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|In this report from OR 2007: WaveSport, Riot, NRS, Immersion Research, Level 6, Keen and David's wrap-up.|
This is the second report about the new whitewater products at Outdoor Retailer 2007, covering the following brands:
We are expecting official product photos and news from a couple more brands, which we will publish as a separate article once we have collected them all...
Wave Sport introduces the Fuse
The Fuse is the heir apparent to the EZG line and promises improved looping capability as well as some performance enhancements.
Riot is planning bigger versions of the Magnum and Thunder, but there were no prototypes at the booth. Hopefully we'll see those at the Kanumess in Germany next month.
NRS has gone with some new colors/patterns for 2008 as well as switching from Triton to eVent breathable fabric in the Revolution drytop and the Inversion drysuit.
IR is introducing a spray skirt with a "European style" rand and a winter camo fabric pattern for 2008
Keen looks like they are going to stick a toe in the waters of the whitewater realm with two new booties - the Payette and the Hood River
Growing Signs Of Whitewater Neglect
Last year many manufacturers that had both rec/touring and whitewater lines said on average that in that year they made approximately 80% or their income off rec/touring and the rest in whitewater - this year those (admittedly unofficial) numbers are ostensibly having an impact. With the notable exceptions of Fluid, Liquid Logic and Wave Sport, the field is starting to look bleak if the OR show can be seen as any indication of industrial health. Many of the manufacturers are clearly following the money toward rec boats, touring boats and the new and somewhat unexpected darling of the kayak industry: kayak fishing. Forget about a new playboat, but if you want a rod holder on your deck, you're in the right place. In all fairness, it should be noted that a lot of whitewater manufacturers simply weren't at the show for one reason or another (perhaps an indication of the dwindling importance of the OR show itself) including, for example, Bliss-Stick who introduced the Specialist right after the Worlds. And while several manufacturers had new boats in the works, they weren't at the show - which is also a bit of a disturbing bellwether.
Welcome To The Internet
After years of the deceasing relevancy of print media as the conduit for up-to-date information and rising operational costs associated with materials and distribution, internet-based media sources are starting to climb into the spot-light as a "best buy" for advertising. Not only are we no longer forced to come in through the back door of the Salt Palace, more and more conversations seem to revolve around which web sites provide the most efficient media buys. In response there has been a remarkable increase in Internet sites devoted to covering kayaking, increased content in some print magazines' web sites and media figures starting to redirect efforts toward the digital realm. So, ahoy fellow internet journalists!
Have You Seen Me?
Another aspect of the show which did not go un-noticed was the dearth of pro athletes in attendance. A palpable feeling of "all work and no play" was noted by several people I spoke with and the usual male posturing and post-season penis-measuring was greatly reduced in the aisleways. As a side note - is anyone else noticing an increase in pro paddler women?
The Highly Coveted "Davey® Awards" :)
Every year I kinda, sorta imply which manufacturers and products are worth keeping an eye on (which obviously is a very personal and subjective science...). This year, I'll just summarize.
Kayaks: Liquid Logic and Fluid Kayaks.
The Nemesis looks like a very tidy package with carving, spinning and comfort all tied up with a bow on top. But the Element is a bold looking design indeed; it's not the first "river surfer" but it has some very intriguing volume distribution and funky lines.
Liquid Logic's new outfitting looks like it just might make you forget you're sitting in a kayak at all - definitely the new gold standard.
Soft goods: PeakUK
Yes, I am good friends with the boys at Peak, but that doesn't make a creeking drytop with integrated armor padding any less bitchen.
Mysterious newcomer: eVent fabric
I haven't tried this stuff yet, but it seems to be everywhere all of a sudden from drysuits to being integrated into drybags as a form of pressure relief valve (apparently it just breathes that much): http://www.eventfabrics.com/ .
- OR 2007 Whitewater Report #1: Fluid, Dagger, Pyranha, Liquid Logic, H2O, WRSI, Shred Ready
- OR 2007 Whitewater Gallery by David
- OR 2007 Whitewater Gallery by Jeroen
- OR 2007 Sea Kayaking, Touring & Kayak Fishing Gallery by Helga