OR Paddlesports Preview

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A PL OR New Gear for 2012 Sampler

Tandem boats, higher-end price points, versatility – that and more sums up the paddlesports line-up heading into 2012, as manufacturers invest production savings into research and design. Following is a wrap-up of wares you’ll find on the water…

Whitewater
Putting its money where its mouth is regarding to re-investing in whitewater, Confluence debuts the Project X from WaveSport ($1,049), with new volume distribution and a revamped outfitting system. The company is also planning to unveil a new creekboat and playboat from Dagger.

Liquidlogic is releasing the Freeride 57 and 67 ($1,099), river-running/play boats to replace its popular CR series, as well as a new creekboat called the Stomper 80 and 90 ($1,099). Also look for a new seat system for its Remix series, with a hinging backband for easy stern access.

Jackson Kayak unleashes the three-size Rock Star series ($1,049/$1,199), as well as an uber-light, 20-lb. version in carbon fiber ($2,800), which, with a foam core, reduces the boat’s weight by nearly 10 lbs. for easier initiation and higher-amplitude freestyle moves. Also look for a new kayak called the Front Runner ($TBD), a river runner billed as a cross between the Fun and the Hero.
Celebrating 40 years, Pyranha debuts the Loki ($TBD), its newest river/playboat borrowing the hull shapes of the Molan and Varun with more speed and slice for traditional playboat moves; and the Shiva ($TBD), a new creeker with a soft edge, progressive rocker, peaked deck for easy resurfacing and width towards the stern for speed and stability.

Recreational
The rec boat market is showing no signs of slowing down as more and more consumers vacation in their backyards. Wilderness Systems pulls up the curtains on its new Ride 115 ($849), the first under-12-foot rec/angling kayak you can stand in, thanks to enhanced stability and widened footwells. Sister company Perception enters 2012 with the new Prodigy 13.5 ($799), a 1.5-person companion kayak with a stadium-style half seat for canine, child or gear; and the 14.5-foot Prodigy II ($1,045), a tandem that’s convertible to paddle solo, thanks to new on-the-fly adjustable Zone DLX seats and an adjustable stern footbrace system.

Old Town Canoe has two new price-point rec kayaks, the 9- and 11-foot Heron ($349/$449), complementing its Camden 106 and 120 (10’6”/12’6”, $799/$899), which feature smooth planing hulls, adjustable Active Comfort System seats, dual-fit thigh braces, and such storage solutions as a dashboard day hatch, rod and cup holder, and rubberized storage system with Hinged Click Seal stern hatch.

Emotion Kayaks makes price-point a priority with its new 11-foot Comet 110 ($399), a user-friendly sit-inside with an extended waterline for tracking and speed, and an easy-adjusting seat and storage space for gear. It also comes with a stern flotation bag and three-year hull warranty.

Delta Kayaks jumps into the rec market with its new thermoformed Delta 10, a 37-lb. kayak with a modified catamaran hull for speed, agility and stability without the excessive beam of other rec offerings. It comes with rear dry storage, a front under deck stowage pod, and “Sea View” window in the cockpit floor for observing wildlife below.

Touring
While the touring category has slowed down, innovation is still running high. Wilderness Systems is releasing the 14-foot, composite Tsunami 140 PRO ($1,999) in the high-end category for those placing a premium on weight and performance.

Current Designs unveils its new 12-foot, composite-hybrid Vision 120SP ($TBD) for smaller paddlers. Weighing just 32 lbs. with a 23-inch girth, the easy car-topper carries two bulkheads and hatch covers, a keyhole cockpit and light weight fixed seating. Also new is the Double Vision Roto ($TBD), a rotomolded tandem measuring 16’8” and 28 inches wide, with the company’s Revolution Seat System, Dimension Adjustable Seat Back and rudder. On the expedition side comes the updated 21-foot, 85-lb. Unity ($TBD), a tandem with oversized center storage hatch and larger front hatch. It’s offered only in a fiberglass and core lay-up for a marriage of durability and light weight. Finally comes the 15’11”, 55-lb. Squall GTS, a sleek rotomolded kayak drawing on the success of the Solstice family with a new hull design, keyhole cockpit, decreased windage deck and under-deck rudder haul lines.

As part of its five new models for 2012, Pyranha/P&H Designs showcases its new polyethylene Delphin 150, an ocean playboat geared toward smaller paddlers looking for rough water play and light touring; the Aries 150, a composite version of Delphin with increased precision and speed; and the Venture Islay 14 (all prices TBD), a small tourer designed for inland exploration with a long waterline for speed and tracking and asymmetric shape for maneuverability.

Sit-on-top
Necky Kayaks re-enters the sit-on-top sector for the first time in a decade with its Vector 13 ($899), a 13-foot-long, 59-lb. tourer promising performance and speed, thanks to a sleek 29-inch beam. It also debuts the Vector 14 ($1,099/$1,299), an intermediate/advanced performance sit-on-top.

From Ocean Kayak comes the new Tetra series ($749/$849), 10- and 12-foot sit-on-tops serving as cross-over boats from rec paddling to fishing. The company also sets a hook in the fish kayak market with the 15’5”, 77-lb. Trident Ultra 4.7 ($1,599), which comes with a new Multifunctional Reversible Center Hatch Cover, fishfinder transducer fitting and elongated bow for slicing away the miles.

Native gets back to its sportman’s roots with the price-point-friendly Ultimate ($1,049) and the reintroduction of the Propel pedal drive system in two sizes of the Ultimate ($2,199/$2,129) and Mariner ($1,899/$1,839).

Liquidlogic continues to ride sales of its Coupe (10’, $799) and Deuce Coupe (13’, $999), hybrid-designed, crossover sit-on-tops, combining a soft-edged whitewater hull with a deploy-on-demand, spring-loaded skeg for tracking. Both come with the new Deluxe Wedge Seat and Tag Along Wheel for transport.

Jackson Kayak targets the rec and fishing markets with its 14’4” Orca ($TBD), an ocean-going version of the Coosa with a 23-inch-wide standing platform. It’s also unveiling a new 13’10” tandem fishing boat that can be paddled solo, with Hi-Lo seating in bow and stern and a live bait well.

Emotion ups its sit-on-top presence with the new Sparky for kids and Spitfire 9 ($TBD). Wilderness Systems strengthens its kayak fishing presence with its new 14-foot Commander 140 Angler ($1,349), built for larger paddlers and longer trips with a pontoon-style hull for casting stability and SlideTrax accessory system for easy adjustments.

Delta Kayaks debuts the 49-lb. Catfish 12.5 ($TBD), whose modified tunnel hull offers stability in a streamlined 27-inch-wide beam and a Sea View viewing window, two storage hatches, front bulkhead and generous deck rigging. The rear cargo bay accommodates scuba tanks, fishing boxes and/or bait tanks, while the deck design lets you lock a paddle behind the seat for standing casts.

Hobie’s new Mirage Revolution 11 and its companion paddle model, the Quest 11, are shorter versions of the popular Mirage Revolution 13 and Quest 13. At this year’s ICAST show, the Revolution 11 walked away with Best of Show award in the Boat Category. With features for anglers, rec kayakers, photographers and bird watchers, the shorter, lighter models are easier to handle than their larger cousins. Measuring 11’6″ and weighing 47 lbs., the Revolution 11 ($1,749) is powered by Hobie’s patented MirageDrive pedal system while the 11’1″, 47 lb. Quest 11 ($949) accommodates those who prefer to paddle.

SUP
Surftech enters its sixth year at the show with seven new SUPs in its Laird Hamilton line for the race, touring and rec categories, as well as its new “bombproof” 10’6” B1 ($1,375, # 38181), with a new patent-pending thermo-formed construction process employing a polymer shell with woven material.

First-time exhibitor Rogue showcases 37 models, including the women-specific Diva ($1,599). “It’s a great way to get in front of overall outdoor industry,” says Rogue’s Erin Douglas of attending OR.

Hawaii’s C4 Waterman, whose sales have grown 35 percent over last year, is debuting 12 boards, including a new line of inflatable iSUPs, highlighted by the 10-foot, river-running Rapid Rider and 12’6” River Runner ($1,250/$1,350). Both employ revamped drop-stitch technology for added rigidity and rockered hulls for river use.

Imagine Surf, spearheaded by long-time kayak designer Corran Addison, turns heads with the 11-foot Speeder ($799)in plastic, and the Peanut, Push, Search, Garrett and Salazar in epoxy. It’s also unveiling the 49-lb., 11-foot-long Wizard ($749), complete with hatches for storage, a flip-up seat-back and heel rests, rod holders and deck bungees.

Emotion gets into the game with the Traverse ($399), an entry-level, price-point SUP for lakes and small surf. It comes with high nose rocker, a water-shedding profile and rounded sidewalls, textured, deep foot recess areas for stability and traction, storage hatch and removable fin.

NRS enters 2012 with two additions to its inflatable SUP line, complementing last year’s Earl. Measuring 36 inches wide and 11’4” long, the Big Baron ($1,195) is for larger paddlers seeking stability, while the Boss ($1,295), carrying the same dimensions, is a fishing SUP with bungee for storage and two Scotty bases for accessory attachments. Both are made from PVC-coated drop stitch and come with Leafield C7 valves, carry bag, pump, pressure gauge and dual-position fins. The company also embraces SUP-inspired apparel with its new Radiant 3.0 Wetsuit ($199.95), a full-length, rear-zipper wetsuit with FlashDry™ interior lining, stretchy PowerSpan™ exterior, and 3-mm Terraprene™.

Canoes
From Mad River comes the 13-foot Serenade ($1,499/$1,719), a high-end solo hybrid canoe with kayak outfitting and paddle. “It’s the renewal of a category with a lot of potential,” says Confluence CEO Sue Rechner.

Old Town gets its feet wet again in the expedition category with the 17.5-foot Koru ($2,229), a fiberglass canoe with wood accents, built for making miles in style. Wenonah unveils a new Whitewater Solo canoe and a new small decked canoe ($TBD).

Nova Craft has three new canoe models for 2012, the Trapper ($1,300/Royalex), Teddy ($1,300/RX) and Muskoka ($1,249/fiberglass), and also adds a lightweight composite, Aramid Lite, to many of its models for reduced weight and increased structural strength. The Trapper and Teddy are original Chestnut Canoe Company designs dating back to the mid-1900s, both 12-foot long solo canoes available in Royalex Lite or composite. The Muskoka measures 15’10” and is designed for light recreational use, from weekend trips to fishing, with plenty of carrying capacity and stability for family outings.

Paddles
Adventure Technology unveils its new Quest Carbon Straight kayak paddle ($245) as a companion to its bent-shaft Quest, with a soft dihedral blade and high fiber-to-resin ratio for durability. Parting from its traditional wooden wares, Bending Branches introduces the Black Pearl ($229.95), an all-carbon touring paddle for canoeists. Weighing 14 ounces with an 11-degree bent shaft and traditional large surface touring blade shape, it’s the lightest adult paddle in the company’s line. On the SUP front, Werner introduces its new Bent Shaft SUP Paddle ($375), which comes with either Fuse or Nitro blades. Planning to be in full production for all 2012 models in August, newcomer Core Paddles is riding the success of its popular Batto Bent whitewater paddle ($299), featuring its proprietary one-piece Easton 7000 series alloy shaft mated to hollow core thermoplastic blades.

Accessories
Bomber Gear, recently purchased by Confluence, hits the show with its new K-Bomb ($174.99) spray skirt, built with a heavy-duty rubber rand and decking and tunnel woven from aramid polymer/fiber and super-stretch neoprene; and its form-fitting, over-layer Bombination Shorts ($84.99), with gusseted crotch for mobility and comfort. It also showcases its waterproof/breathable Toray® 4 ply, seam-reducing Bomb Dry Top ($389.99), with Sub-Screen Technology™ for waterproofness; remolded cuffs with Velcro-less Volcanic Gasket Protector System™ to reduce pinch; Vault Water Lock Waist Band™ with grip neoprene, super stretch bungee and double Tab Velcro system; and emergency whistle stashed in the neck gasket.

On the footwear front, Five Ten showcases the Fast Eddy ($105.95) for anglers, paddlers and beach-combers with a breathable, quick-dry synthetic mesh upper, Stealth S1 soles for traction and a TPR protective toe cap. It has also revamped its popular Water Tennie ($109.95) and Canyoneer ($144.95), the latter selling through its first production run in record time.

KEEN introduces the Turia Sandal ($100), a streamlined, lightweight adventure sandal with active heel locks, airmesh upper for breathability, and water traction rubber compound with razor siping for traction.

Kokatat enters 2012 with its new WoolCore baselayer collection, a Polartec® Power Dry® wool/recycled polyester blend with paddling-specific construction; NeoCore shorts and tops, made from lightweight, 0.5mm neoprene with polyester lining; new Aries PFD, a low-profile, front-entry design with PVC-free, form-fitting GAIA® buoyant inserts; a limited edition GORE-TEX® Meridian Dry Suit with updated styling and color; the Portage, a 3mm neoprene bootie for creeking and sea kayaking with medium weight traction outsole and fiberboard insole, and one-hand adjustable hidden lace system; and a new GORE-TEX® Paclite® Anorak line of paddling jackets and pullovers with new colors, styling and features.

Working with a cadre of international slalom racers, Predator debuts a new Slalom Helmet ($69.95) and is working on a new river running helmet to compete with the Sweet Rocker. “We’re not jumping on shell graphics,” maintains president Matt Kelly. “Solids with more subtle graphics will still be the choice of boaters and retailers.”