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

Saturday, October 29, 2011

To the Beach!

Today marked day 1 of week 7.  A good time to take a break!

We hit the road early to get to NuCanoe Dealer Adel Outfitters in Adel, GA by lunchtime.  Adel Outfitters recently moved to a bigger store right off I-75...a great location and perfect home for NuCanoe in South Georgia.  Chad liked the Frontier and is ready for a couple boats as soon as we can get them to him.

Heading west from Adel we made our way to Dothan, AL.  My last time through Dothan I saw a nice outdoors store right off the highway.  So I looked it up and found The Sportsman's Outfitters.  We stopped in despite not having an appointment or knowing who to talked to.  The folks there were friendly, and we chatted with Danny for a bit.  He and Jamie then came out to see the boats and were impressed.  Jamie thought it a great fit for their hunting and fishing customers...and loved that it could go in lakes, rivers, and the saltwater.  We hope to have them on the team in 2012!

And from there it was a 2 hour drive to Ft. Walton Beach, to Deanna's mom's home, conveniently located on the beach.  The tour goes on break as we recharge and I head back to teh home office for 4 days.  When we resume on November 7th, we'll have 2 1/2 weeks going through Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, & Louisiana.  We'll be back to the beach for Thanksgiving, then off again for 2 weeks through Florida. 

It's been a great journey...and we're looking forward to the rest!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

On to Atlanta

We were now down to three days left on the first phase of the Nu Frontier Tour.  Come Friday evening, we'd be on the beach near Destin, FL relaxing at Deanna's mom's condo.   We'd be off the road for 10 days, although I'd be flying back home to the office for 4 days.

We visited longtime NuCanoe Dealers Terry & Gin Tucker at Talespinner's Outdoors in LaFayette, GA on Wednesday morning.  They were impressed with the Frontier and are anxious to get some in come spring.  We chatted for a bit, and Terry told some great stories about life in Georgia.

In the Atlanta area, we had four stops and a demo.  Wednesday afternoon we met with Willie at The Fly Box Outfitters in Kennesaw, GA.  The Fly Box has been a NuCanoe dealer for six months and they already have a customer lined up for the Frontier. 

Thursday we started at Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, GA.  They are in the process of moving to a huge new store, providing much needed space as their current location is more than full.  Eric saw the NuCanoe 12 in the spring, and was plenty pleased with the new and improved Frontier 12.  We're looking forward to having ADventure Outdoors on the NuCanoe team in 2012!

An drive hour on 401 North took us to The Outside World in Dawsonville, a premier paddlesports retailer in Georgia.  Brent saw & demoed the NuCanoe 12 in the spring, and while he liked it, he also thought it was missing something.  Upon first glance at the Frontier, he was sold.  Brent plans to bring the Frontier into their Dawsonville store and Columbus, GA store.  We are excited to work with them!

Next up was NuCanoe Dealer The Fish Hawk in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.  The Fish Hawk crew took turns checking out the Frontier and learning all the features.  Most of the concerns they had heard about the NuCanoe 12 were addressed, and they are figuring on selling a lot of Frontier 12s in 2012!

Thursday afternoon we went to Azalea Park on the Chattahoochee to meet up with a couple NuCanoe owners and potential owners.  They went for a test ride and were impressed.  After that, Deanna & I paddled around a bit...we even let Kobe have his own boat!  Until he jumped in the water trying to chase the birds....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


On Sunday we went to Huber Farms & Winery in Indiana on a tip from Adam.  The drive in was beautiful, winding through hills colorful trees.  The farm was full of fall festivities - pumpkin patch, corn maze, farm fresh foods, and lots of people.  We enjoyed a bottle of wine while taking in some interesting music and watching the crowds.

Monday we were off to Nashville for a demo day at Long Hunter State Park with Team NuCanoe member Kevin McCullough.  We met up with Kevin during the River Bassin Tournament Trail stop in June and floated the Stones River.  We had a nice crowd of folks out to check out the Frontier on a perfect fall afternoon.  One gentlemen, Joff, was in work clothes but went for a test paddle anyway.  He was reluctant to stand up in the Frontier, but with a little encouragement, he gave it a try.  Five seconds later he was saying, "Wow, this is easy.  I can even walk around on the deck."  Yes, you can!

The next day we made the short drive to Lynchburg, TN to see Rhonda at Tim's Flies & Lies.  It is literally 100 yards from the Jack Daniels Distillery.  We missed the epic Jack Daniels Barbeque Festival by three days...probably a good thing since the crowds would have made getting around just about impossible.  Tim's has a been a NuCanoe dealer for 4 years and has introduced countless people to NuCanoe thanks to their prime location, including current dealers in Iowa and Australia.

We followed Rhonda to Tim's Ford Lake for an on water demo.  Current NuCanoe owners Warren Patterson, Denny Edwards, and Pat Neese made it out to see and try the Frontier.  (See them in the video Duck River Fishing.)  All were mightily impressed.  Warren, who was a tournament Bass Angler back in the day, would hardly sit down in the Frontier, and he never fishes on his feet in his NuCanoe 10.  He figures once he gets the Frontier, he may start fishing the lakes as much  as the rivers.  Another gentlemen, Joe, came out to try the Frontier as he is in the market for a new fishing craft.  He's glad he did as the Frontier is now on the top of his list!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Yak Angler + Canoe Kentucky

I first connected with the guys from Yak Angler in late 2010.  Adam Hayes posted an article about the NuCanoe 12, I read it, contacted him, and we started chatting. Just like that, a great partnership was born.   We supplied Yak Angler with a NuCanoe 12 Bass Angler, they passed it around to other kayak anglers, and let people fish out of it (a 7 year old girl even won a kayak fishing out of this NuCanoe at the River Bassin stop in Frankfort!).  They introduced us to Canoe Kentucky.
In June we met up with Adam and Mark Watanabe at a brew pub in Louisville.  Over food & drink, we chattaed about paddling, fishing, and business.  We then shared our plans for the Frontier 12...and Adam & Mark were quite impressed.  The only way we could get them to keep quiet about it was to promise to visit them again when we had prototypes.

So on Saturday morning we met up at Canoe Kentucky for a Frontier Demo Day.  We first went to Beaver Lake for a bit of fishing, then back to the Canoe Kentucky store to meet up the folks that came out to see the Frontier.  We took the boats to the Elkhorn Creek near the shop where the water was flat and slow.  The Yak Angler crew and the demo'ers put the Frontiers through the tests...and then some.  Paddling, trolliing, standing, rocking, 180 jumps, tandem 180 jumps, triple SUP'ing, and more.  Best to check the videos!

To wrap up the day, we floated the Elkhorn from the Canoe Kentucky put-in down to their store.  While it was mostly flat water, we encountered one fun section of rapids and a tricky corner known as The Claw.  Mark rarely sat down and provided us some great video!
To cap it off, Adam & Mark joined us for some eats and refreshments back in Louisville.  And while we were there, the gentlemen whose daughter won the kayak fishing from the NuCanoe came by to check out the Frontier.  So out in the parking under the street lights, we showed him the boat.  And the Frontier 12 was added to another wish list!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mahoney's Outfitters & Fall Colors

The drive from Hickory, NC to Johnson City, TN on Friday morning was beautiful as can be.  The fall colors were vibrant, the sky blue, and the crispness of fall was in the air.   I am more certain than ever tha October is about the ideal time for traveling, no matter where the destination.

Fortunately for us, our destination was Mahoney's Outfitters.  Founded in 1960, Mahoney's is still in the family, owned and operated by Dan Mahoney.  The boast a great selection of everything for the outdoors:  hunting, fishing, camping, backpacking, paddling, apparel, and more.  And starting in the spring of 2012, Mahoney's will be the home for NuCanoe in eastern Tennessee.

Blake & Brandon from Mahoney's
We stopped in to visit Brandon, Jimmy, and Mike in June with the NuCanoe 12.  They were impressed and figured it be a great addition to the store.  Upon learning about Frontier, they were more excited than ever. We had quite the crowd gather around during our show & tell at the store.   They've seen the fishing side of paddlesports start to boom, and are confident next year will be a breakout year for kayak fishing....led by the Frontier 12!

Along with the Mahoney's staff, NuCanoe owners Mark Hutchison and Cecil Jones made the trek to meet up with the tour.  We enjoyed chatting with them and are pleased they are both excited about the Frontier.  Hopefully next time around we can join them on the water for some fishing!

Cecil & Paul drove 3 hours to see the Frontier!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Frontier Demo Day @ Outdoor Supply Company

Charlie & Rick at Outdoor Supply Company put together a great Frontier demo day on Thursday afternoon at the Wittenburg Access Area on Lake Hickory.  The weather was a bit cooler than usual, but we had no rain and the wind was minimal. 

The Frontier was put through the paces solo, tandem, paddling, trolling, and standing up.  We had paddlers old and young...big and small.  And the results were great!  Proof being that Charlie wanted to know if he could revise their pre-season order to get more Frontier boats! 

Thanks Charlie & Rick for the great event!  

Winding Through South Carolina

Tuesday night we navigated through the back highways of South Carolina to Anderson, SC for our meeting the next day with Grady's Great Outdoors.  For over 50 years, Grady's has been the premier source of outdoor gear in the Anderson area.  Today, they have fishing, hunting, paddling, outdoor apparel, shoes, and more.  Sounds like a great home for NuCanoe boats!  

Owner John Phillips was certainly impressed by the Frontier. He already liked the versatility of the NuCanoe 10 & 12, so the Frontier's added features and space really appealed to him.  The timing is great too, as they are planning to have more room for boats and outdoor equipment in the near future.   And while we'd love to have NuCanoe boats fill some of that space, certainly the anglers & hunters in the region won't leave them on the store racks for long!

From there we made our way to Sunrift Adventures in Travelers Rest, SC.  Sunrift has a great selection of hiking gear, boats, clothes, camping gear, and more.  They started carrying NuCanoe boats at the start of this year as they saw the growth and opportunity in kayak fishing.  When they had NuCanoe boats rigged up and ready to fish on the showroom floor, it got lots of attention.

Upon first glance at the Frontier, Josh, the paddlesports manager, was loving it!  The wider deck, slide track for the seats, and built in storage were all high in his NuCanoe wish list.  He is anxious to get Frontiers in ahead of their demo day in the spring...and let their customers put it to the test.

Wednesday night we stayed in Greenville, SC and ventured downtown for some dinner.  It's a great city with a nice downtown area.  We settled on the Carolina Ale House for eats and drinks.  The food was great...the only downside being about half the draft beers were out, thanks to the Greenville Fall Festival the prior weekend.

Thursday morning we were on the road to Carolina Fresh Farms in Rock Hill, SC.  While the core of the business is in sod and landscape supply, by listening to their customers, their Rock Hill store has grown into a leading supplier of hunting feed, outdoor gear, and sunglasses.  Seeking to round out their outdoor equipment offering and take advantage of the pond behind their store, Mills Grant began looking for a line of boats.  After looking at many options, he remembered NuCanoe, which he saw at a show a few years ago.  Fortunately, he got in touch ahead of the SC leg of our tour, so we were able to visit them.

We met with Mills, Byron, & Chris, and they are all full of great ideas for building the outdoor gear business at CFF.  And best of all, they are excited about using the gear they carry for themselves.  And that includes NuCanoe boats...particularly the Frontier.  After taking it for a test ride in the pond, they were sold.  And thinking forward to the spring when customers could stop by for a demo anytime.  We are excited to have CFF on the NuCanoe team in 2012!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bass Fishing with Ken Ziomek

Ken Ziomek lives in Aiken, SC.  He first found NuCanoe in the spring of 2010 when looking for a better fishing platform for a "guy his age."  He quickly fell in love with his NuCanoe and started customizing it for his needs.  He also started sharing his opinions and experiences with others who were interested in a NuCanoe.  He joined Team NuCanoe in spring 2011, and I've had the pleasure of fishing with him twice before.

Tuesday morning we met up with Ken to let him try out the Frontier 12.  We went to Magnolia Lake set up the two Frontier boats, and hit the water.  It only took 60 seconds for Ken to comment on the vastly improved stability and tracking of the Frontier.  And about 10 minutes for him to land his first bass.  Over the next couple hours, we fished, paddled, and chatted.  Ken caught the big fish of the day, Deanna caught a couple, and I had a few that didn't get away.  Good times!

Afterwards, I asked Ken what he liked and didn't like about the Frontier.  Here's what he said:

In regards to Ken's "things to improve":
  • The seat base is being redesigned to be stiffer
  • Frontier owners can install any type of mount in the Mount Docks
Ken mentioned he could stand and is proof!

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    The Frontier Gets Salty

    The sun was shining on Friday afternoon as we drove toward Myrtle Beach.  Figuring on a 5pm arrival, we'd have about an hour to get the Frontier on the water for its maiden salt water voyage.  I was excited to paddle through the surf and put the scuppers to the test and test the stability of the Frontier in the waves.

    Success!  The stability and flotation of the Frontier let it ride on top of the water and prevented tipping when pushed sideways by the waves.  The scuppers drained the water that came into the boat in about 30 seconds.  The Frontier is ready for the ocean!

    The Best Toy Store

    Friday we visited  longtime NuCanoe Dealer Earl Dail at Sportsman's Toy Store in New Bern, NC.  On my prior visits to STS, Earl had been off hunting or fishing, so it was great to finally meet him.  They have a great new store right off Highway 70 in New Bern...a perfect location for those traveling to the coast.

    As Earl looked over and learned about the Frontier, he went through his mental checklist of potential NuCanoe activities - Flounder gigging, duck hunting, crabbing, and more - and found that the Frontier's features and design fit them perfectly.  He loved the Freedom Track and Cast & Blast Deck, along with the ease of adding third party accessories from Yak Attack, Precision Pak, and more. 

    Earl is anxious to add the Frontier to the store early next year.  And the first Frontier they get just may end up residing in the back of his truck!

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    On The Tar River with Tar River Paddlesports

    Tar River Paddlesports has been a NuCanoe dealer since 2008.  Frank Bandy placed his initial order without ever seeing the boats in person.  He could tell it was what he wanted and figured there would be many others like him. 

    On this October afternoon, Frank and Team NuCanoe member Brannon Roberts took the Frontier 12 on the water.  Frank had two comments:  "This won't be available for a longtime" and "this is the boat for me now".  Brannon was so excited he went home and sold his NuCanoe 12 to clear out space and free up funds to be one of the first Frontier 12 owners come January.

    After an hour of paddling around and a little fishing, Frank & Brannon decided to put the Frontier to the test.
    Secondary Stability...check!
    Re-entry from the water
    Gear vault or springboard?

    Attempting a 360...settling for a 270

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Winding through Virginia

    Wednesday morning we visited Brett and the crew at Back Country Ski & Sport in Blacksburg, VA. BCS&S has two others, the other in Salem, VA.  They are great looking stores with a nice selection of gear, and they are real active in kayak fishing.   We visited them in June with the NuCanoe 12 and they were real interested in adding NuCanoe for 2012.  At that time, we didn't tell them about the Frontier.  So we were excited to show it to them.

    Brett really liked the Frontier and the new features it offers.  Of course, they still like the NuCanoe 10 & NuCanoe 12 too.  We look forward to having Back Country on the NuCanoe team!

    Next up was a visit to our newest NuCanoe dealer, Hughes Marine Service in Danville, VA.  Despite having NuCanoe boats for only a week, they have already have a prominent place in the store.  We learned that their first NuCanoe customer had already sent in photos of his maiden voyage and said he loved his NuCanoe!

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    The James River

    Mason at James River Float Company in Lynchburg, VA has always liked the NuCanoe and they've been a dealer for over a year.  But he's also had some things in mind for what could make it even better for floating and fishing in central Virginia.  He saw the plans for the Frontier and thought we were on the right track.  And now, the moment of truth as he takes it out on the James River at Monacan Park.

    Rather than bore you with more words....spend a couple minutes to watch the videos and see what Mason thinks about:

    Maneuverability & Stability:
    Skinny Water Paddling:

    Entering & Exiting:

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    On the Delmarva with On The Rivet

    Monday morning the Nu Frontier Tour skipped the road and took to the water via the Cape May - Lewes ferry.  It was a nice 1 hour and a half ride on a warm sunny morning.  After landing in Delaware, we drove to Maryland making it three states before noon...can't do that out West!

    On The Rivet Cycle & Sport has been a NuCanoe dealer for four years and they are wrapping up a great year.  Matt & Gary have done a great job introducing NuCanoe to anglers, hunters, and paddlers on the Delmarva peninsula and beyond.  They saw the designs for the Frontier back in May, so they were anxious to see and try the real deal.

    We hit the backroads to Higgins Millpond for the demo.  The fall folliage made for a great setting on our paddle and backdrop for the photos.  Matt loved the stability and Cast & Blast Deck..and is already looking forward to taking the Frontier to a Hunting & Fishing show in February!

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    West Creek & The Jersey Coast

    Friday evening we relaxed while the rest of Philadelphia was on edge as the Phillies played Game 5 of the NLDS.  We thought about going downtown to watch the game at a pub or restaurant...but given that they lost 1-0, I'm glad we didn't. 

    Saturday we had a brief visit to downtown Philadelphia, grabbed a cheese steak for the road, and made our way to NuCanoe dealer West Creek Kayak & Canoe in West Creek, NJ.  The store owner's, Leonora & Glenn, have built a wonderful paddlesports store on their property where they've lived for years.  Right on Main Street and across the road from one of New Jersey's busiest hunting & fishing stores, it is an ideal location...especially for NuCanoe!

    We had a great visit with Glenn & Leonora, showing them all the features and benefits of the Frontier 12'.  They really liked what they saw...particularly the scuppers and wider deck floor.  They have water access about 100 yards from the store (I told you it was a good location!) so we went for a paddle through the grass marsh.  The Frontier's low draft helped us get through some skinny water as the tide was way out.  Leonora showed off her stand-up paddle skills and enjoy her maiden voyage in the Frontier.

    We spent the rest of the weekend on the South Jersey Coast.  Saturday evening we went to Ocean City to see the beach, cruise the boardwalk, and enjoy the festivities.  We arrived at the amusement park just in time for Customer Appreciation Day - Free Rides from 7-9pm.  So we made like kids and took a ride on the Sea Dragon and Giant Wheel....looks much taller when you are at the top than the bottom!

    Sunday we spent in Cape May, NJ...a quaint little town that is perfect for relaxing and soaking up the sun.  We rode bikes to Sunset Beach, visited the lighthouse, dipped in the pool, and had a nice dinner at YB Eat.  A funny thing about Cape May is that liquor licenses are expensive and scarce...thus many restaurants are BYOB.  So we took a bottle of wine and fit right in!

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Blue Mountain & French Creek

    After repairing the trailer, we crashed Blue Mountain Outfitter's annual staff retreat party, held at their private campground on the Susquehanna River.  Just a couple weeks ago, this entire area was under 8+ feet of water.  But now the river is down from a high of 23' to a still-above-normal 7'.  We had a nice chat with BMO's owner Doug, then met with his wife Mary up at their store.

    From there it was back east to French Creek Outfitters in Phoenixville.  They are a hunting and fishing outfitter with a nice selection of boats.  It looks like a great store for NuCanoe boats!  Owner Michael really liked the Frontier...and made an order for the start of the 2012 season.  We are excited to add French Creek Outfitters to the NuCanoe team!  And those of you in the greater Philadelphia now have an excellent dealer in your backyard.

    Philadelphia may be the city of Brotherly Love. But it is also the city of ridiculous traffic.  My trip through Philly last year was marked by lots of gridlock.  This time, we spent 2 hours to go 34 miles.  That works out to a pokey 17 mph on our all-interstate route.  Not our idea of a good time!

    Fortunate Misfortune

    Our first flat tire occurred directly across from a farm house tire shop. 

    The deer incident happened outside Utica, NY...where wonderful repair shop was located near our hotel and came up first on Google.

    On Thursday, the suspension bar on our trailer broke.  We discovered this around 2:40pm EST on the road to Sunbury, PA.  After hearing a scraping noise, we stopped on a narrow shoulder to inspect.  The trailer is manufactured by Trailex...which is located in Youngstown, OH - only about 4 hours drive from Harrisburg, where we'd be spending the night.  I called them, talked to Carl, and 5 minutes later he was packing up a new suspension bar.  Thirty minutes later and it would have been too late for UPS to pick up that day.  So Friday morning, the part arrived at our hotel.  Less than an hour later it was installed and we were on our way.

    On Thursday afternoon, our second flat tire occurred right before an emergency stop area on I-76E.   Sure is nice to be a good 10 yards away from traffic when changing a tire!  (Now before you start thinking we are cursed, this one was really my fault as the spare tire we put on early in the week was actually an old tire, not a new one.)

    So even when things have gone wrong, they've gone wrong in the best possible way!

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Susquehanna Roaring

    Right in the middle of Sunbury, PA and across the street from the Susquehanna River is Hollenbach's Bait & Tackle.  Dean Hollenbach has built up a great little fishing store complete with all gear and the only boat you'll need to fish the rivers and lakes in the Susquehanna Region.  Hollenbach's had a great first year with NuCanoe and is looking forward to a full season in 2012.

    Joining us were Nate Follmer from Fishing in PA, John "Toast" Oast of SusquehannaFishing, and Dean's business partner Tim S. All enjoyed seeing and learning about the Frontier.  Unfortunately, previous engagements and a roaring river prevented Dean, John, & Tim from getting out on the water.  Nate was still able, so Dean pointed us to Penn's Creek, where we went for a paddle and Nate did a little fishing.  Not as good as a half day fish n float on the Susquehanna, but better than nothing!  And now Nate will have to give the others the full report on the Frontier!

    Paddler's Cove & The Pond Hopper

    Thursday morning we arrived at Paddler's Cove in Washington, NJ to meet up with owner John Warta and The Pond Hopper, Dino Cerdeira.  Paddler's Cove is a NuCanoe Dealer and Dino has been using a NuCanoe in his kayak fishing guide service for a couple years.  They both saw our plans for the Frontier in May and were eager to it in person.  And to get it on the water!

    So after a brief "show & tell" at the shop, we took off to Furnace Lake, about 15 minutes from the store.  John & Dino put the Frontier to the test on a nice fall morning.  And they were both impressed.  Dino really liked how it handled on the water and the wider deck to make standing real easy...even for a tall guy.  They gave us some good ideas for accessories and options too!