Hello.I just got back from the show and read some posts asking questions about O.R stuff and want to fill you in from our side. The show went very well, and yes, being in Salt Lake is a tough one. You get a lot done but no paddling for a week is painful. Lots of talking and the only boating is in a pool. Ouch.
A few new things from Dagger is our new play boat, The Agent, the new Rotomolded adjustable creek seat for the Nomad, and a new back band set up on existing boats. The Agent received great reviews for a few reasons. Mostly that we had nearly 250 people sit in the three sizes to ensure Dagger delivers the most comfortable play boat we have ever made. It is still in Proto so we made sure before it gets sent to have the mold cast. The 6.0, 6.2, and 6.4 fit a wide range of weights, inseams, and feet. The hull of the boat (as David Weber mentioned earlier) is different then our past boats with a dual edge, great planning area, a forgiving stern, and more volume around the hips and back all the while keeping the knee area reasonable for rolling ease. Plenty there for poppy loops but not so much that it is going to be a beast to roll. The deck lines on the bow received a lot of input from dealers. Each Agent boat model we had at OR had a different line then each other to see what people thought. Man, did we get some input. Some people love deck lines, some don't. The idea was to get as much input on the finished hull and volume distribution to make sure the padders have a boat they love. As I have come on board with Dagger my goal is to listen to the paddlers and produce a boat they want to paddle, not one that we just design with no consumer and dealer input and say "here you go, let's see what you think". I believe we should take our design knowledge but also listen to paddlers input to create a boat that is the most comfortable and forgiving design that outperforms and is dry. This brings me to the cockpit rim. In the past Dagger boats have had some water that comes in around the skirt at times. We have found a new cockpit rim design that has hands down helped resolve the issue. Finally, super dry boat. As an example the new Agent has this rim as well as no holes in the boat below water line. The differenceIt is incredible . Something I am pretty stoked about moving forward.
Another bonus for the creekers this year is the new adjustable rotomolded creek seat with HUGE, HUGE, HUGE stern access. Again, an example that we are listening to what paddlers want. The Nomad has been very popular for a few years now but there was one reoccurring comment we heard. "I love my Nomad but man it sucks to try and get anything behind the seat" Done. This seat is the bomb. It has kiss offs that run up the center to give it even more strength, is adjustable, easy stern access, and has an extra thick seat pad for a cushy ride that will be nice when you take big hits under your bottom. A great boat just got better. Plus the seat itself is so comfortable. I can hear the questions now. "Will we be able to buy the new seat and put it in out current Nomads?" To be honest, I don't know yet.
And as for the back band, the new one is sweet. Pull adjustment, perfect support and strength, new webbing instead of elastic attachment, this thing is a major improvement. Combined that in the Nomad with the new seat and it is so nice. In the Agent it offers the same support but is now a lot stronger and will last and wear a lot longer.
The Rx, Mamba, and Kingpin will continue on as they have been very popular boats. They will be upgraded with the new outfitting as well.
And in other news we were excited at O.R to announce two new programs. One is "Kayaks for a Cause". This is going to be our charitable contributions through kayaking for causes. Each year we will take suggestions and input from paddlers and select a charity to help others. Current boats will be customized in limited edition series and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to these charities. As a collective voice we will make a difference through kayaking and kayaks.
And the last big news is our program affiliation with American Whitewater. Although we have been involved with A.W for many years our partnership will now be as the ambassadors to promoting and educating on river safety. Over the past year and a half I have been designing a program to keep paddlers safer and offer it at little to no charge. The one day Swift Water Essentials courses will be designed to educate paddlers and help in keeping them safe. I have noticed over the past few years that fewer paddlers know the basics or have even used a throw rope for that matter. The Dagger Safety Initiative (D.S.I) is designed to educate existing paddlers and to make the sport more appealing to those that might be nervous to try paddling at all. "Don't be afraid to try" is our belief and we are very excited at the opportunity to give paddlers the tools to educate and to be American Whitewater's partner in this endeavor.
So O.R was very productive this year. Not only in showing the direction of kayaking but allowing us the opportunity to join forces and make a difference. Look forward to seeing you at Gore Canyon and the Gauley Fest!