Last weekend marked another outstanding Canoecopia. While some might just consider this a consumer trade show, it’s much more than that to me. Here are my top 5 reasons to love Canoecopia:
- It’s the annual early season family reunion for paddlers . Friends you haven’t seen in months and some that you only see once a year come together to celebrate a new season on the water.
- The speakers are amazing. More than 180 presentations from over 100 speakers showcase a vast knowledge base. The experiences they share from stunning destinations around the globe are mind-blowing. Greek Islands, the Kongakut River emptying out in the Arctic Ocean, 50 plus foot tidal range in the Bay of Fundy, and South Haven, Michigan…each has it’s own beauty and a story to tell.
- While we’re on the topic, I am truly honored to have been selected as a speaker again this year. Personally, the event becomes more fun each time I attend. This year was my fifth year presenting. Friday I shared exercises from Power to the Paddle and Sunday introduced guests to ideas to perfectly pack their kayak for a multi-day trip.
- Clubs, not-for-profits, symposium organizers, National Parks, small grassroots companies, and others are featured in the lobby and have a free opportunity to meet the public and spread their mission. One of the newer booths in the lobby was The Outdoor Kind. John and Jan Van Barriger founded the company whose products and programs help support safety education and provide funding to North America’s first responders in rural areas.
- It’s a 250,000 square feet paddler’s toy store. Whitewater, sea kayaks, canoes, surf skis, SUPs, and all the accessories you need, and a few that you did know you needed can be found here. Because all the inventory is Rutabaga’s own and repped by the manufacturers (like Werner), every dollar spent helps keep a small, local shop in business. Online shopping is great for some things, but try stopping in at Amazon’s warehouse to check out a product or ask them to do a repair. Support your local shop, wherever they are.
If you’ve attended Canoecopia, I’m sure you will agree. If you haven’t attended yet, I hope to see you in 2019!