Industry Stuff

The nominees for the annual Canoe & Kayak Awards have just been announced and who do we find buried in amongst a wave of whitewater paddlers? Why none other than fellow Paddle Canada sea kayak instructor and Hurricane Rider, Rowan Gloag. I don't want to tell you how to vote but when checking the radio button for your favourite, don’t forget, his name is Rowan Gloag. You can vote here: canoekayak.com Image credit: thrrowan.blogspot.ca
California Kayaker Magazine is changing its name over to California Paddler Magazine starting with the Summer, 2013 issue. By changing the name from kayaker to paddler it will allow them to branch-out into new content and cover all of paddlesports. “Canoes and rafts have somewhat limited retail markets in our geography, so likely will only be covered from time to time,” said Peter Donohue, California Kayaker Magazine’s Editor, “but with this change we do plan to have stand up paddleboard (SUP) content in each issue, reflecting its fast growth and popularity.” More info: calkayakermag.com
Seaward Kayaks announced via their monthly newsletter that they have been invited to pitch their investment idea on the CBC television show, Dragons Den. For those who haven’t seen Dragons Den before the idea is simple. Business owners (and weird inventors) come on the show and only have a few minutes to pitch their big idea to a group of investors (called Dragons). The Dragons decide on the spot if they are in or out. If they like your idea they make a deal and invest in your company. If they don’t like it, you get the old walk of shame... In the US you might have seen a similar version of the show called Shark Tank. Here in Canada it's promoted as Canada's most popular unscripted show with 1.3 million people tuning in each week. This is a pretty big deal for Seaward so they have been preparing like mad for this Saturdays taping for several months when they first auditioned for the television show. “I’m president for our local Toastmasters club so the members are absolutely sick of hearing my pitch.” says Doug Godkin, General Manager of Seaward Kayaks, “That being said, the group has been great at pretending to be the Dragons and asking the tough questions to find holes in my pitch.” Nobody at Seaward wanted to give the spicy details away about the upcoming proposal but did say that Seaward is looking to expend their kayak line into new areas and take the company to the next level. Doug feels that they have a decent chance of attracting the attention of at least one of the dragons. “We are very proud of the fact we are an established company and all of our kayaks are built here in Canada. There is always pressure to take the cheaper way out and start production overseas but we feel strongly about keeping the manufacturing here. For that we are looking for outside investment.” The plan is to tap the episode this Saturday (April 6) here in Toronto and it should air sometime in the Fall. “The producers haven’t…
Back at the end of January I had the pleasure to be invited to attend a strategic planning meeting for Paddle Canada. I got invited because I’m the Chair of the Sea Kayak Program Development Committee. The goal of the weekend meeting was to develop a 3-year plan and it already had a catchy title: Float Plan for Success. The reason for the meeting came about because the Board of Directors felt the organization was just about to enter a new phase in the life of the Organization. For those who studied the long and sometimes weird boring history of Paddle Canada will remember several years ago when the Organization had major financial trouble that left it hanging on for dear life. Thanks to good leadership at the top who made some tough choices, Paddle Canada has come back stronger than ever and is now ready to tackle some new projects. Overall the weekend was a lot of fun (as fun as strategy development can be I guess) and filled with lots of fellow paddling policy wonks nerds like me who were happy to chat the days (and evenings) away talking about how to turn all Canadians into paddlers. A couple of days ago Executive Director, Graham Ketcheson posted a finished report about some of the changes you will see over the next 3-4 years. If you are bored already the short summary is that the new strategic plan isn’t ground breaking but it is a change in direction for the organization. Here are a couple of highlights: 1) New Vision and Mission Statements The new Vision and Mission Statements have a stronger focus on the development of its paddling instructional programs and the development of complementary partnerships with other organizations. 2) Strategic Priorities and Goals After hours of brainstorming as a group we boiled down the ideas into four major categories which are Public Awareness & Membership, Youth, Partnerships and Instructor Development. Public Awareness & MembershipPaddle Canada is seen publicly as the authority for safety and education for paddling. Paddlers and organizations value membership in Paddle Canada.This one isn’t rocket…
Kokatat has unveiled a brand new system to design your own custom dry suit so you no longer need to look like everybody else on the beach. I remember hearing rumours of this about a year ago so I’m glad to see it is finally available. The process is pretty simple. After choosing the base model you want, you are presented with a wide variety of options where you can adjust everything from the fabric colours (both top and bottom) to gasket size to the ability to add (or remove) a hood. Of course different options will add to the overall cost of the suit but if you need to have it your way, now you can. If you are a dreamer jump in and design away to year hearts content. Just don’t copy the gorgeous set-up I designed above or else I will total call you out next time I see you. More info: Kokatat.com

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