Two Tickets to Powersports Paradise
Checking Out All the Action at Sand Sports Super Show 2023
Words & Photos: Kyler Smith
It’s Friday. You just got off of work. The kids have been picked up from school. The sun is out, so it’s perfect T-shirt weather – warm enough to appreciate but not overbearing. This is one of the best times to head out of the house and take the family to the SoCal fairgrounds for the 2023 Sand Sports Super Show!
As we found a parking spot deep in the already filled lot, we could feel the energy in the air as we were met with the hustle and bustle of attendees making their way to the entrance. Once inside the venue, a faint scent of manure from the previous events at the grounds was accompanied by a nice, smooth coastal ocean breeze from the nearby Newport Beach.
Right out of the gate, we were immersed in a powersports retail paradise. With a wide range of off-road recreational areas within close (enough) proximity – and Baja California a mere two hours to the south, we can really believe many of the products available there have been tested and designed to withstand all the harsh environments which Mother Nature can provide. It was also pretty clear early on that no matter your level of interest in dirt recreation, there was going to be something for you to enjoy either in your backyard donut track, on a joyride down a sketchy trail, soaring across the dunes, or in preparation for your next go at the Baja 1000.
With our first pit stop at Sector Seven, we were able to inspect their new prototype mirror-light combo, the Prizm. Their team was very proud of an all-new design featuring easy-adjustment and multiple light modes for the bright LEDs shining from the backside of the mirror. This was just one of many new and exciting accessories we saw being introduced to the side-by-side scene.
Just a little further down the road, we came across the KC HiLites booth. With yellow flags flying just as bright above their booth as their lights, KC immediately caught our eye. We checked out a few of their latest products which are remarkably becoming smaller and brighter at the same time. Whether you are trying to set up your lighting to go as fast as possible through the desert, or you need some extra illumination along your path through the nearest rock garden, KC has plenty of options for every nighttime off-road adventure.
We made our way into some of the nearby pavilions to check out some other lighting options, and we found the Baja Designs booth. There was some universal excitement around their latest and greatest creations, and we could see what everyone was ranting and raving about. From their ‘little’ S2 SAE Pods to their larger LP9 LED lights, their most recent additions were indeed some of the higher quality and more durable solutions on the market. While we were chatting with the guys at BD, they shared some key information with us about the science behind the tech, and how we can utilize different colors to be more useful, for instance in communication with others in the area, in different driving applications both on and off of the road.
As we made our way through some of the other vendor booths, we found plenty of action at a massive area of the event which was claimed by Rugged Radios. Here, we were able to explore pretty much every option of communication you would need… Ever. Just down the way was PCI Radio with their own fair share of hype holding strong. Whether it be a full race radio package for chatting with your team while in the middle-of-nowhere Mexico or a ready-to-go option for the standard user and UTV platform, PCI sets clear expectations with the mastery of their systems.
Lots of shiny new parts, bright lights, and loud music were the norm as the sun began to set over the Pacific. As we walked from one area to the next of the Sand Sports Super Show, all of our senses were met with a fresh experience. The sounds, the smells, and, of course, the sights to see were more than enough to keep us occupied into the night.
As expected, the new Can-Am Maverick R XRS was an immediate hit with its all-new suspension design that is challenging the industry norm. It was pretty evident that attendees had questions about the design, and they were met with some great info provided in the Can-Am Q&A area of the show. Will this new design become more common in the UTV scene? It may be a little too early to tell, but it does look like the Maverick R is up for any challenge that you may throw at it!
Speaking of “innovative” and “intrigue,” it was also exciting to see how some of the manufacturers are beginning to use UTVs to reach new destinations and push their users’ sense of adventure to the ultimate limit. The Polaris 2024 XPEDITION XP is a great example that comes fully-equipped from the factory with a windshield and climate control and can be easily built into your own personal expedition rig with accessories like a roof top tent, winch, light bars, and more!
With performance and utility being a key component of all Polaris’ vehicles, it is refreshing to see a more expanded and family-friendly approach to off-roading with new models like the XPEDITION. On top of that, they have their all-electric Ranger XP Kinetic coming out which is also a big step towards the future. We’re excited to see how the community responds to their latest designs and what’s brewing back at headquarters for the next great release.
As the night continued, the allure of what was under the Speed UTV covers had every passerby’s attention. That was until the man himself showed up and unveiled their most up-to-date models one by one. A ‘Diablo’ and a ‘Bandit’ were the first to be revealed, with a dozen more Speed UTVs to be unveiled throughout the weekend. It was only a matter of seconds before each car was covered in fingerprints and heavily documented with photos.
While evening drew on, a few booths had the nightlife figured out a little more than others, such as KMC Wheels who brought their own DJ to entertain everyone into the night as they searched for big savings and good times. It was hard to tell what drew the crowd to their spot more once the music started, but…okay, it was definitely still the products. However, the tunes and lightshow added a nice touch.
It was evident that for the weekend warriors and the seasoned Baja racers, the Sand Sports Super Show was exactly the place to be. With all of the action all day long, our night was truly complete when the team at the Polaris tent offered free cold treats out of their infamous custom-built Ice Cream “truck” built from a Ranger. With our dessert in-hand and big smiles on our faces, it was time to bring the excitement to an end. But for the event, this was only the beginning of a weekend-long powersports party, and everyone’s invited!
About the Author: Kyler Smith is an all around off-road adventure advocate. Whether it’s filming, photographing, or driving in the dirt, you can guarantee to find him there with sand in his shoes and a smile on his face. He is a self-proclaimed Ocotillo Wells local but he also enjoys spending time in Baja California and the Sierra Nevadas. If you see him out there, he will likely be cruising in his V8 4Runner or Suzuki Samurai.