Buzz Building at Johnson Outdoors Watercraft as Spring Consumer Shows Kick Off


Old Town, Maine -- Winter’s icy grip may have a hold on much of the country, but things are heating up at the Johnson Outdoors Watercraft facility in Old Town, Maine. With the 2014 consumer tradeshow season kicking off today at Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin, a palpable buzz is building around the direction of the brand portfolio, the new Pro Staff and Adventure Team and the state of the paddling industry as a whole.

Home to some of the most storied names in paddlesports, including Old Town Canoes & Kayaks, Ocean Kayak, Necky Kayaks, Carlisle Paddles and Extrasport PFDs, the Johnson Outdoors Watercraft brands share centuries of experience, a proven track record of innovation and above all a passion for adventure and exploration. New products, as always, are at the center of the excitement as the brands’ set course for the year with a host of product introductions.

Ocean Kayak’s newest innovation, the Prowler Big Game II, is currently landing at retail, while the brand is also updating its popular, affordable Nalu hybrid SUP line, adding footpads for comfort and increased dexterity while standing. Old Town will continue to build on the success of its Predator line with a top-secret model this summer, and Necky will introduce two updated Rip Series kayaks featuring drop skegs that were added in response to consumer demand.


“Our 2014 line up is arguably our strongest offering to date and we’re getting ready for a big year,” states Luke LaBree, marketing and communications manager for Johnson Outdoors Watercraft. “Its been a hard cold winter but the up side to the heavy snows that much of the country has seen will be a great spring run off and ample water to enjoy throughout the season.”

Numerous factors are contributing to the excitement at Johnson Outdoors Watercraft, not least of which is the fact that the leadership team under Bill Kelly, VP – Outdoor Gear and Watercraft now has a full year of working together under its collective belt. Industry veterans Tim Magoon, Bill McDonough, David Hadden, Luke LaBree, and Paul Johnson are driving the manufacturing, R&D, brand marketing, communications and sales teams respectively, and in concert, to craft a unified platform on which retail partners can sell and one that helps the brands consumer base fully understand and appreciate what separates Johnson Outdoors Watercraft from the competition.

Also central to the buzz is the now fully complete transformation and consolidation of the Johnson Outdoors Watercraft headquarters in Maine. Home to Old Town Canoe since 1898, the facility has undergone an extensive remodel to now house all Watercraft brands. The campus includes R&D, sales and marketing offices, customer service teams and warehousing, and features eight state of the art roto-molding ovens capable of producing up to 200,000 new boats a year. Combined with the facilities’ unparalleled testing lab and quality control center, the new state of the art factory is poised to help propel the brands forward for generations to come.

Consumers can get a first look at the 2014 Johnson Outdoors Watercraft brand offerings at some of the industry’s hallmark spring events, Canoecopia March 7 – 9, Jersey Paddler’s Paddlesports show, March 28 – 30 and the Kittery Trading Post New England Paddlesports show, March 28 – 30. Open to the public, each show will provide a chance to preview new product, speak with brand representatives, attend a myriad of clinics and presentations, and simply help shake off the winter to get ready for spring.

For those who can’t make the shows, the company’s Adventure on the Water (AOTW) website and Facebook page can help them experience the Johnson Outdoors Watercraft brands through the eyes of its Pro Staff. AOTW features a diverse array of rich content including photos, videos and stories that showcase the brand’s products in a natural and authentic setting helping to educate and inspire its audience.Visit AOTW at


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