San Diego Craft Brew Industry, and had time for some Q&A so we could hear about Karl Strauss' origins

February 3, 2016
Chew and Chat Breakfast meeting for the general membership with John Vance at the new GoPro offices in Carlsbad.  John addressed the group about what it takes to be an entrepreneur and spoke briefly about some of the successes and failures he has seen in his illustrious career.  The group then took a brief tour of the new GoPro facility at MAKE in Carlsbad.

November 17, 2015
The highlight of the SDSI Advisory Board meeting was listening to Bob McKnight speak about Quiksilver’s trials, tribulations, successes, and future outlook.  Bob told the Advisory Board members the Quiksilver story as it began as a toy project without a business plan or any financial statements and evolved into one of the premiere surf brands.  Bob also told the group some of the causes for the financial issues Quiksilver faced recently but is confident in the future of Quik with the implementation of difficult but necessary changes.

November 4, 2015
An intimate dinner at Estancia La Jolla consisting of leading San Diego SAL executives gathered to hear Fernando Aguerre’s recap of how he and his brother, Santiago, founded Reef over dinner at The Estancia in La Jolla.  The Honorable Mayor Kevin Faulconer was in attendance and led off with a brief Q&A to see how he could better leverage the City to ensure local companies succeed in the Sport and Active Lifestyle industry.  Fernando spoke about being the Ambassador of the Ocean and gave us an update on the Beach Games as being a step towards getting surfing in the Olympics.

October 26, 2015
SDSI members spent the evening with the notable Guy Kawasaki at the picturesque home of Craig Irving of The Irving Group.  Guy spoke to the group about the lessons he learned from Steve Jobs at his two campaigns with Apple. Thank you to the Irving Group for being the presenting sponsor. Click here for photos

September 17, 2015
Dr. Dave Jenkins dropped in to Sun Diego’s Carlsbad location at the historic Twin Inns to tell the audience how SurfAid was formed, what obstacles he had to overcome, the unplanned tsunami pivot, and SurfAid’s ability to empower the locals as their key to success. To learn more about SurfAid and all the wonderful work they are doing, please visit www.surfaid.org     

August 27, 2015
The SDSI Advisory Board meeting concluded with a panel of Sport and Active Lifestyle companies mentioned on the Inc 5000 fastest growing private companies including SDSI member companies: Digital Operative, Tower Paddle Boards, and VAVi as well as Pura Vida Bracelets on their growth strategies.  After the panel discussion, Bill Walton moderated a discussion with Jeff Kearl about the success of STANCE as it was getting ready for the release of their underwear line.  Jeff give the audience a glimpse of the company culture at STANCE and how it allows them to maintain a tremendous employee retention rate. 

April 30, 2015
Over 100 people stopped by Aaron Chang Ocean Art Gallery in Solana Beach to mix, mingle, and build their Sport and Active lifestyle network.  SDSI held a brief program raffling off a unique, limited edition 12” x 12” print then the crowd heard from Aaron as he spoke about how the ocean community has shaped his life.  Thank you to Procopio for being the presenting sponsor and Culture Brewing Company & Carruth for providing the beer and wine. 

March 31, 2015
It was a full crowd at the San Diego Hall of Champions as SDSI members learned of the explosive growth in eSports over lunch.  Bruce Bigelow, editor of Xconomy San Diego, moderated a panel of eSports business experts from building League Championship Series, game development, and the licensed gear that goes with this segment.  All in all, it was an eye opening experience for most as the scope and level of engagement in eSports was uncovered.