New Paddlesports Trade Coalition Formed


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Paddlesports Industry leaders announce formation of Paddlesports Trade Coalition

There’s a new voice coming to the paddlesports industry.

Paddlesports industry leaders gathered in Bentonville, Ark., January 25-27, for a leadership summit where the group approved the formation of a new national trade organization. The Paddlesports Trade Coalition will bring together manufacturers, distributors, sales representatives, retailers, and media to grow paddlesports in North America as well as monitor and engage in relevant federal and state legislation, water access issues, sustainability practices, and other matters related to the category.

“It is time for the paddlesports community to come together and have its own voice so we can expand our sport and make it more accessible and inviting to more people,” said Ed Vater, retired president of Aqua Bound – Bending Branches, and the moderator of the two-day summit.

The formation of the trade organization is nothing new. Back in paddling’s heyday, both the Trade Association of Sea Kayaking (TASK) as well as the Professional Paddlesports Association (PPA) both represented the interests of the industry. But with industry consolidation, market downsizing, an economic downturn and the sport flatlining, those associations soon disappeared. Now the time is right to form one again.

Along with the unanimous vote to form the coalition, a steering committee was created that will prepare a formal draft proposal for the formation of the coalition and undertake the initial steps in formalizing the organization.

The organization has defined “paddlesports” to include all modes of human and electric-powered personal watercraft including canoes and kayaks as well as SUP (stand-up paddle), pedal drives and the growing electric-drive powered personal watercraft.

The summit attracted representatives from 30 paddlesports brands and manufacturers and was sponsored by Visit Bentonville, the local tourism bureau, and Runway Group, a holding company making investments in real estate, outdoor initiatives, hospitality, and businesses committed to making Northwest Arkansas the best place to live.

“Thanks to Bentonville for hosting us and giving us a venue for our industry to come together and create the foundation for the future of paddlesports in North America,” said Scott Holley, President of Eddyline.