Prior to accepting my position here at Sea Kayaker magazine, I’d been doing event marketing and promotions in the snow sports industry for quite a few years. While there were many benefits to working in that industry, I found that I did not miss them after accepting my role here.
The vast majority of people that I have come in contact with in the kayaking community have obviously followed their passion for and have chosen a simpler and more fulfilling quality of life. As a group, they are the most loyal, trustworthy and honest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of doing business with. They are grounded and have their priorities in order; it shows in every aspect of their lives.
, one of my current advertisers and someone I’m fortunate enough to call a friend, once told me a story that I thought summed up the character of people in the sea kayaking industry.
Several years ago Wayne was at the West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium
. In addition to the products he was selling at his booth, Wayne also had brought a brand new paddle to the symposium. The paddle had just arrived on the market and few people had seen it. It was a top-of-the-line paddle that everyone would want. You know the kind I am talking about, the paddle that retards aging, cures male pattern baldness, causes weight loss and makes your breakfast all at the same time. A friend of Wayne’s was giving a lecture at the symposium and mentioned this paddle in his talk. One of the people attending the lecture asked about the paddle and was pointed in Wayne’s direction.
What happens next is just a great example of the type of person I often find in the kayaking community. The attendee and his wife approached Wayne about the paddle. They liked the paddle and asked Wayne if they could buy it. They agreed to a price for the paddle, but then the couple discovered they had enough cash to cover the purchase, but they’d be left without any spending money for the remainder of the weekend. Wayne just said, “Listen, when you get home, send me a check.”
I don’t think you’d see this kind of transaction in the snow sports industry. When Wayne got home a few days later, a check was waiting for him in his mailbox.
This story is not unique in our industry, but it’s a great example of the type of people on both the industry and the consumer sides of our community. We are all part of the same lifestyle and we are all affected equally by how business is being conducted. There has always been a friendly and honorable business ethic in our industry and I think that courtesy has attracted many people to this sport. There have been a lot of changes in the business in the years that I’ve been working here, but the integrity of people like Wayne and the couple who bought the paddle is something that we need to preserve.