KayakDave.com just returned from our first trip to the annual EORA show at Killington Resort in Vermont. The EORA trade show is like a mini-version of the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City and it was packed to the brim with all sorts of exciting new paddling and outdoor gear for the 2014 season! We had the chance to meet with many of our regional reps and demo all sorts of stuff from kayaks to SUPs to paddles. Here’s the inside scoop on what we think the hot new items will be next spring:
We came to the show with high hopes for the new Wilderness Systems Focus series. After demoing it the best that we could muster was an “unimpressed face.” Thankfully, Lincoln Canoe and Kayak was there to surprise us with two spectacular new kayaks in their Quody Lite LV and Chebeauge LV. Both of these boats are classics in their standard sizes but we were quite impressed with the changes that were made in these new, low-volume models. The most notable changes are evident in the cockpit which now features integrated thigh braces in a sufficiently-long, key-hole configuration. These changes translate to a dramatically improved fit for the smaller paddler and left me yearning to take one home after an extended demo!
Just when you thought that Werner couldn’t make anything lighter than their performance core paddles (Ikelos, Kalliste, ect)…they did! My mind was blown when I picked up the new Werner Ovation off of the showroom rack. This high-performance, low-angle touring paddle is a member of Werner’s new Signature Paddle Series. It has the same blade shape and size as the foam-core Kalliste but lacks the diolen edging which helps to cut down the weight to less than 20 ounces!!! We can’t wait to give this paddle a try when we product test this fall!
SUP dominated this show in a way that made our heads spin. There were far too many different manufacturers and boards to make sense of it all. However, there was one company that stuck out and this was Pau Hana Surf Supply. I really liked the feel and exquisite quality of their Oahu Nose Rider board. Alex and I also enjoyed a quick (and quite interesting) trip on their 14’-long Duo tandem SUP. Above all were the super cool Pau Hana reps who were very personable and spent a bunch of time paddling with us long after the close of the official demos. Mahalo, gents!!!
There’s no doubt in my mind that the new Freedom SUP paddle by Aquabound was the best entry-level SUP paddle at the show. This paddle felt solid from the grip to the tip of the blade thanks to a stiff, composite shaft and rugged, ABX plastic blades! All told, this paddle performed great on the water and the staff agrees that it’s far superior to anything else at the under $150 price point. If you’re looking for a high-performance SUP paddle then look no further than the Werner Nitro series. These carbon fiber SUP paddles are an absolute dream. Their super-stiff, super-lightweight construction makes for an ultra-efficient transfer of power to keep you SUPing from sunrise to sundown!!!
The most revolutionary piece of paddling apparel at the show was the new Shift Drysuit by Stholquist. This dry suit will literally usher in a paradigm shift in the way that paddlers think about dry suits and how manufacturers design them. This suit breaks away from the “space suit” look of your typical dry suit and introduces a much more stylish jacket-and-pants look. The front entry is also stream-lined such that the zipper has been moved from across the chest to more of a horse-collar arrangement that allows the paddler to enter the suit, get both arms in the sleeves, and then get their head in by lifting up the front of the suit. The outer layer of the suit features a red, front-zip jacket with all sorts of features including hand pockets, a removable hood, and relief zipper to name just a few!
Seattle Sports stole the show when it came to new and exciting paddling accessories. The most notable new items in their lineup include adhesive-back deck fixtures ($9.95 per pair) and the Seattle Sports Kayak lock which seems like a great alternative to the more expensive Lasso locks.
Looking for a comfortable camp chair?? Well, look no further than the Chair One foldable camp chair by Helinox. These oh-so-comfortable chairs feature a tent pole design that makes them extremely lightweight and compact while supporting up to 320lbs! The best part is that they’ll easily fit into a kayak hatch J Gone are the days of toting around those terribly uncomfortable camp stools!
Lincoln Kayaks won the “best giveaway” award by a landslide with their mason-jar mug/ Cold-River Vodka sample combo! Lincoln Kayaks takes pride in the fact that all of their kayaks are handcrafted in the state of Maine. Cold River Vodka happens to be one of their neighbors and distills all of their spirits from genuine Maine potatoes thus making this pairing seem quite appropriate. Better still is what the little tag on the jar had to say: “Have a drink on ME.”…I think we will!
Note: Many of these featured products will not be released until later this fall or early next spring. We’ll update this post with links to the manufactures product pages as soon as they become available