Outdoor Retailer 2012

The doors of The Salt Palace have finally closed, but not without first acting as a gateway for the throngs of people entering into Outdoor Retailer, the metropolis-sized industry event showcasing the newest products and ideas geared toward the outdoor market. The event included numerous additions to the sport of kayak angling, many of which speak to the current and forecasted trends related to the lifestyle and cultural aspects of the sport. By gazing upon the multitude of products geared to the kayak angler, one can deduce many things about where our particular group of water enthusiasts is headed.

Prolific in numbers and diverse in offerings, the waterproof case, and its associated mounting hardware, was an item indicative to the notion that kayak anglers are making the need for safe and reliable transport of tablet computers, smart phones, and other multimedia electronic devices. Perhaps a new wave of blogging and trip reporting is on the horizon, but it is quite clear that practitioners of our sport are wanting to film and document more than ever. This should come as no surprise, however; kayak anglers have always been a sharing lot. If the winds of suggestion are indeed blowing true, our online resources are about to blossom in ways that can truly better the experience for many of us, be it through an increased number of instructional videos or simply more pictures aimed at generating stoke on blown out and windless days.

A trend stretching beyond the tangible, and one that speaks to the relationships between manufacturer and angler, is the one related to the way that companies are paying close attention to the voices of their customers. Many products, and especially those related to kayak rigging, stem from suggestions and comments given to the manufacturers by those seeking improvement and change. Numerous were the claims that displayed products were built after anglers called, wrote, or posted forum bulletins. It has often been said within these pages that we are part of a small but rapidly growing sport. The fact that we can steer the material side of our world really illustrates the tight and powerful bond that we all have with this, our chosen activity and lifestyle.

Inflatable vessels, fishing-specific stand up boards, and short, light, and nimble craft were all in abundance at OR. What adventures stem from the arrival of said items is uncertain, but it can logically be deduced that anglers may indeed be heading for waters sitting off of the popular path. Far flung, hike-in only lakes, and coves sitting far from asphalt parking lots, may indeed be venues in which we find new ways to interact with our sport. Add to this phenomenon the ability to securely send from the field suggestions to manufacturers and video to forum mates, and a new era of growth becomes quite possible.

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