Monday, April 20, 2015

Q is for Quiet

Quietwater Films has always been narrowly scoped into producing instructional DVDs. The meander that led to the name though is a distinct nod to the weirdness of media in outdoor recreation. Back in the day when Quietwater was getting organized, the paddling industry was commonly seen in the media as this collection of pink-haired mohawk-wearing kayakers doing something outlandish on some creek with some really bad really loud music underlying the whole show. It was as if the entire industry consisted of a bunch of nose ring wearing gomers frantically jamming themselves down some Cat. V river drop. I have to give them credit, at least someone was doing something to try and promote kayaking.

But I think there was a fundamental disconnect. The bulk of the paddling world was aging rapidly and spending time on lakes not whitewater rivers. The largest volume of new boats sold was in the recreational kayak category, not creek boats, not whitewater boats. It wasn't too long before fishing kayaks were one of the top sellers as well. But yet in the media, all you saw were stunts involving cliffs and pink hair. The industry just couldn't seem to pull its head out of its collective nether region and recognize where the money was and where their customers were. The gomers hucking themselves off cliffs were rotten customers. No money. No job, borrowed boats with an occasional sponsor boat. Very narrow appeal mainly to other broke couch surfing pink haired youngsters.

Not sure where the manufacturers were going with this line of thought other than out of business.

Anyway, Quietwater saw this somewhat pathetic environment. I did not want to play in it. Thankfully my partner at the time did not want to either. So we went off the opposite end of the spectrum. Quietwater is a name that represents our awareness of the REST of the paddling world. The quiet normal weekenders who get out in lakes with kids. The couple that get out for a paddle in their rec kayaks. Nothing Cat. V, no hair dye, no bad music.

As an aside, Mike Hooks, who I believe is still the Sales VP at Native Watercraft created several original pieces of what we called "swamp rock" as the score for two DVDs we did with Native Watercraft. Mike is a great guy and an outstanding musician. It used to be funny how many artistically gifted people ended up in sales. It's not funny anymore, the correlation has been consistently strong between artistically creative and sales for a long time now.

Quietwater is still around, still carrying the flag for normal people in normal boats having normal fun. Hair coloring is OK, bad music no. It's not all about ear throbbing adrenaline rushes. It's about time on quiet water too.

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