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Editorial


ALL WORK, NO PLAY. PHOTO: NEIL WRIGHT


SHIFTING GEAR


It was pitch black when the plane finally landed, but I knew exactly what was waiting just beyond the darkness. As we taxied across the tarmac to the gate, the pilot’s voice mur-


mured over the intercom, telling passengers that we were now on Mountain Time. I set my wristwatch and stared out the tiny win- dows, tracing the Wasatch Mountains in the night sky, slopes hinting that steep whitewater wasn’t far. I knew that Great Salt Lake was right behind us, free of corrosion-wary powerboaters and tempting to powerboat-wary paddlers. But that’s not why I’d come. Salt Lake City in August—when every year some 25,000 people


sporting quick-dry nylon, wrap-around sunglasses and Teva tans descend on the city for Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. Tink Comic-Con or the Detroit International Auto Show, only for dirt- bags and gearheads. Manufacturers, associations, athletes, outfitters, retailers, writers,


photographers—a veritable who’s who of the outdoor industry—at- tend the event to reconnect with the community, share accomplish- ments over a drink or two and get the skinny on what’s in store for the upcoming year. As tough as it was to forget about the forgone paddling opportunities, I was in Salt Lake as a conventioneer. When meeting boaters on the water at festivals each season, pad-


dlers unfamiliar with our magazines ask what they’re all about. With titles like Canoeroots, Adventure Kayak and Rapid, the short answer seems painfully obvious. My more in depth explanation usually sounds something like, “We tell you how to paddle, where to paddle and what you need to go pad-


10 CAMPFIRE || Annual 2012


dling.” Te third axiom provides me with the perfect excuse to join the hoards in Salt Lake. Back at my desk as I settle into fall, the days are getting shorter


and I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that paddling season in the northeast is winding down. But as water temperatures drop, press releases flow freely and images of flashy new paddling gear keep thoughts of winter at bay. As if they know I need something to keep my head in the game, this is the time of year manufacturers squeeze every last inspiration out of design teams and scramble to get prototypes and production models ready to unveil for the 2012 paddling season. To put together Rapid Media’s first annual Paddling Buyer’s Guide,


we met with CEOs, designers, builders, marketers, pro paddlers and product testers to bring you the most comprehensive guide to the hot- test paddling gear for 2012. You’ll find insider info on the paddlesports industry, paddling


trends and how to buy the right boats and gear inside this year’s guide. We also selected your favorite columns from Canoeroots & Family Camping, Adventure Kayak and Rapid to give readers a taste of what we’re all about. Someday I’ll land in Salt Lake City for a paddling trip and leave the


hotels and conventions to the folks downtown. Still, I can’t help but admit there’s something irresistible about setting aside one trip a year to hang out with the industry community for some pints and an exclu- sive sneak peek, even if it means leaving my own paddle back home. Don’t feel too badly for editor Michael Mechan. After the big show he gets to test all the new stuff.


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