Let’s just call that a lot of paddlewear.
Canada’s Level Six celebrated its whopping 25th anniversary on October 8, officially launching its big bash at the Paddlesports Show in Lyon, France, with a booth party, 300 custom made beers, a new logo, 25th anniversary collection and more. It also sent all of its top tier athletes special packages with branded apparel, stickers with the new logo and other promo material—all sharing the slow reveal the company pushed on its Facebook page and other outlets. The athletes are also each doing some content on what Level Six means to them and sharing it with others in the paddling community.
“Level Six is officially 25 years old and we are taking this opportunity to re-brand our logo and have it represent what Level Six has become vs what Level Six used to be all about,” says founder and president Stig Larsson.
The Canadian paddlesports apparel company was born on the slalom World Cup circuit by two friends with the vision to redesign and rethink how paddling gear is made. It started from very humble beginnings in the back of a van selling shorts and t-shirts to paddlers along World Cup circuit stops. Since those early days, it’s grown to be the leader in paddlesports apparel and equipment.
“I always heard my parents say, “Time flies when you are having fun,” but honestly this has been the case from day one when Level Six was started,” says Larsson. “This isn’t to say it hasn’t been a lot of work, but even through the toughest of times the work still had an element of fun to it, trying to solve problems and navigate your way through the world of business.”
The company does its part to contribute to waterway conservation across the globe to keep waterways clean and open to paddlers now and in the future. It also strives to help build and support paddling communities “to spread the joy that life on the water brings us.”
“Our mission is to provide all paddlers with a passion and confidence in the gear they are using,” says Larsson. “I consistently hear the phrase “work smarter not harder.” But if you can work harder and smarter you have a shot at surviving in the world of business. All this to say, if you find passion in what you do every day all of the work and sacrifices really don’t feel like these things. I am so lucky to have found something that I love to do every day and I am lucky that others appreciate the designs and company that is Level Six.”
“Like all paddlers,” he adds, “our values lie at the heart of our sports – the water.”
Watch celebratory 25th Video from Level Six video here:
A lasting legacy and social/environmental footprint
“We want our community to believe in us as a modern innovator of water sports products that is equally appealing to all genders and all levels of enthusiasm” says Larsson. “This new logo represents the river that flows through everyone, encouraging us to do our best for our communities and our planet.”
On the environmental front, it has committed 1% of its sales towards Watershed Conservation, while also mitigating our environmental impact by increasingly using recycled materials in our products and packaging, eliminating poly bags from 95% of its products, and significantly reducing the use of materials made from petroleum sources. More recently, it invested in a fully operational repair facility to repair and up-cycle its products, including complicated latex gasket repair and seam tape replacement. “We see this as a major milestone in our sustainability initiatives, as well as a commitment to our customers who support and believe in our vision,” says Larsson.
We have also renewed our social commitment by establishing a Youth Scholarship Program that allows underprivileged youth to experience paddle sports. We then expanded our social leadership initiatives to become one of the first paddle sport brands to support programs like Project Canoe and Hudson River Riders to help bring diversity and inclusiveness into the outdoors.
In speaking about the company’s social and environmental actions, COO Kevin Cook highlights their efforts to reduce waste and use more recycled materials throughout the product line, while also investing in diversity and inclusiveness in paddlesports through the company’s Youth Scholarship Program. “From our in-house repair facilities that keep useful items out of landfills to opening up new doors to underprivileged youth who wouldn’t normally have a chance to experience the sport of kayaking, I’m proud of the brand Level Six has become and I look forward to initiating even more change in our community going forward,” he says.
Level Six has a 25-year history of grassroots innovation and out-of-the-box thinking that has contributed to their positioning as a leader in the water sports community. From design and development to product life cycle management and community support, it’s worked tirelessly to embrace river culture and create a brand that paddlers can believe in and trust.”
The Level Six company in a nutshell
Level Six was formed during a winter training camp in Costa Rica by two Canadian World Cup paddlers who were frustrated with the lack of a unified culture around paddlesports and unsatisfied with the designs on the market at that time. The foundation grew from bold design ideas that made sense without compromising quality, function, and style from those two relatively immature paddlers. They felt that the current industry leaders were not embracing the river culture that was forming, and realized that paddlers needed a brand to believe in.
What began from selling board shorts and simple paddling gear from the back of a van at local river events, Level Six has grown over the last twenty-five years, gaining shelf space at local and then national and international retailers. Over these years the brand has evolved into a river-culture movement and, as new ways to experience the water evolved, it has become known as a key brand for experiencing life on the water.
As Level Six matured and grew, so did its understanding of our impact as a global company on the community that we belong to. Commitment to our ethics and values has led Level Six to create a respectful, inclusive, and supportive culture both internal to the company and across the watersports community. It operates through a positive model of social and environmental responsibility and undertake commitments to support these values.
“Looking back at the past 25 years, our history of grassroots innovation and out-of-the-box thinking has contributed to our brand development,” says Larsson. “The transformation from a small, naive company to our current and future trajectory has led to the realization that it was time for our logo to catch up with the company we have become. We want our community to believe in us as a modern innovator of watersports products that is equally appealing to all genders and all levels of enthusiasm. We want a logo that can stand alone and visually represent the river that flows through us to encourage us to do our best for our communities and our planet. We’re extremely proud of the brand we have become and look forward to initiating even more change in our community in the years to come.
Read more about Level Six here:
Info (and gear!): https://www.levelsix.com