Press Releases

Kokatat, the leading US manufacturer of technical apparel and accessories for water sports, donated over $20,000 in product to the local Arcata, CA organization Disabled Adventure Outfitters (DAO), for use in its watersports programs for people with hemophilia and other bleeding disorders. “DAO does amazing work empowering and challenging people with bleeding disorders in and around our community and we’re proud to support a local organization that shares our passion for paddlesports,” said Kit Mann, Kokatat Special Projects Manager.  DAO will use the personal floatation devices, dry suits, paddle jackets, and additional gear provided by Kokatat for its programs that range from one-day trips to weeklong camps.  DOA’s programs primarily consist of rafting and inflatable kayaking on the Trinity River, with longer camps also including advanced river skill challenges, as well as rock climbing, hiking, gold panning, or ropes course sessions. “Kokatat’s generosity will ensure that people of all ages with bleeding disorders in our community and beyond will have the opportunity to experience the freedom, excitement, and fun of paddlesports,” said Todd Smith president of DAO. In addition to using the donated gear for its own programming, DAO will distribute a portion of the product to other non-profit organizations around the country with outdoor programs.  Recently, DAO representatives attended the North American Camping Conference of Hemophilia Organizations, where they identified and distributed some of the Kokatat gear. DAO was founded in 1996 by Bret Leach and Bill Wing.  Leach, who had hemophilia -- a hereditary disease that prevents normal blood clotting, resulting in sometimes uncontrolled bleeding- personally understood the positive therapeutic effects of being out on the water.  DAO became a nonprofit organization in 1998 and has since grown to provide services to disabled people through out Northern California. About Kokatat Watersports Wear:  Celebrating over 40 years of innovation, Kokatat is an independently operated, US manufacturer of technical apparel and accessories for water sports. Handcrafted in Arcata, California, Kokatat employees are focused on building the finest functional product for people who work and play on water. Our gear is designed for paddlers, by paddlers, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience on the water all year long and in all weather…
Most of the names on the 2012 Wilderness Systems Pro Staff roster have long been at the forefront of the kayak fishing phenomenon. This year, new talent from every corner of the industry joins the ample experience and enthusiasm of the industry icons. As competitors, trainers and ambassadors for the sport, the Wildy Pro Staff is a crew of undeniable experts – accessible to anyone with an interest in getting on the water and fishing from a new perspective.  “I'm excited about what the 2012 Wilderness Systems Pro Staff has to offer,” said Chad Hoover, team manager and long-time Pro Staff member. “Our team consists of some of the best anglers in the sport with diverse skill sets. Our goal is to provide anglers of all skill levels with valuable insights and expertise to make their time on the water more enjoyable.” Here is the roster for the 2012 Wilderness Systems Pro Staff: Chad Hoover (Norfolk, Va.): Author of Kayak Bass Fishing; host of NBC Sports Knot Right Kayak Fishing; Owns and jovially owns up to his nickname, “Knot Right.” Captain Dean Thomas (Aransas Pass, Texas): Guide, mentor, and non-discriminatory angler who will fish for whatever is biting. Jeff Little (New Windsor, Md.): Author, resident river smallmouth expert and undaunted by a little snowstorm when it comes to getting out on the water. Co-owner of Jeff Suber (Crawfordville, Fla.): Adventure junkie and shallow water redfish fanatic, who co-organizes the largest charity kayak fishing tournament on the Florida Gulf Coast. Chris Fierro (San Diego, Calif.): Specializes in large species off the coast of Southern California and Baja, Mexico. When he’s not fishing with rod and reel, he’s spear diving from his Tarpon 160. CJ Siebler (San Diego, Calif.): At 24-years old, CJ is the youngest Pro Staffer and an unchallenged expert at rigging with advanced wiring and electronics. Chris LeMessurier (Berkley, Mich.): ACA-certified kayak instructor and record-holding angler. Owner of and organizer of the popular NoMo Charity Fishing Tounrament. Bill Schultz (New Berlin, Wis.): Overall fitness advocate and smallmouth bass aficionado, Bill is the leading voice of fishing for smallies in legendary Door County. Joe Poole (Leander, Texas): Loves…
Kokatat announced today that John Horsnell has joined its sales team serving the Midwest territory including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.   “John brings a great mix of sales savvy and paddlesports experience to serve our dealers and the passionate paddling community in one of our most important territories,” said Jeff Turner, Kokatat sales and marketing manager.   Horsnell comes to Kokatat with over 15 years of sales experience and currently represents multiple leading outdoor brands.  He has previously represented paddlesports specific brands Yakima rack systems, Bell Canoes, Dagger, and Perception kayaks.    “Ever since working retail at Midwest Mountaineering I have always been enamored with the quality and innovation of Kokatat products,” said Horsnell.  “I’m excited to grow Kokatat’s business and provide exceptional retail support in the region.”   Horsnell is a lifelong paddlesports enthusiast and has completed multiple thousand-mile canoe trips throughout the Canadian Yukon and Northwest Territories.   To contact John, email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 608-206-9242.
The 7th annual Reel Paddling Film Festival premiered last night at The Royal Cinema on College Street in Toronto, hosted by The Complete Paddler. The keen audience was treated to the first screenings of some of the year’s award winning films. The full list of winners are: Best Sea Kayaking Film: In Rescues – Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown, you’ll see exciting and practical rescue coaching sessions from one of the world’s top coaches. Best Canoeing Film: Tracing the Columbia brings together two historical moments: David Thompson’s charting of the Columbia River in 1811 and the 45-day journey paddling the river to mark the 200th anniversary of Thompson’s achievement.  Best Whitewater Film: In Wildwater, journey into the places only river runners can go.  It’s a visually stunning feast for the senses, and an expedition into new ideas. Best Kayak Fishing Film: ExOfficio Presents Kayak Fishing: Game On 4 Jim Sammons hooks up with Paul Harwood on the Fraser River in BC with the goal of catching one of the areas enormous sturgeon.  Best Environmental Paddling Film: The Pipedreams Project follows 3 kayakers on their epic two-month expedition to oppose a $5.5 Billion pipeline project in British Columbia.  Best Paddling Documentary: Chasing Water is the story of Pete McBride, a child of the Colorado River, as he decides to follow the water from his ranch in Western Colorado to see where it ends up.    Best Amateur/Short Paddling Film: So Fine sees Zac Crouse develop banjo paddling with the help from a Muppet.  Best Instructional Paddling Film: Advanced Classic Solo Canoeing with Becky Mason will leave you spellbound by the advanced strokes and maneuvers she shows and the stunning underwater camera angles.   Best Stand-up Paddling Film: In Standup 4 Greatbear, Norm Hann takes us on a 400km SUP expedition through the Great Bear Rainforest, and along the proposed North Coast oil tanker route. “We have more screenings in more cities than ever before,” says Scott MacGregor, Founder and Publisher of Rapid Media “With so many new paddling shops, clubs and events hosting the World Tour, we’re well on our way to blowing 100 showings right out of the water.” Katie Mutton, Assistant Manager of The Complete Paddler, the host of the…
Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), announces the acceptance of the SNEWS/Backpacker “Best Online Retailer” award. The award recognizes retailers who embody the spirit of entrepreneurship and who serve as visionaries for the outdoor market and leaders of the communities they serve. “We are honored to have won this award, going up against the likes of larger companies such as REI and makes this award extra special to us,” said Peter Messana, Austin Canoe and Kayak CEO, “it’s a validation that we are providing the best possible service to our customers and we look forward to continuing to deliver this service.” Steve Messana, Austin Canoe and Kayak President, added: “We are proud of our entire staff for making this possible and most of all, we are grateful for those who voted for us. This award combined with the massive expansion of our product offering is legitimizing ACK as a full fledged outdoor adventure retailer.” The winners were announced at an industry ceremony hosted by SNEWS, Backpacker and program sponsor Horny Toad during the 2012 Winter Outdoor Retailer Show on Thursday, January 19th, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah. About Austin Canoe and KayakFounded over 20 years ago, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK) is an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer based out of Central Texas dedicated to providing exceptional customer service and the widest selection of paddlesports and outdoor equipment. ACK operates three physical retail shops in Austin, San Marcos and Houston, Texas and an online store at If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Austin Canoe and Kayak, please call Roland Jimenez at 512.687.3010, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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