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Epic Dealer Conference 2014

An Epic weekend.

 

The 2014 European Dealer Conference held in Tarifa last weekend promised much. Primarily the launch of the eagerly awaited V7 (Epics first plastic rotomolded ski) and also the first viewing of the new Epic clothing range. As an extra teaser we were also to be shown a presentation from an electronics/software company who had designed a paddler friendly product.

 

The dealer conferences have changed over the past few years. At the first one we all went to some 4 or 5 years ago now there were lots of “issues” to sort out. Product issues, quality issues and questions that dealers needed answering, it was very much information traffic flowing into the company. Since then the situation has almost totally reversed, sure there are still suggestions heading Epics way but now these are no longer design and quality issues, they are suggestions to local variations according to our specific market needs and wish lists for future products. The positivity that comes from having virtually no quality issues since our Chinese factory visit a few years back is infectious.

 

Epic is turning out high quality products with innovative design and continually trying to reach into the yet untapped areas of paddlesport where the next generation of ski fans will come from.

 

The V7 is just such a venture; the plastic construction will appeal to the recreational user and sea kayaker alike. Rental fleets become a real option and the base for entry-level ski paddling is widened even further than it was with the V8. I have written a piece on the V7 and its performance in another article so I wont double up here. But suffice to say I don’t think a single dealer left the weekend without ordering their own batch, it was just a no-brainer. This ski has Epic quality at basement prices.

 

The clothing range, as with all other Epic products is not made with compromise. It is high end beautifully made kit in partnership with Vaikobi. Not the same old same old but a well thought out range of paddling kit. The fabrics are a combination of a light, perforated neoprene used in various strategic places in differing quantities depending on the range, (there are hot and cold ranges). The perforations prevent the overheating of full neoprene but still keep the cold out. Entire backside areas with no seams, high backs on the trousers and shorts, and spandex instead of lycra which gives better expansion qualities and higher resistance to UV damage. The cold gear spandex is fleece lined, the warm gear is not. The branding is striking and it is some of the best-looking kit I have seen. With no compromise comes high prices, yes you can buy a set of lycra shorts in a running shop but just imagine a paddlers arse without all those cuts and bruises…..surely that is worth paying for even if it is buying them for your girlfriend! As yet we have no definite pricing but this stuff is going to be top end I think. Having tried them though I will certainly be getting some. Watch this space!!

 

The electronic wizardry was courtesy of a company from Israel. They explained they had a monitor that fitted on the paddle (similar size to the stroke rate counters seen recently) and fed information to the interface, displayed on your iphone held in a cradle on the front deck. Listing the stuff this thing would monitor sounded like pie in the sky and to be fair at this stage I was smelling BS. Then came the demo……. In real time this gizmo not only measured stroke rate but also distance per stroke, speed, showed a graphic of an aerial view of the strokes which was accurate enough to show the smallest asymmetry. It showed what angle the paddle was under the water, whether it had been put in the water square, the side view graphic of the stroke was unreal, highlighting the inneficiencies within each stroke. It could tell you how stable you are and how much the boat rocks and pitches. Believe me this thing is bloody genius!!! The possibilities with this are endless, self help technique…it can actually give you verbal feedback as you paddle!! You can download “perfect” techniques into it  from other paddlers and get the thing to give you cues as you paddle to try to emulate this. Basically there is just too much to write down. The software is ready, the hardware is currently being refined for the market but will all be ready in the Spring. I will keep you informed!

 

At present this will only be available for iphone users (so I am changing my phone at the earliest opportunity) but this product blows all the Garmins and stroke counters out of the water. 

 

Form an orderly queue!!!!

 

So that was the meat of the conference, everything else was social and/or antisocial. Tarifa as always came up with the goods, great food,  great accommodation and great downwind paddling and probably the most exciting product launches since the breadknife!!

 

 

 

 


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