Three months...thirty three states...100+ store visits. Follow the journey as the NuCanoe Frontier makes its way around the country.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Tour is Complete! Time for some R&R!

After 15,000+ miles, 75 days, and 33 states, the Nu Frontier Tour is complete!  Deanna & I are now off for a vacation….no cars, no phones, no hotels, no trailers, and, unfortunately, no Kobe.  We are taking a 7 day cruise from Miami to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Roatan, & Belize City.  We are certainly looking forward to some rest & relaxation!

We posted a few Frontier videos this morning that detail the Gear Vault, Universal Seat Bases, Freedom Track, and Crate Space.  We’ll have more pics & videos to post upon our return!

Have a great week!
Blake & Deanna

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Loop Through Florida

Well, I didn't do a good job keeping the blog and schedule up-to-date during the Florida leg of the Nu Frontier Tour, but it was a success nonetheless!

Our first stop came during the Thanksgiving weekend at Sunjammers in Panama City Beach, FL.  Brad squeezed us in to his busy weekend, but he didn’t except our visit to take long.  Upon seeing the Frontier in person, his interest grew with everything he learned.  Within an hour, Brad was excited to become the NuCanoe dealer for NW Florida!  We’re glad to have Sunjammers on the NuCanoe team!

Sunday afternoon we drove through some serious rain storms en route to Jacksonville.  On Monday we made the rounds in Jacksonville, seeing All Wet Sports, Black Creek Outfitters,and Strike Zone Hunting & Fishing.  All were impressed with the Frontier and saw it as a great boat for the Jacksonville area.  We are confident we’ll have a dealer in this area by next spring!

Tuesday we met briefly with Mike Kogan, organizer of the largest kayak fishing tournament in the country, the Jax Kayak Fishing Classic. Mike loved the boat and is eager to have NuCanoe back on board for the Classic.  And we think it’ll be the perfect venue for hundreds of kayak anglers to see and try the Frontier 12’!
In the afternoon we drove south to Sebastian, FL to meet with Mike & Kristin from the Florida Outdoor Center.  It is located with Captain Hiram’s resort in beautiful Sebastian.  Fortunately for us, they wanted to get out on the water for a full evaluation, so we got to enjoy the beach afternoon sun!  For the next hour, Mike, Kristin tried the Frontier in every way possible:  solo, tandem, standing, sitting, paddling, trolling, and more.  Mike was so impressed with the turning he took to slaloming through the pier pilings!  The conclusion?  The Frontier is a perfect fit for their rental business.

Tom from Kayaks by Bo contacted us about dealer opportunities a few months back.  Wednesday we were able to meet him and show him the Frontier.  It was a great stop!  I’m not sure who was more excited…Tom about the Frontier, or us about having Kayaks By Bo on the NuCanoe team.

We then dashed across the state to the Cape Coral to see Jory at Florida Paddlesports.  They are a new dealer, so it was great to meet them and show them the Frontier.  Business will certainly be growing in SW Florida in 2012!
The final weekend of the Nu Frontier Tour was well spent at the St. Pete Boat Show with West Coast Kayaks.  Jerry & Kate have a great story and are very enthusiastic about the brands they sell...which now includes NuCanoe.  We were able to fitness our first retail sale, as West Coast Kayaks pre-sold a Frontier to a gentlemen (pictured right) who had been waiting for the perfect boat.  He found it, and he'll be among the first Frontier owners in Florida!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Through the Red River Valley

Monday morning we left Fort Smith, AR en route to Beaver's Bend Getaways in Broken Bow, OK.  Being a bit futher south, the leaves were colorful and plentiful as we wound through the mountains.  We met with NuCanoe Dealer Joe Silk and his son, Isaac, and went to Beavers Bend Lake for a test paddle.  Both Joe & Isaac were impressed...particularly with the stability and the slide track.  (The only downside to our vist with them was that I got a few fire ant bites...leaving my foot itchy and swollen for a few days.)

The drive to Dallas took us over the ever-winding Red River as we crossed into Texas.  Monday evening we went to dinner with Deanna's family friend, Dwaina, and her husband Bob.  We ate some good Tex Mex and enjoyed the change of pace from dinner on our own.

Tuesday we drove across to Ft. Worth to meet with Robert at Texas Outdoors.  They've been a NuCanoe dealer since the start of the year and are looking forward to 2012.  Their store is located right off the biggest round-a-bout I've been through...a great high visibility location!  Robert was quite pleased to see the changes and features in the Frontier.  All he needs now is some rain to fill up the lakes and rivers to people can get back out on the water!

From there it was back to Dallas and to Mariner Sails.   They've been eyeing NuCanoe boats for a year or two, but had a few concerns.  Upon learning about the Frontier, Aris & Mike were happy to see they'd all been addressed.  After seeing their store and going through the details on the Frontier, we went out to White Rock Lake for a demo.  We had a nice crowd out to see and try the's always great to meet current and future NuCanoe owners!  Mike took the Frontier for a spin and came back raving about the improvements in initial stability and tracking.  The other folks were equally impressed with the Frontier.  A great way to spend a warmer than average Dallas afternoon!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hawksbill Crag

While at Lewis & Clark Outfitters, we asked Sam to recommend a good day hike in NW Arkansas.  He said Hawksbill Crag near Huntsville was the place to go.  After seeing a picture of it, we were convinced.

The directions looked simple enough.  Go to 21S, take County Rd 5, go 6 miles, and you'll be at the trailhead.  Once we got there, we quickly learned that County Rd 5 was no ordinary road.  First off, it was rock and gravel, and about as wide as 1 1/2 normal lanes.  Second it was steep.  So steep.  I thought I might have to drop the 4Runner into four wheel drive to make it up some of the hills.  And over the edge of the road was an abrupt dropoff.  Not for the weary!  And to top it off, we started out with less than 1/4 tank of gas as there are no gas stations any where nearby.

About 20 minutes later, we arrived with no incident.  The hike to the crag was an enjoyable 1.5 miles.  Not too challenging, which afforded us the opportunity to take in the scenic landscape.  We'd have been perfect to be there about 2 weeks sooner for the fall colors.  The orange leaves remained...but mostly on the ground. 

We turned a corner and saw the crag jutting out over a vast valley and rolling hills.  Quite the impressive scene!  On the crag, there is a nice little sitting ledge just at the point, leaving on to sit back, relax, and ponder the impressive view! 

Well worth it all.  Thanks, Sam!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Four Days, Four More States

The Tour made a brief stop on Tuesday afternoon in Corinth, MS to meet with a prospective customer, Brad H., and walk through Lonnie's Sporting Goods.  Brad tried to make it to the Nashville River Bassin' stop this summer, but it didn't work out.  He invited a couple friends out to check out the Frontier with him.  All were impressed...and Brad is already planning his trip to Riverside Fly Shop to pick up a Frontier in February.

Wednesday we made the rounds in Memphis visiting three of the four Outdoors Inc stores.  They have been a dealer for a couple years and have seen interest in the NuCanoe boats really grow in the past year.  They've also seen the kayak fishing segment start to boom.  Given that, the staff at each store were excited to see the Frontier...and after learning about it, even more excited to get them in next spring.  We are pleased to have a great retailer representing NuCanoe in western Tennessee!

Wednesday night we went down to Beale St for a little Memphis fun.  What is normally a packed & crazy street was pretty chill on a crisp November evening.  We stumbled into J Money & his entourage upon entering BB King's Blues Club, enjoyed a little blues, and had some good Memphis ribs.  A nice midweek outing!

Crossing the Mississippi river bridge from Memphis takes you from city to farm country in the blink of an eye.  We cruised through eastern Arkansas, which was a little reminiscent of the Nebraska with its endless fields, to the duck hunting capital of the world.  And in the middle of Stuttgart lies Mack's Prairie Wings, a huge and impressive store in a small town.  It's existence is a testament to the huge duck hunting region that surrounds Stuttgart.  We met with Adam Davis and learned more about the region and their store.  Adam was impressed with the Frontier- for both hunting and fishing purposes.  The only problem is we won't have them available in time for this year's duck season.

Next up was Ozark Outdoor Supply in Little Rock, AR.  It is a nice and fully equipped store in a surprising nice city.  We had no idea that Little Rock would be so interesting.  We enjoyed our visit with Joe at OOS and the evening in Little Rock.

The Northwest of Arkansas is a beautiful region with loads of great outdoors activities.  If we'd arrived a week or two sooner, the fall colors would have been brilliant and bright.  The falling leaves and fading colors were scenic enough though as we made our way to Lewis & Clark Outfitters in Rogers & Springdale.  We had shown the staff renderings of the Frontier on our previous trip in August, so they were excited to see the real deal.  And they were not at all disappointed!  With their growing fishing market and emphasis, the Frontier will fit in great in 2012.

Springfield, MO was our last stop in the Midwest before heading to Texas.  We met with Brad & Scott from Marine Repair Center and Dennis & Pat from our Midwest Rep Group.  We went out to Lake Springfield to all could take the Frontier for a test paddle.  Once again, minutes after launching, everyone was standing, paddling, and smiling!  Another successful Frontier demo!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sweet Home Alabama

Our first stop on Phase 2 of the Nu Frontier Tour was Coosa River Adventures in Wetumpka, AL.  Owner's Chris & Therese Carter have built a great business on the shores of the Coosa River.  When they purchased the property, the trees were so dense they didn't know a 100+ year old house sat in the middle of it.  After years of constant work, that house is now their store and showroom. 

Coosa River Adventures has been a NuCanoe Dealer for three years, and they are excited about the Frontier model.  Scupper holes, the wider deck floor, and integrated storage are they think will really appeal to their customers.  And Chris said the kayak fishing is on the cusp of booming...hopefully the Frontier can help push that growth even faster!

Winding through from Auburn country to Alabama country, we arrived in the sad city of Tuscaloosa, two days after their loss to LSU.  We were hoping for a win and continued festivities, but it wasn't to be. 

Woods N Water sits atop a hill overlooking Tuscaloosa.  On game days, I'm sure the roar of the crowd from Paul Bryant stadium can be clearly heard from their parking lot. Woods N Water picked up NuCanoe this year and is off to a great start.  Their fishing department staff (Dennis, Fox, & Jake) are all huge NuCanoe fans. They were all impressed with the Frontier and like how it fills the gap between kayaks and fishing boats.  It is a great fit in their fishing and hunting focused store...and we are happy to have a great crew to serve NuCanoe customers!

On Tuesday morning we drove through the hills to Riverside Fly Shop near Jasper, AL.  As the name implies, their shop is right off the river coming from Smith Lake Dam.  It is the only cold water river in Alabama, thus it is the destination for trout fishing.  Brandon Jackson and his wife own RFS.  His dad Randy is and almost three year old daughter Lela were helping out at the store on this morning.  They have a great fly shop, do guided fishing trips, and have a fleet of NuCanoe boats for rentals. 

Joining us a Riverside Fly was Gary Hanson, an avid angler from Anniston, AL, that I connected with via Twitter.  We launched the boats in the crystal clear river and went for a lazy paddle upstream.  While paddling, we learned all about the work being done in the river to improve conditions for the trout.  Gary told us great stories of going after monster stripers in Anniston...that'll have to be on the agenda for the next time through!  Lela was talking constantly, having great fun sitting, standing, and leaning over the gunwale to check out the fish.

Brandon, Randy, Lela, & Gary were all impressed with the Frontier.  Brandon and Randy said it addressed everything they'd like to change with the NuCanoe, while preserving all they liked.  Gary figured he just found his next fishing craft!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Next Leg Begins

Our break from the road was quite welcome.  We sure enjoyed being able to sleep in the same place more than one night, eat home cooked food, and see friends & family.  The Frontier was put through the tests on the white sand beaches at Ft. Walton Beach, FL.  In fact, it was ridiculously fun and its my new favorite.  Check out these videos from the beach in front of Deanna’s mom condo:

During the week, I made the trip back to Bellingham to check in on things at the home office.  We are blessed with a great team.....Donna, Robby, James, & Ian have done an awesome job keeping business humming and preparing for the Frontier.  It was fun to be back, sort out plans for the next few months, and start gearing up for the new year.  Deanna stayed in Florida to take care of preparations for the next phase and relax.

Monday we’ll be off again…working our way from Alabama to Memphis, then into Arkansas and into Springfield, MO, before heading towards Texas.  We’ll round the state then shoot back to Florida along I-10.  If we’re coming your way, we’d love to see you out at one of our stops.  Check the Nu Frontier Tour Schedule for details.