Industry Stuff

Today Kayak Distribution (owners of Riot Kayaks) announced that they have purchased bankrupted kayak company, Boréal Designs. According to the press release, manufacturing, sales and customer service will be moved from Quebec City to Montreal. Below is the full statement: Bankrupt kayak manufacturer, Boreal Design, bought out by Kayak Distribution of Montreal (Riot Kayaks). "Kayak Distribution, makers of Riot and Azul brand kayaks, announced today that they have completed the purchase of Boréal Design of Québec city. Manufacturing, sales and customer service will be moved into Kayak Distribution facilities in Canada, the USA and China over the course of the summer in order to minimize impact on its dealer network. By acquiring Boréal Designs, Kayak Distribution positions itself as a leading privately held boat manufacturer. Boréal’s integration will allow the company to have a strong presence in the sea kayak category which will complete its line-up of Riot and Azul boats. It will also allow the company to carve out a leading position in thermoformed boats which the company launched earlier this year. By integrating Boréal into its existing operations, Kayak Distribution will help the company become more competitive, add thermoformed constructions to its line-up, and help its customers streamline their purchasing by being able to source all of their boats needs from one competitive supplier and in some cases, eliminate associated shipping costs through its free shipping program." Special thanks to friend of the site and paddle maker, Joe O’Blenis for the tip.
I wanted to let Paddle Canada sea kayak and SUP instructors know that the deadline for the training bursary is fast approaching and you only have until the end of March, 2012 to get your application in. From the Paddle Canada website: For several years now Paddle Canada has been awarding bursaries to instructors looking to further the sea kayaking and SUP programs in Canada. The intention is to help defray certification or travel costs for instructors coming from or organizing courses in underfunded areas throughout Canada. There isn't a huge pilce of cash to give away but $300 for sea kayak instructors and $500 for SUP instructors will go a little way towards covering your transportation costs. If you are interested, take a look at the links below for the fine print and application details. SUP BursarySea Kayak Bursary
Bryan Hansel from paddlinglight.com has highlighted what should be a wake-up call to the entire outdoor industry. The results from a long-term survey were recenrtly released by the US Forest Reserve. The survey (which was completed back in 1969, 1991 and finally in 2007) has been looking into who the users of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area (BWCAW) are. The survey result paints an interesting picture into the health of canoe tripping in the BWCAW and I feel could also be anecdotally applied to other major canoeing areas across North America as well. …we found out that the average user age in 1969 was 26 and in 2007 it was 45. We also found out that first time visitors have dropped from 30% of visitors to 6%. This means that fewer people are being introduced to the BWCAW. I’d guess that also means that the age of the average visitor will continue to rise and current users grow older. As a point of reference, the average age in Minnesota is 36. The study suggests that one way to explain this is: “While it is important to recognize that younger individuals and first time overnight visitors continue to use the BWCAW, trend data suggest that a strong and substantial cohort of aging, repeat visitors to the BWCAW exists.” One interesting observation from the study is “Just less than half of the visitors in 1969 had visited other wildernesses besides the BWCAW at that time, but this rose to 57% by 1991 and 75% by 2007.” To me that seems to suggest that once people experience how magical wilderness areas are, they want to visit more of them. What does this mean for the outdoor industry and outdoor camping? It means that current participants are getting older and we are not introducing young people to the outdoors as our parents did to us. If something isn’t done soon I feel an entire generation will miss out. More info: paddlinglight.com - Original Survey Report Flickr Photo Credit: Big Sag - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en_CA / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Sea Kayaking Then and Now
Wednesday, 29 February 2012

I got the latest Adventure Kayak in the mail yesterday and it got me thinking of how the image of sea kayaking in the media has changed over the years. Below are the first six covers from way back in 2002. Summer 2002 Fall 2002 Spring 2003 Early Summer 2003   Summer 2003   Fall 2003   These are the six most recent covers (including the latest above). Maybe it’s just me but I think that sea kayaking looks a lot more fun and personal now.    Spring 2012 Summer/Fall 2011 Summer 2011   Spring 2011   Summer/Fall 2010 Summer 2010
I Want Your Outdoor Job is a new series I have started that finds people in the outdoor industry who are making a living doing exactly what they love to do, and asks them how they did it. First out of the gate are friends of the site, Fiona Westner-Ramsay and Mike Ramsay, owners of Badger Paddles based out of Huntsville, Ontario. When not working on their canoe paddles, Fiona and Mike are the primary caregivers for their autistic son, Makobe and actively work on autism awareness in Ontario. 1) How long have you been in business and what got you started? Fiona: Mike and I met over 10 years ago while working at the Toronto Sportsman Show in the Swift Canoe booth. Mike was working for Swift and I was the guest paddle painting artist. We married a few years later. We always had a dream to work in the outdoor industry and own our own business. With my father (a.k.a. Poppa Badger) being a wood worker and finisher as well as inherited owner of the family business, Badger & Son (he was the grandson), we naturally spent time around his shop learning the ropes, working with wood, mostly fine furniture. My parents were avid canoeists, as are Mike and I, and it was just a natural progression for us to take our passion for working with wood and mix it with our passion for paddling. When my dad retired and shut down his business, everything just fell into place and we decided to carry on the Badger family name for a 4th generation. Sharing a shop with a friend in the beginning and only working on weekends, we started Badger® Paddles in Spring 2009 and have never looked back since. Mike: We have been in business about 3 years now. It was just always something I wanted to do. I knew it wouldn't be easy but I still wanted to do it. We are at it full time now and I couldn't be happier. 2) What’s the best part of your job? Fiona: One of the best parts…
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