Fresh from Salt Lake City and the 2006 Outdoor Retailer Show, we are fired up about the line up for 2007!!

STARTING WITH: Wave Sport’s New Creek Boat THE HABITAT :After 10 great years of creeking in the Wave Sport Y, we are fired up about the new creek boat: the Habitat.

Checking out the new creek boat

Robert, Jimmy, Bob, Tanya and company put so much thought into what a creek boat needs to be about—not just in the design of the hull, but about the features and outfitting of the boat. What did they come up with: a creek boat a little over 8’ long, two sizes (74 and 80 gallons), a displacement hull, an undercarriage seat storage system, and a state-of-the-art safety step-out center wall and bulkhead.

The new sherpa systemAnd to top it off: a great “sherpaâ€? back pack system for those days when you do not have someone as strong and good looking as Jimmy along to carry your boat for you!

We are salivating over this boat!

Lendal Paddles: Last year, we were fortunate enough to run into Lendal Paddles—a Scottish component paddle. It caught our eye initially because of the 4-pc component strategy that would allow break down for easy traveling. But once we paddled with them, we realized that it was not a “breakdownâ€? paddle. The locking system ensures the same stiffness found in a one-piece paddle, and the idea of replacing a single blade after a bad “blade between rocksâ€? situation was appealing to our personal wallets. For this year, Lendal is adding the option of a fiberglass blade, as well as carbon composite option for more of the blade styles. Nice!

Sweet Helmets: First came the trademark TPX material that made Sweet helmets stand apart. Now comes dynalite—a carbon fiber similar to TPX, but actually available (their TPX materials were sold off to the military in 2006, making it rather difficult to produce any helmets!). The finish of the helmets has been highly improved and the liner—while still polypro, is updated. And the colors. One word for the new Sweet colors: classy! Sport'n the new sweet colorsAnother 2007 item is the Rocker: the fit of the Rocker will now be identical to the fit of the Strutter. And the option of a visor for the half-cut will be available. Big news for the faceguard folks: a full face guard designed with a breakaway chin guard made of the same CFR material. And the option of a visor also.

Did we mention the classy colors of the Strutter?!?!?

NRS: “Bringing fun and family to the riverâ€?, thank you Brian and JD. What’s that about, you ask? Colors!! You should see the colors coming this spring in the soft goods. With the new pinks, oranges and blues, the river divas will look as eye-catching on the river as they do off the river. And the new drysuit is going to be a must-have for anyone crazy enough to paddle when it is really cold out (and you cannot make it to Costa Rica or Ecuador!).And now….Introducing….new to the Endless River Adventures store for 2007!!

Lightning/Robson Paddles: Lightning went out of business you may say. That they did, but thanks to Robson Paddles out of Germany, they are resurrected. The same famous fusion-style blade shape that made Lightning a favorite among western boaters (and ERA boaters when we had it in the shop) will be available, as well as a number of additional impressive blades (including foam cored blades favored by many) and shaft options from our friends at Robson; and we do not want to overlook the rainbow of blade colors that was such a part of the Lightning look.

Level Six : Our friend Ben Lowry warned us that we would be swept away by what Level Six had to offer us. And he was right. You want to talk about looking gooooood!! And we mean off and on the river. While paddling gear is important, so is what you put on post-river: and the line-up will include stylish board shorts, cargos, capris and jackets that will make anyone shopping at ERA stand out in a crowd.

WRSI: Take a good helmet that is easy on the wallet, but hard on the impact, and add two more colors to the already good line up: Mello Yellow and N Korea Grey. In addition, WRSI took to heart that their “one helmet fits allâ€? policy was not working for pea brains and bulging cabezas and created a new liner for a better fit.

And last but not least: the germans are really giving us a hand in offering great gear. Through a partnership with Confluence, we have been introduced to TY WARP paddles. Ty Warp paddles is about a one-piece mold that eliminates the joint connecting the blade to the shaft along with a unique shape. And best of all: a price that cannot be beaten.

Let’s hear if for the type of stuff we saw this year at OR: discarding the notion of quantity for quality/thoughtful innovation! Maybe our industry is getting more mature—and hopefully it will not be contagious!