Stuff I Liked at PaddleSports Retailer 2019
Tom and I made a trip over to Oklahoma City for the second year to the only tradeshow that is specific to the paddlesports trade. The show is still slow, but also growing steadily. This year there was a renewed energy at the show, perhaps from the rearranged demo and maybe also because the kind AV folks played background music on the show floor. You could easily get through the entire show in a day, spending 5-10 minutes at each booth. We walked around a lot and focused on a few folks, which was perfect because we went for one afternoon, cancelled our hotel room, and booked it back to Northwest Arkansas the same night.
Here are a few of our favorite items we found during that afternoon.
ORU Kayak’s Inlet
Release Date: Q2 2020
When Oru Kayak is at a show, you have to talk about them for a minute, as the portability of their kayaks is unsurpassed. The Inlet is a foldable one-person kayak that compacts down to the size of a suitcase. This compactable kayak is positioned to introduce a whole new market to paddling—namely, people who live in metropolitan areas. Many city folks are simply unable to enjoy paddling because of size restrictions—but now, it’s as easy as folding up a kayak and storing it in a closet. The Inlet weighs 20 pounds and folds down to 40″ x 19″ x 10″.
Advanced Elements’ StraitEdge 2
Release Date: Q3 2019
The StraitEdge 2 is an inflatable two person kayak, capable of Class 3 rapids, that compacts down to the size of a large suitcase. This is likely the most compact technical 2 person kayak on the market. While the Oru Inlet us lighter and a bit more compact, the StraightEdge series is more durable/stable. It also tracks better through water thanks to the StraitEdge system on the bow that helps the boat slice through the water. The StraitEdge 2 weighs 47 pounds and is 39.5″ x 18″ x 12.75″ when deflated and folded.
Küat’s Class 4
Release Date: Available Now
Kuat is a company we like not just because the sleek design and premium feel (yet reasonable value), but also because they’re close to Gearography headquarters in the Ozark mountains in Springfield Missouri. The Class 4 is the first magnet based quick release kayak carrier. This is one of those things that you want to experience in person because you get to see experience the seamlessness of the Locking Flip and how smooth it is when locking and unlocking (versus other kayak roof racks require a decent amount of finagling). It’ll hold one kayak up to 80 pounds.
Wenonah Canoes’ Karla
Release Date: Available Now
MSRP: $3599 (Fiberglass) and $3999 (Kevlar)
We had to pick at least one boat that was our favorite for the day we find ourselves swimming in money. The Karla might very well be the best kayak on the market for those who are ready to drop 4 grand on a kayak. You know those bikes that you can lift up with one pinky? This is the kayak version of that. The fiberglass and kevlar versions are both impossibly light—weighing 52 and 48 pounds, respectively. It can hold up to 375 pounds and is over 15′ long.
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