Big news from the outdoor industry. I just heard the sad news from Joe O'Blenis and Bryan Hansel that Quebec kayak manufacturer, Boréal Design has closed its doors and will be filing for bankruptcy on Monday.
From La Presse.ca:
Director of the shop, Frédéric Patry said that attempts by the company management to find new investors were unsuccessful. Forty-five people lost their jobs.
Realistic, Frédéric Patry nevertheless retains a slim hope that a takeover could save the brand.
It’s a shame to hear about them go under. Boréal made fantastic boats and their construction and craftsmanship was second to none for sure. Over the 20 years in business, Boréal expended their company by purchasing accessory company, Beluga. They also developed a fantastic partnership with Maelströmkayak to manufacture and distribute their high-end sea kayaks.
From a business perspective, their product lines were appealing to paddling shops as they were able to offer both boats and accessories for the entire spectrum of paddling; from absolute beginner on a slim budget all the up to the highest end.
I have no idea of how the bankruptcy of Boréal will affect Maelströmkayak as they are a separate company with a factory to build their boats. I reached out to them for comment but haven’t received a response yet. I will update this post if I hear back.
Update [Feb 4, 2012]: I receved an email from Charles-Alexandre Desjardins one of the owners of Maelströmkayak. He said, "We learned about it the same way you did, which is unfortunate. That's about all I can say for now. Maelströmkayak is still very alive and we intend to continue our business."
Update [Feb 6, 2012]: I have written to Boreal Design looking for a statement as nothing has been posted on their website as of yet. I will post if/when I receive it.
Update [Feb 9, 2012]: Nikki Rekman Sales posted the following on her facebook page a couple of days ago:
We received confirmation from BORÉALDESIGN President, Eric Blouin this morning that the company is indeed in the hands of the bank and has closed its doors. BORÉALDESIGN was founded in 1991 by Natalie Simard and Eric Blouin and made a fantastic product. It is with great sadness that our relationship with BORÉALDESIGN has ended and we think about Eric, Natalie and all our friends who no longer have their jobs.
Flickr Photo Credit: Pub de Boréal Design? Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Back before everybody and their brother had small, waterproof GoPro cameras strapped to their head, film makers had to get creative and build their own camera rigging if they wanted to get that unique shot while on the water.
Here is a photo of filmmaker and instruction video pioneer, Bill Mason using a home-made rigging to get overhead footage for his 1977 film and companion book, Path of the Paddle.
I tried to find evidence that Bill used the rigging for overhead footage for his whitewater instructional segments but it doesn’t look like he did. Imagine how awesome it would be to see that monster going down the river back in the day.
Instead of overhead shots for the whitewater elements in his films, Bill borrowed this head mounted camera which was originally designed for skydiving. Apparently the camera was really heavy due to the lead counter weight and could only shoot a maximum of 90 seconds before the film ran out. There is a story in Ken Bucks book, Bill Mason: Wilderness Artist: From Heart to Hand that talked about the time Bill nearly drowned the first time he jumped in the water with the camera. From then on they had to put two or three life jackets on him to provide enough flotation for the camera to stay above water.
Today, filming on the water is considerably easier with any of the small waterproof cameras that have flooded the market like GoPro, Contour or Drift over the past couple of years.
But even with the right camera, getting that unique shot angle can still take some thinking but thank goodness there are more commercial options now then before. One affordable option involves getting an adjustable pole from kayalu.com. Prices range from $89-$249 and can fit most cameras on the market. Kayalu has a good reputation for their well-built equipment that holds up in both fresh and salt water.
If you are working with a higher budget and looking to get more dynamic footage, then a camera mounted cable built by Sea to Sky Cable Cam is the only way to go.
For approximately $36,000 you can get the equipment needed to shoot footage similar to below:
Looking at the demo reel you might recognize some of the footage. That’s because this equipment was designed by sea kayaker,BryanSmith of Eastern Horizons fame and Matt Maddaloni who has been a sponsored rock climber for the past 15 years.
Bill Mason Photo Credits: BIll Mason Productions
The world of kayaking expeditions received a huge exposure boost these past two weeks when Jon Turk and Erik Boomer were interviewed in both The New York Times and Canada’s weekly news magazine, Macleans.
Jon Turk and Erik Boomer are also in the running for National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year for their successful circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada. The time to vote is over now and we should be hearing who won sometime in mid February.
I just heard the news that Vancouver Island Paddlefest has decided to take a year off from their long running event.
Here is part of the statement from their website:
The Vancouver Island Paddlefest Society will not be hosting a Paddlefest Event in 2012. The Society will use this hiatus to develop a strategic plan to potentially continue with a new mandate.
The Society recognizes the paddlesport industry has evolved greatly over the past 14 years and it is time to look at re-structuring the volunteer/business model to develop a new mandate which will accommodate the needs of the public as well as the contributing partners.
This isn’t the first long running paddling symposiums to shut down on the West Coast over the past couple of years. Back in 2010 the West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium also closed up after 26 years.
Hopefully Paddlefest will return in 2013.
Thanks to @kayakyak for the heads up.
Have you ever wondered how fleece became the dominant fabric in the outdoor industry over the past 20 years? Don’t lie, I know you have. To answer your fleecy history questions, Gizmodo recently published a great article outlining the extensive background of this wonder fabric.
Plastics solved many problems in the 20th century. Why not the wool dilemma?
Enter Malden Mills Industries, which got its start in 1906 with wool bathing suits (yep) and sweaters. During World War II, they won military contracts to produce uniforms. But after the war was over, they saw a shift in the fabric landscape. Polyesters were incorporated into everything from tires to carpets to clothing. Nylon, which was invented in the ‘30s by DuPont, became an instant hit. Spandex, which we may or may not be thankful for, was invented in the '50s. New high-tech fabrics were popping up all over the place, and Malden Mills wanted in on the action. They set out to make a plastic sheep-replacer to help them climb to the top of their industry.
They started by spinning plastics into yarn. Weaving the yarn into fabric with tiny loops on one side created a thin fabric—but when brushed, the yarn broke down into individual fibers and the loops puffed up, improving the fabric's texture, thickness and insulation without increasing the weight. The innovation happened in the factory, not the lab, partly becausePatagoniawas pushing for new fabrics. Doug Hoschek, who marketed the new textile, knew it would have an huge impact in the outdoor community, so Malden Mills worked aggressively to get that crowd on board.
The full history is pretty amazing but you might be asking about how fleece it’s actually made and why it actually works so well. To answer those questions public radio station WNYC, posted an interview with Sean Cormier, assistant professor in the Textile Design and Marketing Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and Jill Dumain, Director of Environmental Strategy atPatagonia.
In under 30 minutes you will get the complete lowdown on the fuzzy stuff.
Photo credit: Methinks that's not your fleece Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0