Leading up to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, SNEWS is previewing new trends and products you’ll see at the trade show in Salt Lake City, July 30-Aug. 3. Today, we take a peek at paddlesports. You can access all these articles and more in our digital edition of the O.R. Daily Day 0.
Late spring snow and a steady melt helped keep water flowing and the paddlesports category growing throughout much of the country this year.
Looking ahead to 2014 at Summer Market, you’ll find the whitewater kayaking market highlighted by new creek boats, playboats and river runners; the SUP world with continued rec- and even fishing-specific offerings; and accessories from apparel to personal flotation devices (PFDs) making the sport safer and more comfortable.
“The kayak fishing pie is bigger than all of us can handle,” said Jackson Kayak President Eric Jackson. “This year will be a record year for fishing kayak sales and dealers are seeing a wonderful new cash cow. Dealers who haven’t embraced it yet are missing out. The people buying fishing boats are fishermen, not kayakers, and that market is huge.”
Whether the customer is touring or tackling whitewater, outfitting continues to command the stage in boat hulls, with many models offering slipper-like comfort the moment the users slide into the cockpit. Combine this with enhanced safety and performance features, and whether the customer is after elusive walleye or waves, the products have never been better. Angling-specific gear and boats also are driving innovation.
In the world of SUP, manufacturers continue to shave weight off this latest darling of the paddlesports world, all while refining models for specific uses, be it touring or trolling.
Apparel and footwear are becoming more tailored to watersports, from UPF shirts to ward off the sun to paddling jackets that push the limits of waterproofness and breathability. And in PFDs, look for an emphasis on unobtrusive fit to help ensure this critical product stays put — all the time.
>>Keen unveils its new Rapids Collection, featuring the Class 6 (8.5 oz.) and Class 5 (7.6 oz) sandals (MSRPs $80-90). Both feature a PU upper constructed in a 360-degree cage, soft EVA footbed, moisture-wicking microfiber tongue, Velcro-adjustable heel fit and soft rubber outsole with traction lugs.
>>Kokatat rolls out a 100 percent polyester Paddling Shirt (2) (MSRP $79) with a UPF rating of 30+, convertible sleeves for versatility, two-stage flip-up collar and longer back to ensure coverage while seated in a kayak. It also has extended wrist cuffs for further sun protection, a full front zipper and vertical shoulder vents for ventilation while wearing a PFD.
>>Wave Sport’s new Mobius (MSRP $1,149) is a short, fast freestyle kayak designed to let beginners learn quickly and experts expand their skills. It comes with a wider stern and higher water line, as well as extra bow volume to maximize pop in vertical moves. Rounded edges, sculpted sidewalls, and a slightly curved bow enhance predictability, while continuous rocker and a stern release edge enable looseness and speed on waves. Bonus: a new foam foot brace for ergonomic comfort.
>>Johnson Outdoors Watercraft hangs its hat on the angling world with its new Predator Fishing Kayak from Old Town Canoe Co. (MSRP $1,299). The boat includes six removable mounting plates for tailor-placed rod holders, GPS units, fish finders, cameras and more; a three-stage seating system that can be lowered for paddling, raised for fishing or flipped aside for stand-up mode; a slip-resistant deck for traction and drainage; large bow hatch; and dual rod tip holders for storage.
>>Immersion Research showcases the 100 percent nylon shell Supermodel drytop (MSRP $455), featuring glued gaskets and heavy-gauge nylon-reinforced elbows. Every cross seam is hot/cold pressed to eliminate air pockets.
>>Adventure Technology debuts its Advanced Series whitewater paddles with composite construction. The line includes the Geronimo for creeking; the Hercules, a hybrid creek/play paddle with slightly smaller blade; and the Samurai for playboating, with an even smaller blade. Each paddle employs a lightweight carbon fiber shaft and is available in both ergonomic (MSRP $375) and straight (MSRP $290) shaft models.
>>Dagger enters the crossover kayak realm with the Katana(MSRP $1,019), designed for up to Class III whitewater and multi-day trips. It comes with a customizable leg lifter, low-profile, removable bulkhead footbrace system, hatch-accessed stern storage, and bow and stern deck bungees and gear loops for deck storage. A large recessed cavity fits a water bottle, throw bag or included zipper storage bag for personal items.
>>NRS caters to the angling set with its Chinook fishing PFD (MSRP $100), with a seat-friendly lower back, seven front pockets for lures and other gear, hook patch, tool retractor, knife tab, beacon loop and other features for fishermen.
>>Jackson Kayakrocks the playboat world with its 2014 Rock Star (MSRP $1,199), available in three sizes (5’4”, 48 gallon; 5’9”, 53 gallon; 5’11”, 65 gallon). The shortest playboat in its line-up, it serves up faster rotation speeds and makes all freestyle moves easier, for both beginners and pros. It has more volume in the center for loops, with a higher seating position, leverage and control, as well as enhanced floor support for a stiffer hull.
These are just a few of the new products to debut at the show. Be sure to check out many more new products and trends in the O.R. Daily, Days 1-4, published live at the show, and available digital format each following day of print on SNEWS.