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NSPN at the NSRWA Kayak Expo


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On Saturday, March 27th, Leslie Beale, Dottie and Buddy Hogan and Mark Stephens put in at the Cole Elementary School in Norwell, Mass. to represent NSPN at the North and South Rivers Watershed Association's 2004 Kayak Expo. We set up a nice display with a pair of boats (Mark's Surge, Buddy's Diamante), a collection of paddles and other gear, a 150-photo slideshow on Mark's laptop, club photos, brochures, hats and stickers. (Sorry, I brought the camera but forgot to take pictures.)

With approximately 700 people in attendance at the show, the waves rolled in all day. Dottie and Les did yeo-women's work behind the table, handing out brochures, answering questions, promoting safe paddling and the virtues of the club. Buddy staked out a post where he could block out anyone headed toward the EMS display of flotation-less rec boats, proselytizing like a Moonie behind quota. (How many souls were saved today, we may never know.) Mark spent a lot of time fiddling with the finicky laptop or flirting with the ladies in the next booth, occasionally stopping to explain to the predominantly South Shore crowd that, no, NSPN wasn't just for North Shore people. "Shore Paddlers Network" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

The mixed crowd had lots of questions. Everything from "Where can I buy a drysuit?" to "What are those round black rubbery things on the top of the boat?" (VCP Hatch Covers)

All told, this was a very successful event, and NSPN got some great exposure (in a good way). And we definitely kicked butt on the RICKA club display.

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It sounds like you guys had a blast and made a good impact as well. Thank you.

We paddled by a couple paddlers today that could have stood to "promoted" on safety.

Somehow I missed this and now I feel guilty :( Please look me up if I can help next time.


"Would a knife help protect you against a ‘curious’ shark? I don’t know but I would like the option." - Trevor Gardner

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Words from the other "Booth Babe"...

Mark did a great job organizing and the laptop slideshow was well received! He's a great representative for the South Shore and if this weekend's interest was any indication, we'll see a lot more events down there in seasons to come. You've really "stepped in it" now Mark!

We had a non-stop stream of people at the booth (probably because Leslie and I were laughing so much and having so much fun). One thing was clear...people in the South Shore are looking for pals to paddle with. Also, I would estimate that 75% were brand-new to paddling with some not even having purchased a boat, most thinking of doing so, or had one and were new to paddling. The other misconception was that NSPN is strictly "North Shore" but Leslie and I quickly dispelled that. We had a discussion of changing the name to "ASPN...All Shore Paddling Network" or "NSSPN...North South Shore etc." You get the drift. Nah.

This show brought home the reality that as a club we really do have an obligation to "pass if forward" and help our fellow paddlers be safe, have fun and enjoy the sport in the relative safety of a group. We were able to convey the message of personal responsibility through discussion of floation for the rec boats, and I encouraged every one of these people to seek out professional instruction. Charles River was there as was Billington. I directed new paddlers to seek out their instruction as well as other outfitters. To those who didn't have boats yet, to try different boats while they got instruction. After that, come find us to refine, practice and hone their skills and meet really nice people to paddle with.

There is so much safety and education info to be delivered to the newer paddling community. NSPN and other clubs are uniquely positioned to do this and we should continue. The people we met were sweet, responsible family types that want to enjoy the fun and peacefulness of paddling but they want to be safe while they do it. Some understand the inherent dangers in all this fun, some did not but if given the information would use it wisely.

That's it from my soapbox. It was fun, the people were terrific and we did indeed have a terrific showing at our booth. New applications went out and just about all the brochures. We were pooped and hungry when it was all done!

Again, great job Mark for getting us there as well as Leslie and Buddy for your contributions and enthusiasm.



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