Summer is always full of travel for the Darby Comm team, and August was no exception. We packed our bags and ventured West, landing in Oklahoma City for the 2nd Annual Paddlesports Retailer (PSR) tradeshow. Our goal: connect with media to share the latest and greatest from Old Town Canoe & Ocean Kayak.
To kick things off, we planned a first-of-its-kind Sunrise Paddle & Pedal, inviting specific media to join us on the historic Bricktown Canal for a morning adventure. Here are a few takeaways from our time in OKC:
1. Collaboration is key
Planning and implementing a media event can be a bit of a challenge. In fact, it took no less than six entities (Johnson Outdoors, Oklahoma CVB, OKC Kayak, Bricktown Watertaxi, PSR, and Darby Comm) to get the Sunrise Paddle & Pedal up and running. Through a collaborative approach the event went swimmingly, and we enjoyed a morning paddle winding through the heart of OKC’s Bricktown district.
Part history tour, part boat demo, the event presented an opportunity for media to demo new Old Town & Ocean Kayak boats in a low key, urban setting. Topped off with fun conversation over some delicious breakfast burritos, it’s safe to say everyone left happy.
2. Relationship building is what we do best
Ultimately, our job is about building lasting relationships. The sunrise paddle offered an opportunity for us to connect with media personnel away from our screens. Nothing beats a face to face conversation- swapping stories about life, hobbies, and that secret fishing spot just north of town.
Connections like these last, and we work hard to foster them. Sure enough, just a few days after the event Old Town & Ocean Kayak coverage started rolling in.
3. OKC…a surprising paddling powerhouse?
With little knowledge of OKC, we were pleasantly surprised when we touched down in the home of Russell Westbrook’s Thunder to learn that it boasts some paddle sports chops. The brand new RIVERSPORT Rapids Whitewater Center was a site to behold as participants in PSR’s demo day strapped on their helmets, grabbed a new kayak/raft/SUP/inflatable couch (this ended exactly how you’d expect) and got after the class IV rapids. Adjacent to the center, participants were able to paddle and pedal new boats on the flat waters of the Oklahoma River.
4. Fishing kayaks are here to stay
Between appointments we walked the show floor observing new trends in the industry. While high-end canoes are making a comeback, and foldable kayaks continue to evolve, it’s clear that fishing kayaks’ popularity is growing.
Whether they're paddled or pedaled, fishing kayaks allow anglers to reach fishable areas that bass boats just can’t get to. We weren’t the only ones who noticed this trend….media buzz swirled around Old Town’s booth throughout the show as they unveiled their brand new Topwater Series. Designed for large kayak fishing performance in a compact, nimble format the Topwater Series is available in three distinct models: the Topwater 106, 120, and PDL. There’s never been an easier time to get started in kayak angling, and the Topwater Series provides a fully equipped, highly maneuverable, and easy to transport option for the new or experienced kayak angler.
All and all it was a successful trip and we look forward to heading back to OKC next year!