After checking in with some of our favorite manufacturers at the Outdoor Retailers Show here in Salt Lake City, we have exciting news for 2009.  Kids are definitely coming out on top as far as new products. So are fans of the Wave Sport Diesel.  Following are just some of the headline notes for 2009. 

LEVEL SIX. ERA brought in Level Six in 2007 because of the quality in their paddling gear. And each year they have listened to our feedback and improved on their product.  Because we are a conduit between kayakers and manufacturers, we are always listening to what our fellow-kayakers want/have to say about products and we are willing to pass it along. What impresses us the most is when our feedback is taken seriously.  The best result this year from Level Six is listening to our plea for a kid’s dry top and coming up with both long sleeve and short sleeve dry tops. Way to go!  The design will address many of the issues our young paddlers face (hating latex around the neck, looking good, and keeping the price reasonable).  The tops will not be available until spring, but by Christmas season we will have a gift certificate ready for parents wanting to put something special under the Christmas tree for their young paddlers.

SHRED READY.  Their helmet art was a showstopper!  If you have not checked out SR’s 2008 art collection on-line, do so!  From SR will be a new cherry wood design, switching from a glossy black to a matte black color, and bringing back the green Vixen (Juliet’s signature helmet).

LENDAL PADDLES. The past two years have been a tough transition for Lendal, who moved from their birthplace of Scotland to Johnson&Jonhson’s Maine factory.  But after stopping in and chatting with the Lendal crew, we are confident that Johnson is committed to Lendal (we sure have been—it is a great product!); and they have worked through production issues that entailed balancing out the demand in the UK with the demand in the USA.

NRS. Women score big with a new blue-on-blue Flux dry top and matching paddling gloves. The super-popular hydroskin line has been improved with a switch to terraprene—a petroleum-free product.  And for the knife-lovers, the 2009 Co-pilot knife (which also serves as screw driver AND bottle opener) is the ticket.

AT PADDLES.  Go kids!  AT is introducing an awesome kids paddle. The paddle will be light, offered in a good selection of shorter lengths, and a great price!

WRSI. Two new special edition helmets will be introduced by WRSI in 2009: a baby blue special edition hand painted helmet, and for the redneck kayaker: a two gun salute special edition helmet. In addition, the optional face guard will be available for the small-shelled helmet, and for those who prefer to lock in the break-off face guard, you will be able to do so.  WRSI also addressed the small complaint about their new throw bags being a bit difficult to restuff with a super easy fix.

H2O PADDLES.  We dabbled in H2O two years ago. But a small but important detail moved us away from them: the shaft was not indexed (slightly ovaled on the control-hand end).  The reasoning was valid: they wanted to maximize the strength of the shaft. But what they realized is that the overkill was not worth a lack of indexing. Problem solved for 2009.  And the H2O-Team bent shaft paddle will be ultralight with a 100% carbon shaft, as well as a sleeve across the shaft connection point that is now off set to maximize strength.

WAVE SPORT.  There is always a breath held until word is released as to what the boat manufacturers will introduce next.  We are such fans of the Diesel that we were at a loss as to how to “improve” the design. But Robert, Bryan and company have both improved on a great design and answered the plea for a smaller/bigger boat.  Three new sizes will be available in 2009: the 60, 70 and 80.  The 60 will be excellent for the 105-145ish paddler.  Aside from commenting on the fact that the new lines on the 2009 Diesels are super sexy, we will share more details of the redesign when we can get them right from Robert or Bryan.  In addition, look for a limited edition composite Project.  What a dream—a composite playboat meaning it is light as a feather and flat out good looking.  Certainly not for southeastern playboaters who deal with rocks, but deep water playboaters will have a blast in this boat.

There was definitely more for 2009 than what we saw/mentioned here.  But everything we saw reinforced our commitment to the manufacturers we feature at Endless River Adventures.  We are already making up wish lists for 2009!!