The thing about taking vacation the day Canoecopia ends is that it takes you forever to get around to reporting in it when you get back. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
The short report is that it’s a great event and if you don't go, you need to. It’s one of the few consumer trade shows that the owners and reps of various gear manufactures actually attend so if you can get the goods on new products straight from the horse's mouth.
I had the great pleasure of being invited to give two presentations this year so I showed up with laptop in hand to speak on, "The Search and Rescue Machine" and, "Paddling in Georgian Bay". The first presentation was a look into the technology, gear and history of search and rescue while the second presentation was about why Georgian is the second best freshwater paddling destination in North America behind Lake Superior.
Throughout the weekend I was mainly working in the Naturally Superior Adventures booth meeting people and giving them all the reasons why they needed to cross the border and do a trip on the Canadian side of Lake Superior. I'm super excited about leading a trip for NSA this year (more on it another day) so I spent most of my time telling people that they need to step up and register for the trip if only for the reason that I’ve already asked for the time off work and I really wanted to go.
Wandering around the show floor, I got to hang out with my buddies at P&H Kayaks who were selling kayaks like a flood was coming soon. I will admit that I ended up spending spend too much time sitting in the new Aries 150 and I kinda fell in love. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
For 2013, P&H tweaked the deck and outfitting of the Aries a bit by adding a day-hatch and recessed slots for a spare paddle. To make room for the day hatch, they replaced the rear oval hatch with a smaller hatch which makes sense as it’s a boat built for rough water and this should help keep the hatch from imploding in big surf.
Of course there was a huge pile of new gear on display at the show and by now you have probably read some of the very good reports by other bloggers of their Canoecopia shopping adventures. If you are looking for a solid report, check out Preston Ciere’s blog, portageur.ca. It’s super extensive and he has several great posts showing off some of the treasures he found along the way.
Two of the items that really interested me that were new this year included:
Kokatat Maximus PFD
Kokatat has a bunch of new new lifejackets are on the market this year including the very cool Maximus. I tried it on and found it to be super comfortable and streamlined. I really like the small design features like the tapered foam edges which help bulkiness feeling to a minimum. Ticket price for this bad-boy is about $160.
Did you know Lendel Paddles are back? For 2013 they have released several new blade models including their Kinetik Touring line which is a fully carbon blade with a foam core. The construction looks really solid and I like their redesigned Lendal Paddlok ferrule that uses a titanium insert that is pressed out against the paddle shaft to lock the unit together.
I’m really keen to give the new Lendal Paddles a try this season to see how they feel in the water. When I was standing in in the Lendal booth I decided to take one for a paddle up and down the aisle and in the process almost took a ladies head off who was standing next to me. I still feel it was her fault.
I will admit that it’s a bit of a haul driving 12 hours for a weekend but it's a total blast hanging out with paddlers who I see only a couple of times a year. It reminds me of friends you might have had a summer camp when you were a kid. Even though you go months without talking, you fall back in the rhythm and pick up right where you left off when spending the evening figuring out how to change the paddling world over beers.