Industry Stuff

If you have ever wondered why carbon fiber is still such a crazy expensive item even after 50 years since it was invented, Gizmodo has a great article explaining the whole thing. Turns out that even half a century later, this stuff is still a major pain in the a@# to make. Before carbon fiber becomes carbon fiber, it starts as a base material—usually an organic polymer with carbon atoms binding together long strings of molecules called a polyacrylonitrile. It's a big word for a material similar to the acrylics in sweaters and carpets. But unlike floor and clothing acrylics, the kind that turns into a material stronger and lighter than steel has a heftier price tag. A three-ish-dollar per pound starting price may not sound exorbitant, but in its manufacturing, the number spikes. See, to get the carbon part of carbon fiber, half of the starting material's acrylic needs to be kicked away. "The final product will cost double what you started with because half burns off," explains Bob Norris of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's polymer matrix composites group. "Before you even account for energy and equipment, the precursor in the final product is something around $5 a pound." That price-$5 a pound-is also the magic number for getting carbon fiber into mainstream automotive applications. Seven bones will do, but five will make the biggest splash. So as it stands, the base material alone ($10/pound) has already blown the budget. Click through for the full article as well as how it’s made. Image used under Creative Commons on Flickr from *Jan Smith.
Rapid Media’s first all-paddling buyer’s guide and largest publication ever will be released November 1, 2011. This exciting new special issue combines the editorial authority, production quality and massive outdoor-enthusiast readership of all three of their paddling titles - Rapid, Canoeroots and Adventure Kayak magazines. This 104-page annual includes a special 48-page buyer’s guide. That’s 250 of next year’s newest and hottest canoeing, kayaking, whitewater, rafting and stand up paddling boats, boards, paddles, apparel and gear organized by category - the way it should be! It’s one of a kind in the marketplace just in time for Christmas and 2012 preseason excitement. “We’ve been tossing around the idea of an all-paddling buyer’s guide for years,” says Rapid Media publisher Scott MacGregor. “Our recent partnerships with Outdoor Retailer and the American Canoe Association have strengthened our industry and reader reach. And without Paddler Magazine and its annual buyer’s guide there is a huge hole in the marketplace. It’s just another way we’re helping more people get the right boats, boards and gear so they’ll have more fun on the water.” Buying advice and all the new gear, the way you want it-print, web and apps! Print copies of Rapid Media’s Paddling Buyer’s Guide will be in mailboxes of all Adventure Kayak, Canoeroots and Rapid magazine subscribers including instructors, leaders and members of the American Canoe Association and Paddle Canada. You can also pick it up on newsstands and in paddling shops across the United States and Canada. Gone digital? Rapid Media is leading the way. Receive Rapid Media’s Paddling Buyer’s Guide via their exclusive web editions and on all four of Rapid Media’s iPad/iPhone Apps (available around the world in iTunes App Stores) and Android app. It will also be available on Zinio and the B&N Nook. Paddlers wishing to receive a print copy of Rapid Media’s Paddling Buyer’s Guide should subscribe to Rapid, Canoeroots or Adventure Kayak before October 15, 2011. To discuss brand involvement opportunities in Rapid Media’s Paddling Buyer’s Guide please call Russ Schroeder at Rapid Media at (613) 635-7249 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . About Rapid MediaRapid Media has been the…
Sad news in the paddlesports world this week. Boyce Greer, a leading investor and part owner of Liquidlogic/Legacy Paddlesports was killed this past weekend while whitewater kayaking on the Payette River in Banks, Idaho. Greer, 55, was head of vice-chairman of Pyramis Global Advisors, the institutional investment arm of Fidelity Investments and lived in Amherst, N.H., with his family. Legacy Paddlesports released the following statement, "While we knew Boyce principally as a committed and accomplished whitewater paddler, a great business partner and mentor, and a constant friend, we always knew that he was a husband and father first and foremost." Reports are that he died from head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. You can read all the details here. My thoughts go out to his wife and three kids as well as the staff at Liquidlogic/Legacy Paddlesports. Photo credit:
Paddle Canada has just announced that wilderness first providers, Wilderness Medical Associates, The Canadian Red Cross and Sirius Wilderness Medicine have been added to the Instructor Support Program. Starting now, instructor members will now get a 10% discount on all wilderness medicine course fees as well as 20% discount on all first aid supplies purchased through the Canadian Red Cross online store. I think this is a fantastic addition to the program which has grown exponentially over the past year and a bit. Paddle Canada instructor members also get discounts from Northwater, Outdoor Research, Level Six as well as a discounted camping rate at the American Canoe Association's Sugar Island, on the St. Lawrence River in Ontario. You can find all the details around instructor members benefits on the Paddle Canada website. Congrats to Graham and his little team of volunteers for putting this together.
The Summer Outdoor Retailer show is going on right now and it’s the biggest weekend of the year for new outdoor gear. As you may know OR is an industry trade show. What happens is that all the big outdoor shops and industry reps from around the country descend on Salt Lake City and meet with the manufactures who are demonstrating next year’s biggest thing. It’s a chance to schmooze with other gear nerds but it’s really about demonstrating what’s new and upcoming in 2012. Rapid Media TV is there right now covering the show so head over to their YouTube channel to see all the videos they have posted already. One video that caught my eye was from Riot Kayaks. Back in 2009 their parent company, Voodoo Technologies went bankrupt and sold off all their stuff in an auction which we covered here. Since then Riot has restructured and Marc Pelland is back at the helm working to bring the company back but this time with a slightly different approach. Starting in 2012 Riot will still be putting out a couple of whitewater boat models but they have announced that they will primarily going after the niche market of custom whitewater boats. Here is how it will work. If you want one of their custom boats they will put you in touch with the designer who will work directly with you to personally design the carbon whitewater boat of your dreams. Riot is currently developing a matrix of 50-60 different design parameters based on your style of paddling and what you want the boat to do. No word on price point yet but they should have more information on the program early 2012. Don’t expect it to be cheap by any stretch. My guess is that it’s going to be at least $250. What do you think? Do you think that custom boat designs could be the wave of the future? Clearly there are people out there who can afford it as it’s already a rising trend in cycling and skiing.

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