ORSM ’12 Paddlesports Preview: Broad strokes

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday leading up to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, SNEWS is previewing the top new trends and products you’ll see at the trade show in Salt Lake Aug. 1-5. Today, we look at some of latest paddlesports products for spring '13.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday leading up to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, SNEWS is previewing the top new trends and products you’ll see at the trade show in Salt Lake City, Aug. 1-5. All these stories also can be found in the print or digital flipbook edition of our Planning Guide.

While a dry winter throughout much of the country might cut short this year’s whitewater season, stand up paddleboarding continues to attract new customers to the water.

And with a growing audience, manufacturers are broadening their lines and making equipment more accessible. The latest paddlesports gear on the Summer Market 2012 show floor will include new crop of all-around river runners in the whitewater sector, a growing number of fishing craft SKUs, sit on tops with a focus on stability, a resurgence in tandem craft for families and apparel that does a better and better job at keeping the elements at bay.

“People are discovering the fun of paddling on rivers,” said Cheri McKenzie, marketing director for Confluence. “They may not be ready for the rigors of whitewater, but they want to get on the water and explore. We’re also seeing couples and families wanting to enjoy the outdoors together more, so more designs are catering to that as well.”

She added that paddlers, including rec and kayak anglers, are looking for customization, with options for bottle holders, cell phone cases, camera holders and more.

>> Bergans of Norway unveils its 811 Ally (MSRP $2,050), a 16.5-foot all-around foldable canoe for expeditionists and those requiring large carrying capacity and performance in all conditions. It weighs 44 pounds thanks to a lightweight, aluminum subframe, dual-density closed-cell foam subfloor and PVC outer shell, and has a carrying capacity of 835 pounds.

>> Stable yet fast. That’s the promise of Eddyline’s new 12-foot, 45-pound Caribbean sit-on-top (MSRP: $1,279), whose 30-inch beam serves up steadiness while its gull wing hull design and smooth carbonlite material aims to deliver dolphin-like glide. A high sit position helps the cockpit drain, and the front and center hatches, tank well and deck-mount racks provide access to gear. It comes with an optional foot-controlled rudder.

>> Calling it the brand’s most versatile fishing craft yet, Hobie debuts the Pro Angler 12 (3) (MSRP $2,549), a 12-foot fish kayak outfitted with Hobie’s patented MirageDrive pedal propulsion system. Features include new seating, which offers fore/aft adjustments via an arm rest control and an integrated Boa System control for lumbar support. The package comes with built-in mounts, a pivoting tackle management system in the center hatch, port/starboard dual-steering and vertical/horizontal storage for six rods.

>> Fluid looks to bring whitewater performance to the sit-on-top world with its new 8-foot, 10-inch Do It Now (MSRP $650), a sit-on-top that takes the fear out of being confined inside a cockpit. With a fast, stable hull based on the Bazooka, its cockpit has strap-assisted thigh molds high enough for knees to brace against, allowing paddlers to edge the boat and roll. Read: No more swimming to the bank and emptying water.

>> The Elias from Necky is a responsive tourer taking design cues from the women’s-specific Eliza kayak in a slightly larger model. Available in polymer and composite, the Elias offers good primary and secondary stability, while providing easy edging and turning. It comes with a compact cockpit for control and bow and stern hatches with bulkheads.

>> The Jackson Kayak All Star (MSRP $1,199) comes in three sizes and is designed to be more user-friendly than the company’s popular Rock Stars while still offering competitive-caliber performance. Differences include a slightly longer and lighter hull (5 feet, 10 inches, 29 pounds), plus ends with more slice and a smoother overall feel.

>> Designed for avid anglers, Bending Branches unveils a new line of kayak fishing-specific paddles in the Angler Scout, Classic, Pro and Ace (MSRP $300), the latter coming with a T-700 carbon shaft and carbon-reinforced nylon blades. Each paddle features tape measures on the shaft, with color options ranging from hard-for-fish-to-see dark to bright for safety. Several also offer hook retrieval systems built into the blade.

>> Designed as a river trekker, the Wave Sport Ethos (MSRP $999), available in 9- and 10-foot options, is a stable sit-inside built to provide a confidence-building introduction to paddling, from touring lakes and coastal areas to taking on surf and up to Class III whitewater. A dropdown skeg enhances tracking, a roomy cockpit with adjustable outfitting provides comfort and ample storage space lets you venture out for the long haul.

>> Catering to new and intermediate paddlers, the Wilderness Systems 10-foot and 10-foot, 5-inch Aspire (MSRP $699) offers stability and confidence on various types of water. A flatter, rockered hull design makes it stable on moving water, a skeg offers tracking on the flats and a higher volume bow sheds water for maneuverability. It comes with new outfitting for comfort, a molded-in console and a two-position bottle holder.

Be sure to check out many more new paddlesports products and trends in the O.R. Daily, published live at the show Aug. 2-5, and available digital format each following day of print at SNEWS.

--Eugene Buchanan