Kanumesse in Nürnberg September 18-20
My cooperation with Seabird Designs is over – our views on quality, customers and service differ too much.
These large expos are often a mix of good and bad. Good is new contacts, renewal of old, new and exciting gadgets and products, an overwhelming view of the state of the business, while decidedly bad are are the dry air and the intrucive background noice in bad acoustics, too many encounters where lack of a common language prevents interesting discussions and now and then over-ambitious vendors with well-rehearsed sales pitch – and of course the odd exhibitor, beliving that musik from a turned-up loudspeaker will cover up for the lack of news and enthusiasm.
After three intense days at Kanumesse i Nürnberg, it was nice to come home to my quiet den.
(Photo: Vitek Jindrle)
I helped out in the Seabird stand – probably the biggest and one of the most elegant and spacious – mainly to tell about the development, technique and use of the kayaks I desinged for the company: among other Black pearl, Qanik, Wave and Salt.
Just in time for opening the first Wave5.5 (a stable surfski for those who does not feel at home in the narrow competition models) and Salt 51 (a fast training and touring kayak designed to the international touring boat rules) arriver by airfreight fronm China – both exceptionally well built and with a finish that would have justified double the selling price.
I had the feeling that Black Pearl, Qanik, Wave and Salt for many of the visitors were among the most interesting news on an expo that otherwise were quite lame in innovation and news. Some new ideas were to be found, e.g. a sit-on-top freestyle kayak (just a scale model yet). But often the news were simply updates on existing products: new colors and graphics, or a kayak rooftop carrier with slighly lowered wind resistance and wind noice (Thule) or a 50 gram lighter paddle (Robson). And of course some rather freakish products: what about a bike attached to two inflatable pontoons and with a propellor instead of wheels – for whom and why?
One of the more exciting innovations I found in Greenland Kayaks stand: traditional SOF:s with a new twist – a silicon-treated combination of cotton, Dynema and Cordura , where the cooton provides look and feel, the Dymena strength and the Cordura durability. The material allows elegant sewn-in hatches, pockets for pump and other gadgets, and printed graphics. An elegant development of an old concept.
A different deck view (Photo: Vitek Jindrle)
Another bright idea is Sealectdesigns deck plates. They look like the Beckson pry-out plates, that many builders use on the strip kayaks, but with a smart lever for opening. Available in black and white and with the lid in smooth, clear or textured, and in 6" and 8" sizes.
I came home with a few samples of Keel-Eazy: a self-adhesive, durable keel protection tape for use on most hull materials, including wood strip (here is a test). I will apply them to my Black Pearl and Njord and will report back.
A large portion of the expo was spent on SUP (stand up paddling) – a kind of activity that, with the help of tremendous marketing is catching on. It is promoted like this: suits old and young, a health promotimng sport in fantastic environments, a fantastic way to enjoy nature, a chaleenge to master new skills, improved balance, less stress, excercises muscles that protect vital, social interaction etc. To me this could be attached to a great variety of activiteies – not the least kayak paddling. Yeah, that is perhaps fine, but it doesn´t do anything for me...
Of course the expo sported a quite big inddor pool, where most of the time something was going on: demos of equipment or crafts, testing of SUP-boards and the like. On monday afternoon I donned my tuiliq and showed the Black pearl LV there. Since there has been some show rolling through the years (e-g by Freya last year) I tried instead to talk about and show how handy, comfortable, easily controlled and manoevered a small responsive Greenland style kayak can be for paddling, bracing and rolling. I believe it was appreciated, since the south of Germany is an orthodox whitewater district, and that for many visitors the Greenland style paddling still was new and exciting.
(Photo: Peter Sandström)
(Photo: Vitek Jindrle)
Slooooooow roll with control (Photo: Peter Sandström)
A buyer from a Spanish distributor tries out the Discovery
As usual I came home with a stack of business cards and folders and I may find reasons to write more, when I sorted out the goodies...