Northwest Marine Trade Association Acquires Northwest Paddling Festival

Posted: January 7, 2014

SEATTLE – The Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) is pleased to announce it has acquired the Northwest Paddling Festival, the region’s largest and most popular paddle sports consumer event, from Paddle Events LLC.

The Northwest Paddling Festival, started by Paddle Events in May 2011, has quickly grown to become the premier event for paddle sports enthusiasts to view, test and purchase the latest paddle sports equipment from the region’s largest retailers and industry manufacturers as well as view demonstrations and hear presentations from experts and take on-water tours. Last year, nearly 1,000 paddling enthusiasts attended the festival. The event also includes the Northwest Paddling Challenge, a six-mile race for kayakers, standup paddleboarders and outriggers that routinely attracts some of the best paddling talent in the region.

“We are absolutely thrilled to add the Northwest Paddling Festival to our lineup of events and programs to grow boating in the Pacific Northwest,” said George Harris, NMTA president. “Paddling is a passion for thousands of boaters in our region, and the Festival is a wonderful venue to grow the sport. There is no other event in the region this large bringing together the paddle sports community.”

The 2014 Northwest Paddling Festival is scheduled for Saturday, May 10, at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, Wash., site of the event since 2012. The one-day public is preceded by a day of industry training offered by paddle sports manufacturers to area retailers and their employees to familiarize themselves with the latest products on the market.

“The Northwest Paddling Festival has grown to provide Puget Sound residents the ability to meet with all of the major paddle sports industry manufacturers and to try innovative new products all on one beach,” says Greg Whitaker of Paddle Events LLC. “With standup paddleboarding (SUP) exploding around the world, we are seeing more excitement and participation in paddle sports than we have in the last decade. With the skilled staff and experience the NMTA brings to the table, we feel the show will continue to grow and evolve to provide the Pacific Northwest an even better experience at the Paddling Festival.”

NMTA is the largest regional marine trade group in the U.S., representing more than 700 businesses involved in recreational boating. It produces the Seattle Boat Show in late January/early February each year – the largest boat show on the West Coast.

The acquisition of the Northwest Paddling Festival follows recent efforts by the Seattle-based trade group to widen its footprint within the industry.

In 2011, NMTA expanded its support of the super yacht segment of the industry when it established a Super Yacht Committee aimed at promoting the region’s world class cruising waters to yacht captains, and began work to expand Washington State’s cruising permit to reduce heavy taxes on visiting boaters. Since that time, NMTA has promoted the region at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, and NMTA members and staff has been named to the U.S. Super Yacht Association’s board of directors.

With the acquisition of the Northwest Paddling Festival, NMTA leaders are looking to grow its involvement in the paddle sports segment of the industry as well. A new NMTA Paddling Committee has been created that includes leaders of Paddle Events. The Paddling Committee will oversee and provide guidance to NMTA staff in producing the Northwest Paddling Festival. The Paddling Committee will also discuss issues and regulations important to paddle sports businesses and their customers so that NMTA grows to become a voice for that segment of boating as well.

“NMTA represents the boating interests of everything from standup paddle boards to super yachts,” said Harris. “As we look to the future of boating, paddle sports will continue to serve as a major gateway to introduce people to the water.”
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