This month the Trade Association of Paddlesport (TAPS), a non-profit trade association that supports the paddling industry both domestically and abroad, celebrated its 25th anniversary of its West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium in soggy Port Townsend, WA while tropical storm Hannah helped inaugurate its counter-part in Clinton, NJ. Despite cold and blustery weather on both sides of the country, most participants came prepared to get wet. Ahh… the beauty of kayaking.
The following is run-down of both events.
West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium Celebrates its 25th anniversary.
TAPS hosted several hundred participants at its 25th Annual West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium (WCSKS) in Port Townsend, Wash., September 19-21, 2008. Amid the brisk northwest coast weather, more than 60 exhibitors, nearly 600 attendees and several volunteers gathered at the Fort Worden State Park to participate in paddling classes of all levels.
“Between the location, the organization and the enthusiasm of the instructors and volunteers, our 25th anniversary was a smashing success,” said Michael Pardy, executive director of TAPS. “Whether I was in the middle of a rolling class, watching the Reel Paddle Film Festival or listening about Jon Bowermaster’s adventures, it was wonderful to reunite with long time enthusiasts and connect with first time attendees as well. I am already looking forward to next year’s event.”
In addition to advanced classes, the festival also provided several beginner classes for novice paddlers who were interested in trying their hands at paddling and evening events for attendees who wanted to be exposed to and participate in paddling culture.
“As recent transplants to the Olympic Penninsula, my family and I came to the event as complete novices,” said John Barimo of Port Angeles, Wash. “We were quickly taken to the First Strokes class and were soon paddling up and down the shore in the provided demo boats. I think our family has found a new activity to keep us together in our leisure time.”
Those who exhibited and attended the event were greatly impressed by the organization and enthusiasm of the TAPS staff.
“The West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium was our west coast debut for the Suspenz Kayak Storage Racks and the best venue we could have chosen,” said Lauri Crowe, president of Suspenz Kayak Storage. “The sea kayak community is a friendly, knowledgeable and sophisticated group. We thank the many volunteers who made this symposium a successful experience for all and the attendees who gave us outstanding reviews. Suspenz will return next year and continue to support this outstanding event.”
To celebrate the 25th anniversary, participants took advantage of paddling classes, product demos and evening entertainment including the Reel Paddle Film Festival and a presentation by National Geographic writer and explorer, Jon Bowermaster.
Next year’s West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium will be held September 25-27, 2009 at Fort Worden State Park, in Port Townsend, Wash. More information, including class schedule and speakers for the event, will be posted to www.wcsks.org
Inaugural North East Canoe & Kayak Symposium Deemed a Success, Despite Stormy Weather from Tropical Storm Hanna.
In spite of rain and cold temperatures from Tropical Storm Hanna, TAPS hosted a three-day paddlesports festival September 5-7, 2008, at the Spruce Run Recreation Area in Clinton, N.J. Throughout the event, several dozen volunteers and vendors helped the nearly 175 attendees enjoy paddling seminars, new product demos, beach-side exhibits, fun evening activities and region-specific dinners.
“This year’s North East Canoe and Kayak Symposium was well supported by the local paddlesports community and first time paddlers alike,” said Michael Pardy, executive director of TAPS. “We were right on target with the event layout and organization of the event. Not to mention, the relationships that we built with the park, community and local businesses give us a great foundation in building next year’s event.”
In planning the festival, TAPS partnered with the Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce to attract attendees and vendors from New Jersey and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic States.
“The regional vendors that participated were thrilled to be involved at the ground level of this paddlesports festival,” said Suzanne Lagay, president of the Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce.
Even with wet weather conditions, exhibitors agreed the location of the North East Canoe and Kayak Symposium was excellent, the facilities were outstanding and the park was extremely cooperative with participants, staff and volunteers.
“I think the event has terrific potential to be a premier east coast event,” said Anne Maleady, retail director for REI. “The large beach and cove, easy access from major metro areas, great mix of boat demos, retailers and water events such as polo and skin on frame boats have us excited to come back next year.”
Next year’s North East Canoe and Kayak Symposium will be held Friday, Sept. 18 to Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009 at the Spruce Run Recreation Area in Clinton, N.J. Additional information will be made available at www.necanoeandkayak.org