I get my monthly SGB (Sporting Goods Business) magazine and in the back near the cheap seats is a section on Twitters and Bloggers to watch. I quote:
"The writer of Canoe Lover (sic) owns a canoe and kayak shop in Wisconsin and is a lifelong member of the outdoor industry. His blog offers everything from insights on the latest paddling and camping equipment to personal recommendations on the best recipe for on-the-go cocoa."
Not one mention of odonates. Not a single one. Not even a Saffron Meadowhawk (Sympetrum costiferum).
Okay, editors of Sporting Goods Business. I want you to clarify that I rarely write about gear. I'll write about weird stuff that strikes me as interesting. I will write about gear, but only if the gear is more exciting that the actual experience. Believe me, that happens sometimes (I got an MSR Reactor Stove and my other dozen camp stoves quaked in fear of obsolescence). But what is more exciting that this?
Yep. Canoelover (r.) explains the basics of kayak fit to a woman (l.) who has never sat in a kayak before, ever. Fifty-something women came to the shop a few weeks ago as part of a local radio station's "Girl's Night Out" program they put on regularly. About half of them had been in canoes before, but only a handful of them had sat in a kayak.
Notice no one is going over a waterfall. No one is drinking Red Bull. There is no deathmetal soundtrack. Just me and a nice young woman discussing kayaking. That, gentle readers, is so much more exciting that another death-defying stunt by overly-caffeinated dude-speakers with fifty-three piercings and tattoos of Chinese characters across their shoulders.
It's more exciting because this young woman got pretty juiced about kayaking, and eventually will become part of our paddling family. The people who see the kayak-over-waterfall stunt are as likely to buy a kayak as they would a motorcycle after seeing Evel Kneivel jump over 20 school buses.
Gear's cool and everything...I'm a bit of a gear junkie myself. I might even be considered a pusher given my position as a specialty retailer. Don't misunderstand; I love to sell the right equipment to the proper person.
That said, I'd rather have someone else do gear reviews. I'd rather talk about the actual paddling part. Getting a new paddle is cool...but helping to create a new paddler...way cooler.