2014 is going to be all about stronger, lighter, tougher, drier and definitely more fun colors when it comes to new technology/designs in the kayak industry.  Many of the improvements are coming out of new materials.  Here are some of our favorites coming out of the 2013 Outdoor Retailer (OR) show:

#1  Geronimo, Hercules & Samuri: the new line up of AT Paddles

Meet the new line from AT Paddles. And yep – you are seeing brightly colored blades and along with AT’s awesome bent shaft design….a new line of straight shaft paddles.

Hastings– the guy behind AT R&D, and his team experimented with 20 different blade layups and 15 varying shaft layups before they finalized the design. A big part of the innovation comes out of material: not content with the industry givens of plastic, fiberglass, carbon and Kevlar, they experimented with a new material called Innegra.  What’s Innegra about:  lighter than ‘glass, less expensive than carbon, more buoyant and more impact resistant.  Add to that a duroweave super secret blade layup combination that makes the new blades more abrasion resistant, more impact resistant, and less likely to delaminate.  The R&D team spent hours doing tests on their new designs–and the competitions’, subjecting them to abrasion tests, hydraulic presses and anything else they could come up with to test out their new designs.  Are they fired up about the new line-up?  That’s an understatement!

#2 The Mobius

Bryan, Haley & Elaine all made the 2013 team in the ProjectX, but heading into the International Competition, you will be seeing the Wave Sport Team in the Mobius.

What’s the Mobius about? Volume redistributed to optimize the “pop” a modified chine that is more forgiving, a release in the stern profile to improve initiation and a totally different rocker profile. You are going to see bigger loops, more pop, and pin-point accuracy to put the end of the boat right where it needs to be. Sizes: 49, 57 & 65. The Mobius 57 should be available in time for the 2013’s!

#3  Seam Sealing:  Hats off to both Level 6 and NRS for improvements in their seam sealing.

Level 6 is using reinforced seam taping on their dry tops.


NRS is double seam taping and introducing a new fabric: the eclipse that is a 4-layer, lighter, dryer and more breathable fabric than Gortex.

#4 Conehead Technology

A new technology being embraced by NRS and introduced in their new Anarchy helmet.  Conehead technology is about dispersing the force of an impact. Using a polycarbonate over mold that is a staple in the cycling industry, a new rachet retention system, and coneheading is what the Anarchy will be all about.  Industry News:  Already out on the world wide web, NRS’ acquisition of WRSI helmets.

No this is not a conehead! This is Luc showing off NRS' cool new guide stick!

#5 Colors: big, bright and bold combinations!

Boating manufacturers are making us look good with new colors! Favorites were Wave Sport’s new color combinations and Liquid Logic's new line up of canoe colors (with really great names!).

#6 Bomber Gear

Bomber Gear is about looking cool and being dry - check out the new designs on their bomber sprayskirts!

#7 Thule:  We continue to wonder why kayakers fall into the Yakima trap when Thule is so awesome!

Two accessories that should be on the upgrade list for paddlers: Thule’s paddle holder and locking straps. Both are ingenious!


Okay, so eventually it was time to go have some fun at the OR show!!

The SUP tank was not too busy towards the end of the day once they started serving beer, so we checked out a couple of SUP’s (there was an entire room devoted just to the hundreds of SUP lines competing against each other)

and the new Oragami Kayak , made out of recorrugated plastic, folding up into a 26-pound bundle. Very clever!

The level of enthusiasm among the manufacturers seems to be at an all-time high. There is such a commitment to coming up with new, innovative, improved products for us kayakers.  We can’t thank the industry enough!

What happens at OR stays at OR?? Iced Shred Ready helmet serving up shots!