Leading up to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015, SNEWS is previewing some of the top trends and new products you’ll see at the trade show and Open Air Demo in Salt Lake City, Aug. 4-8. You can access all these articles and more in our O.R. Daily Day 0 edition.
While SUP sales continue to dip into conventional paddlecraft sales, that’s not stopping the canoe and kayak sector from investing in R&D to improve the category’s traditional products for everything from fishing to recreational floating and high-end whitewater.
In kayaks, designers are chasing weight savings, comfort and performance, with versatility a driving feature. “Rec kayaks need to fit paddlers of all shapes and sizes,” said Old Town Canoe Brand Manager Dave Hadden, adding that fishing kayaks must accessorize for electronics. “Our rec customers are enthusiast paddlers who appreciate the experience more than the entry-level/price customer.”
Versatility also applies to the paddlesports apparel and accessories market. “That’s a focus for us,” said Kokatat Sales Manager Jeff Turner. “We’re offering more versatility than ever with our SwitchZip technology, which lets customers now mix and match tops and bottoms.”
The same follows for footwear. “Consumer interest is being driven by performance, versatility, and style and color,” said Chaco General Manager Chip Coe. “They want watershoes that will perform across a wide range of environments, including in-stream, in the boat and on the trail.”
In SUP, it’s all about stability, speed and, yes, for those landlocked consumers, river surfability. Truncation in the industry hasn’t spelled less design focus, but a greater emphasis on it. “As whitewater SUP continues to evolve, people are looking for agile shapes to spice up the whitewater that used to leave them swimming,” said Hala Gear Founder Peter Hall.
>>Dagger ups its do-it-all sea kayak game with the new 14-foot, 6-inch, 53-pound Stratos (MSRP $1,199), designed for surf, rock gardens, open water and estuary paddling and more. It’s designed to blend tracking, maneuverability and forgiveness with stability for beginners and a fast, sporty hull for the pros.
>> Angling for the fishing market, Wilderness Systems launches its new Advanced Tactical Angling Kayak (MSRP $1,795). With an open design, total fishing accessory compatibility and a low-profile, wind-friendly hull blending speed and stability, it allows anglers to sit or stand and fish, move around on the deck, and customize it to fit their every need.
>>Jackson Kayak is out to win the World Freestyle Championships this fall on the Ottawa River (again), this time by unveiling the next generation Rock Star (MSRP $1,199). Designed by Eric “EJ” and David Knight, it carries a narrower, faster, looser hull offering easy edge-to-edge transfers, smooth surfing and big airs. Its ends feature more slice for linking vertical moves. It’s also available in a lighter competition configuration (MSRP $1,399), with an Innegra/carbon hull.
>>Kokatat expands its SwitchZip technology — a fully separating watertight waist zipper, allowing full dry suit or individual top application — into the new touring-specific Gore-Tex Radius Dry Suit, Surge Paddling Suit, and Passage Anorak, all of whose tops can be warn alone or mated with any other SwitchZip compatible pant. Kokatat also brings enhanced customization to its fishing PFD line with the new Predator, made from heavy-duty Cordura material to reduce hook snares, and features a pockets that can be unzipped to 90 degrees to create a work surface shelf.
>> In footwear, Chaco rolls out its OutCross Evo collection in men’s and women’s (MSRPs $100-$115) and children’s (MSRP $55) models. They’re multi-function footwear with breathable mesh uppers, jacquard webbing, the brand’s classic midsole footbeds in a strobel-lasted, barefoot construction with EVA foam layer and nylon support shank. It comes with an EcoTread outsole.
>> Recently purchased by paddlesports giant Confluence, Boardworks unveils two new SUPs, including the Muse. Designed for women, the inflatable cruising and fitness-oriented Muse is made from new, lightweight, five-thick drop-stitch material making it easy to carry and transport. It also features a soft, non-chafing croc skin deck pad for traction and comfort.
>> Addressing the SUP accessory market, MTI unveils its new SUP Safety Belt (MSRP $110), an inflatable belt pack PFD powdered by a 3F inflator and bayonet mounting cylinder for easy rearming. It’s easy to fold and repack for multiple deployments, and comes with two moveable belt attachment clips for carrying hydration and an indicator window to check arming status.
These are just a few of the new products to debut at Summer Market. Be sure to check out much more new and trends in the O.R. Daily, Days 1-4, published live at the show, and available digital format each day of print at www.snewsnet.com/ordaily.