Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sweet! Jumping at a chance to teach

Well how bout that!? What an honor, being asked to lead a seminar discussion at Washington Water Trails' Annual Winter Seminar on February 7th & 8th. It's humbling to be a part of this featured list of paddling luminaries!*

I first titled the session "How to get what you want from your local paddlesports specialty shop... without pissing anyone off". Somehow that title didn't work on a public forum, so while the content of the discussion stays the same, the official title speaks of karma and goodwill.

Since joining this happy industry a few years ago under the watchful training of m'man Charles Graves, I've grown passionate about the need for paddlers to buy local... not because it's good for the economy and oh my, what about that poor local businessman, no not so much. More so because it builds our paddling community. For every paddle, skirt or dry suit we order on line because we save a few bucks on a "no tax, free shipping" deal, a piece of our community's soul goes away. Every time that same piece of gear gets purchased from a local dealer, it gives that dealer a chance to expand the services they offer. Essentially, by buying local, we buy back a little of that soulful lifestyle that makes our favorite paddle shop our favorite place to go hang out.

Of course, it's a two-way street. The shop needs to start out being a place you want to go hang out. They need to be open when you need them, responsive to your special requests, and open to serve every level of paddler with products, classes, and groups that keep everyone safe and excited about going on the water. We'll get into that too, so I'm hoping we can get a few shop owners in the crowd.

This seminar is in its 4th year and keeps growing and getting more interesting every year. Come on out, support WWTA's mission of conservation and access to our favorite paddling places, and learn a bundle while you're there. If you can't make it, I hope you'll shoot me an email or just comment here on the blog with your thoughts about the topic. Any ideas, anecdotes or suggestions are welcome!

*Check out today's current list of presenters. What a rush, getting listed with these folks. Many thanks to WWTA for the opportunity to be a part of the fun!

Andy Bridge

Ken Campbell

Suzy Cornell

Annette Dong


George Gronseth

Dan Henderson

Wayne Horodowich

Karl Kohegan

Sarah Krueger

Dik Lang

Gary Luhm

Tim Mattson

Jeff Renner

Matthew Ross

Barb Sherill

Tim Walsh

Pat Welle

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