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OR 2006, Report #3 and Wrap-Up

OR 2006 Here is our third and final batch of impressions, plus a wrap-up, from the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006 in Salt Lake City.

WRSI

WRSI (Whitewater Research & Safety Institute) has added optional ear protection to their multi-impact helmets.

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

Level 6

Level Six from Canada showed a new drysuit with spray deck tunnel and many more new products, such as a long sleeved thermo layering shirt, made of a new quick-drying and lightweight fabric.

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

Stohlquist

Stohlquist presented a high-end drysuit that aims to cure all typical problems that paddlers have with drysuits: It's got a front entry and all zippers are from the relatively new brand 'TI-zip'. They are called 'self-repairing zippers', meaning that even if you step on them or derail them, you can pull them up and down a couple of times and they will be fine again. We didn't want to test all that at the booth, so let's just believe that it works for now :)

The drysuits now also have thin one-size-fits-all sock-booties integrated. Soft protective kneepads and a very stretchy double neoprene neck are also standard. They are also available as women's models and with integrated spray deck tunnels.

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

Shred Ready

Shred Ready showed some new helmet colors and designs for 2007.

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

Sweet

Sweet Helmets has some new colors and a new full-face helmet coming out.

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

Gath

Gath, well known for their surf helmets, has a new helmet specifically geared to whitewater. It has a thicker foam core to protect against rocks, some extra ear protection, and an optional visor/shade.

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

Wrap Up

The Outdoor Retailer Summer Market was a big success, with more exhibitors than ever. Having said that, there were also a couple of big names without a booth:

  • Jackson Kayak not having a booth was no coincidence. The whole Jackson family was at the show, but as JK have developed a very dedicated dealer network in America (with Standard and Prefered Dealers and even JK Superstores) over the past couple of years, they had no need to use OR as a sales platform (see also the JK article about this).
  • Bliss.Stick from New Zealand admitted that they sort of forgot about the OR 2006, but at the same time stressed that the show is not crucial for them. Most of their international sales is direct these days, so obviously talking to American retailers is not too high on their priority list. And so they decided to use the saved time to build and develop more kayaks at home, and to paddle I'm sure.... (see also the Bliss.Stick article about this).
  • DragoRossi (or Corran for that matter) was not present, and officially we don't know why that was. We did notice however that NRS was not promoting DragoRossi kayaks anymore, like they had done last year. According to DragoRossi's latest print ads, they decided to start selling all their kayaks in America directly, i.e. they'll ship them from Italy right to your front door in America, so that could explain why they passed on America's most important retailer trade show...

All paddling related business was concentrated in one hall, or at least that was the idea. Many brands have clear overlaps between different sports (think Salomon, Teva, Gath, Camaro, Fortress, Five10), so there were still many brands that we had to hardcore-trace in the huge booth jungle. The floor plans didn't help too much either - at first I thought it was just me, or because it was my first time at OR, but when the OR staff also needed 5 minutes to help me locate a booth on the floor plan, I was reassured that I'm probably not that stupid after all... I hope things will improve in this respect next year.

All in all, a very fruitful show, with lots of opportunities for me to finally meet all the Playak contacts that I normally only meet per mail and on the phone.

Thanks to all for a great time,
Jeroen
[Photos: David Weber]

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

outdoor retailer summer market 2006

More OR 2006 Reports

Part 1: Riot, Pyranha, Liquid Logic, Dagger, Fluid, H2O Paddles, Immersion Research
Part 2: Kokatat, Astral, Wavesport, NRS, Palm Equipment, AT Paddles, Camaro
Part 3: WRSI, Level 6, Stohlquist, Shred Ready, Sweet, Gath, Wrap Up

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