Back in the Kayak Biz, Perhaps? A PL Q&A with Corran Addison, Who Recently Sold Corran SUP to Move Back to Montreal

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Here’s how the last post on his website reads: “Today is my last day at Corran SUP. Yes, it’s true – it’s been an amazing few years, but now I hand over the reigns to Kayak Distribution who have purchased the brand. For me? Well you know I’m not going to disappear, but I am going to take a bit of a break and regroup….” PL catches up with the iconic SUP and kayak designer to see what’s next…

PL: What’s your take on the state of the SUP industry?
Corran:
It’s a little like a girl who goes through puberty a couple of years early. Everyone wants a piece of the action, but she’s unable to deal with what that means. It’s a very young industry, and it’s making many of the mistakes the paddlesports industry made in the 1980s and ‘90’s. They already made those mistakes – learn from it. Anyway, I think we’ll see it balance out, and the “me too” companies will slowly fall away (it’s already happening) and we’ll be left with a few dozen companies that know what they’re doing (or learn).

PL: You’ve worked in both the kayak and SUP markets…any big differences between them?
Corran:
Barrier to entry as a brand. In kayaking, plastic is the tried and tested way to go. This requires expensive ovens and molds. So there is a barrier to entry as a brand. In SUP there is no such barrier. You can find a dozen “manufacturers” in China on Alibaba, send them sketches of what you want for graphics on a napkin, use existing shapes they have and “bingo” you’re in business. So there must be 500 “brands” right now in the world, though only probably 20 of them are worth noting. This creates “backyard” sellers (or internet direct) and cut-price boards, making it harder for legitimate brands and dealers to make money – the guys who are growing the sport – but it’s going to level out eventually.

PL: What are you most proud of from Corran SUP?
Corran:
We built the brand as a serious name and a real player in the industry in just one year. Not only in whitewater, but also in rec and touring. I’ve been cited as a “leading shaper” in various magazines and by other shapers, so I think we really accomplished a lot with it.

PL: Any idea what the new owners’ plans are for the brand?
Corran:
I have no clue – I’m no longer part of it. I left in mid-Feb after I got them set up, so it’s all theirs to make good with now.

PL: What’s next?
Corran: Not sure. Right now I’m taking a breather. Designing a few kayaks and SUP for myself to use. I’m moving back to Montreal (my family is there and also I miss the Canadian culture and the Lachines waves and the local creeks). I’m working on a few designs that will tickle me pink… and maybe create a stir. I’ll also probably do some contract design work for people too. We will see…