Nantahala Outdoor Center announces the first-annual selections for Paddlesports Manufacturers of the Year. With 37 years as a leader in the paddlesports industry, NOC has selected two companies to receive top honors in two categories: Dagger Kayaks was named Kayak Manufacturer of the Year, and Immersion Research was recognized for excellence in paddling accessories.
Sutton Bacon, President and CEO of NOC, said of the awards “We are proud to present these honors to two highly motivated manufacturers who have been great partners in our industry.” NOC works with hundreds of top-quality brands, and selecting top companies in particular was a challenge. Bacon explained, “We resisted offering this award in the past, as there are many quality companies out there, but we felt the time was right to begin recognizing the companies who go above and beyond in our industry.”
Dagger is a well-established leader in the paddlesports industry. In 2009, Dagger made concerted efforts to engage paddlers in online programs such as Paddle it Forward and Dagger Community. Their dedicated sales force, highlighted by Rep. Adam Motes, accompanied by a team of accomplished athletes promoted kayaking in a way that strengthened the popularity of paddling across the board. In 2009, these Dagger ambassadors were seen around NOC more than any other company, promoting a quality product and a general love for paddling.
While only a handful of kayak manufacturers exist in the market, companies that make paddling accessories are almost limitless. NOC honored Immersion Research (IR) in recognition for innovation and customer engagement. From drysuits, tops and pants, spray skirts and decks, hip apparel, layering options and accessories like pogies and creek bags, IR makes products that are functional and prized by paddlers everywhere. IR is one of the most active paddling companies in the social media space, and has utilized their website to highlight user comments and reviews. Sales Rep. Spencer Cooke has been integral in customer engagement, and a quick scan of their site shows their dedication to talking to their customers not just listening.