Outdoor Trade Shows

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2014 Preview: Paddlesports

Multi-use crafts, more apparel and footwear, plus inflatable SUPs expand paddlesports market. Get a preview for what's ahead for 2015.

Leading up to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2014, 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. 5-9. You can access all these articles and more in our O.R. Daily Day 0 edition.

While it likely will prove to be mixed year in paddlesports — with rivers and lakes running high in some parts of the country, but drier in others — the category as a whole continues to see success drawing in new customers.

Leading the charge beyond the much talked about SUP category has been kayak fishing. “It continues to explode,” said Shelly Moore, vice president of sales at Confluence Watersports. “We firmly believe it’s attracting newcomers and that the need for a spectrum of price points and channels will continue.” Hull performance and outfitting continue to be key, she added, especially for advanced kayak anglers.

In whitewater, “one-quiver” boats are driving sales, as are crossover boats with storage. “We’ve seen an upward trend of young professionals eager to try moving water and the crossover is an obvious choice,” Moore said, giving a nod to 9- to 12-foot rec boats and SOT tandems as driving the red market.

Weight and comfort — with multiple points of adjustability — are some all-around attributes to watch in all segments.

As far as accessories, fashion appears to be as important as ever, as does the latest and greatest material. “Color and lightweight technical fabrics are the drivers in outdoor sports apparel,” said Kokatat sales manager Jeff Turner. “Big, bold, bright colors and prints are selling well at retail.”

Performance, of course, still plays key role in apparel design and paddlers are searching for items that will help them push the limits. “A trend we’re seeing is the general progression of paddlesports, fueling a need for gear that’s up to these new challenges,” says NRS marketing director David Blue.

>> Dagger expands its crossover multi-water kayak category with its Roam series (MSRPs N/A) of sit-on-tops, featuring Contour Surround seating borrowed from its whitewater outfitting and ergonomic thigh straps for purchase. They come with a soft touch skeg control interface, new ergonomic foot brace, storage pods and mesh bag covering the tankwell that, when used with the thigh straps, doubles as a day pack.


>> NRS puts its best foot forward in river footwear with the Crush (MSRP $80), featuring a sticky, siped rubber outsole for traction, gusseted tongue to keep out debris, quick-drying, water-repellant canvas upper, and a “crushable” heel letting wearers choose between tight-laced security and slip-on convenience. Its new Velocity (MSRP $110) is a beefier creeking shoe with the same siped rubber outsole and gusseted neoprene tongue, plus tough rubber overlays, a nylon upper guard to ward off blows, neoprene ankle paddling and high-strength tubular laces.


>> Kokatat showcases the front-zip Poseidon PFD, in which a customizable, modular outfitting accommodates a myriad of accessories. It comes with two removable front zip chest pockets and is updatable via clips and webbing straps to add such additional pockets and/or a quick-release belt. Other attachable accessories include a hydration system, electronics sling and a touring tow tether. It comes with an articulated shell and foam panels, contoured neoprene shoulder straps and eight webbing adjustments for fit.


>> In the world of stand-up paddleboards, Hala Gear introduces the new Hala Peño (MSRP $1,299), an inflatable SUP designed to surf standing waves and stomp whitewater. At 7 feet, 11 inches in length, with a 33-inch width and six-inch thickness, it’s billed as the company’s new “playboat” for the river. It also comes with a swallow tail and unbreakable quad fin.


>> Bomber Gear continues to strengthen its paddlesports apparel position with its new Palguin Dry Top and Pants (MSRPs N/A), both made through a new partnership with Polartec NeoShell. Reinforced panels in high-wear areas enhance durability, and four-way stretch Glideskin neoprene on the dry top neck increase the comfort factor.


>> Old Town Canoe unveils its Kayu canoe (MSRP $999), a hybrid kayak/canoe combining the comfort and solo-paddle performance of a kayak, with the capabilities of a canoe. The 13-foot, 50-pound craft is constructed from three-layer poly and features the Element Seat with six inches of fore/aft adjustment as well as adjustable foot braces. Bright color offerings are expected to bolster sales and differentiate it from traditional canoes.


–Eugene Buchanan

These are just a few of the new products to debut at the show. 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 following day of print on SNEWS.