Wednesday 9 October 2013

Messe'n Around in Nuremberg

Rob & I returned earlier this week from a whistle stop tour to Nuremberg in Germany where we visited the annual Kanumesse show. It's the biggest paddle sports expo in Europe and presented us with a golden opportunity to catch up with our mates from Valley, Tiderace, Rockpool, NRS, Reed & Epic, as well a bunch of other mates we didn't realise we had!
Hansel & Mercel
Nuremberg itself is a beautiful city, steeped in both mythical ancient lore, and more sinister recent history as the host of the Nazi Rallies.
On arriving we spent a perfect autumn day strolling the car-less old city, eating sausages and stopping every hour or so for another varietal German beer in a street side bar, checking out the castle, the cathedrals, the quaint little river that winds through town, and generally playing the cultured Aussie tourist. 
Cultured Aussie tourists, or Brothers Grimm, complete with security blankets.
We got a chance to check out the infamous rally grounds as well as the comprehensive display in the Document Centre detailing the rise & fall of the Third Reich. 
The scene of the Nuremberg Rallies
If you can imagine mixing the pure delight of experiencing a fairytale European town in beaming sunshine with the sombre realisation of what was effectively created here prior to WW2, you'd come close to understanding the emotions Nuremberg can generate in a visitor.  It's quite something coming from the sheltered southern hemisphere, to stand on the very spot where something so vicious was hatched & let loose on the good people of Europe, including I suppose the good people of Germany.
Rob ponders the display highlighting the darker history of Nuremberg
Luckily, there is a lot of beer available. Did I mention the little street side bars...? German beer is amazing.
The Kanumesse show itself was an absolute hoot. Even though it's pretty big, we wondered how we could possibly spend three full days wandering through the displays, but so detailed were the meetings & appointments we had booked in that it was barely enough time.
The NRS guys walked us through their entire set for the coming season, with some streamlining of their range & some new lightweight paddle wear that will be perfect for our warmer weather.
Chris Reed & his merry bunch of minstrels have a huge display, with Geoff from Karitek showing off Mick MacRobb's Flat Earth sails front & centre on a Rockpool boat, with his newly re-modelled rudder skeg pumping away like a stamping battery. 
The new Rockpool paint job, dubbed 'Concept' was also on the Karitek stand creating quite a stir. We got to catch up with the innovative Mr Rockpool, Mike Webb, for a good chat on the second arvo.
Chris treated us to dinner on the first evening, you can imagine how it was a sombre affair with little humour, long periods of uncomfortable silence and hardly any beer. If Chris ever asks you out for a feed, beware!
The Reed Chillcheater Roadshow, with Karitek, Northern Lights & KeelEazy, a great bunch of guys!
We spent a good few hours talking boats & bollocks with Oscar Chalupsky from Epic, & met Boyan from the Tarifa Ski Centre. If you want to see what Boyan gets up to, Google one of his downwind videos! Oscar is a hilarious bloke to shoot the breeze, a legend if ever there was one but open minded enough to take in our thoughts on his kayaks. Keep your eyes out for the next big innovation from the Epic stable, it's a beauty!
Valley had a typically impressive display, and it was great for Rob to finally meet Pete & Jason & have a long chat about what's coming, and how they work. They're great fellas & continue to produce boats that wow our customers.
The industry night party was also a sombre affair, with little humour, long periods of uncomfortable silence and hardly any beer. How we managed to stay there until so frigging late in the night is beyond me, but Mr Williams from Tiderace is very persuasive. Suffice to say much boat discussion ensued amongst detailed analysis of spreadsheets and prismatic coefficient data. Seriously, it was no fun at all. 
Sombre times for Mark & Aled at the Industry Night (spreadsheets off camera)
Despite the FIFO nature of the trip, we had a fantastic time, and several big paddlesports brands are about to start flowing through our store over the coming weeks as a result of our extensive work filtering through the products relevant to us sea kayakers. Yes I hear you say, we did actually do some proper work while we were there, if you can call wandering through a hall packed to the rafters with unbelievable paddling bling, for three days, work. 
A sincere thanks to the organisers of the expo for hosting us so generously and to all of the paddle industry people we met who were just so damned nice.
Does anyone know where in Sydney I can buy some Witbier...?


  1. So glad you 2 didn't enjoy yourselves too much ;)

  2. Nice post Mark, but can you also tell us a bit about what's actually coming from folks like Valley, Tiderace, and Rockpool? Thanks.

  3. That would take a much longer blog post! Suffice to say all three are constantly hatching ideas for new directions in their boat designs. Many of them are under wraps for now while they are being tested & prototyped, and as you'd know if you've followed their ranges recently, the list of new designs from them over the past 12 months is pretty staggering. As soon as we're given the all clear to make the new things public, we'll let you know.


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