|Outdoor Retailer Expo at a Glance
By Chris Hackerd
August 7th through 10th Steve, Peter and I traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend the Outdoor Retailer Expo. The Outdoor Retailer Expo is an annual event at which companies from all over the world come to unveil and demonstrate their new products and existing products for retailers. Peter and Steve have both been to the event in prior years but this was my first experience. I was amazed at the magnitude of the Salt Palace and the excitement happening inside.
Our week started at the Pineview Reservoir where every boat manufacturer you could think of had demonstration boats on the lake for us to paddle. The boats that really knocked our socks off were the Hobie Mirage i12S and i14T. These kayaks build off the success of the Mirage series with one small change - These are fully inflatable pedal drive kayaks. Both kayaks fold neatly into their own wheeled travel bag and come with hand pumps. An optional sail kit is also available. Amazing innovation from a company that is always on the cutting edge. I was initially skeptical of the housing for the mirage drive, I assumed it to be flimsy. I was wrong, really wrong. The tandem actually pedaled very similar to its hard shelled counter part. Peter and I actually engaged the i14T in a race with a Hobie Oasis (a 2 person, hard shell Mirage drive kayak) and smoked it! We have limited quantities in stock with more on the way. We were so impressed with the i12S and i14t we bought whatever Hobie had in stock while we were standing right there on the beach! You can view both the Single and Tandem on our website by clicking either link.
Thursday and Friday we moved into the Salt Palace which resembled a small athletic city. We hustled from manufacturer to manufacturer reviewing the items we currently stock and evaluating new items for the future. So many of our vendors have been hard at work developing products that our valued customers are going to flip over.
One such item I was particularly impressed with was the Catch Cooler, available in Small (link) and Large (link), from Seattle Sports. It is the first fish bag I have seen that really made sense. These bags can fit on the deck or in the tankwell of almost any kayak. The outside is made of a heat reflective material that helps keep the bag cool. The great thing about the bag is the liner inside can be removed for cleaning and it can double as a food and drink cooler.
Malone, Thule and Yakima have some really exciting products coming out in the way of kayak carriers. You should see these new items in store early next year so be on the lookout. In the meantime check out our New Products Page we have added over 90 new products in the last three months and there are many more to come.
The expo was a fantastic learning experience and one I won't forget anytime soon. Every paddling professional I met had some piece of kayaking wisdom to pass on to us and I hope to pass it on to our customers.
|Maps for Kayak Fishing
Hook-N-Line Fishing Maps
If you plan on fishing the Texas Coast having a Hook-N-Line Map is a must. These tear resistant, waterproof maps have all the information you need for a successful fishing trip. The maps point out dozens of well marked fishing spots along with the type of fish caught, the best months of the year, and underwater structures in an easy to read format. Hook-N-Line has also taken the time to include GPS coordinates for fishing locations, boat ramps, marinas and other points of interest.
Aerial Photo Card Maps
Already know where you are going and only need an aerial map? These photocards fit the bill. They are 8 1/2" x 11" and and have the Texas Parks and Wildlife Paddling Trails marked with GPS coordinates.