Our 2017 Holiday Letter To You, Our Paddle Family

Wow what a year 2017 has been! We want to share some of our highlights this year. Some you know about, some might be surprises! Thank you for being a part of history!
This has been the biggest year of growth for Cali Paddler to date. With more friends made and locations visited than ever before, the stage has been set for us to continue our biggest goal: To Be EPIC (Every Paddler In California).

Right away, we welcomed our first company partner XTERRA BOARDS to help us provide more articles and reach to California. They have been an amazing partner and we are grateful for the support they have given Cali Paddler. Their partnership supported much of what you will see below too…

First Ever Event, The CP RETREAT - One of the biggest events was that we put on our first well…event! Unlike anything done before, the CP Retreat brought together companies from prone (BARK), SUP (404), Surfski (EPIC) and Outrigger (Kamanu Composites) to unite the paddle community. A chance to camp in a beautiful state park, try new craft, hear from amazing speakers and oh yah, roast marshmallows with some legends of the sport (Danny Ching, Joe Bark, Chris and Sammie Barlow and more) as they talk paddling. Community at its finest (See recap video)!
Did you Hear? A PODCAST - We decided that reading articles is great, but some folks might want to hear the Cali Paddler stoke as well. We proudly launched The Paddler’s Pulse Podcast (http://thepaddlerspulse.libsyn.com). Bringing on guests beyond our state borders to tell stories and further unite the community. Margo Pelligrino, Kristin Stickels (Paddlechica), Cyril Derreumaux (OTW360) and others shared all about their passion for paddling.

Time to CLEAN-UP – In 2017 we had our biggest impact yet as we hosted cleanups at 13 locations throughout the state. From San Diego to San Francisco paddlers united to make a difference at the beaches and waters we love! (Read more)
NEW NON-PROFIT SUPPORT  – Speaking of making a difference, with the addition of Joshua Olsen as our Director of Non-Profit Relations, we teamed up with some more amazing groups such as California State Parks Foundation and San Diego Coastkeeper. The 5% Paddler Pledge gave its biggest donations ever this year. We can’t wait to support more amazing groups.

COLLABORATIONS – 2017 was a year of team building. We teamed up with talented paddlers for new designs. Chelsea Wilder and Megan Phillips brought fresh new vision to what paddlers get to wear on and off the water. The Wilder Sunflower and Mer-Dragon lines were some of our most popular of the year.

PRODUCTS - Speaking of new designs, the ladies got new pant designs with mermaid and golden gate bridge pants. The guys were rocking the new shark jerseys (#wearitdontfearit) we came up with, and even the kids finally got some hats sized just for them! Not to mention all sorts of other designs and styles to fit every paddler we envision!

TEAM EPIC 2.0 – Once again Cali Paddler wanted to share the stoke of paddling across craft. To unite people from different waters and backgrounds. We put together such a group called Team EPIC 2.0, and raced at the Los Angeles Dragon Boat Festival. The day was spent learning this new craft under the guidance of Coach Red (Paddle Dojo) and getting a taste of how amazing Dragonboat and team paddling is. At the end of the day, a trophy was won, but more importantly, a new community of paddling friends made.

TEAM AMBASSADORS – In the fall we announced a new Team Captain role. Kristin Thomas would head the effort to help build the next round of Team Ambassadors. Applications were received from INSANELY talented and wonderful paddlers/people. The choices of who to add to our roster in 2018 was a challenge, as we strove to represent different craft, regions, and demographics. We will be announcing the group soon. But everyone that applied, is someone we would be honored to have represent us. Thank you!

CP AROUND THE WORLD – Speaking of folks representing from around the world, we added to our list of Where in the World is Cali Paddler! Paddlers traveled to Greece, Portugal, Spain, New Zealand, Mexico and Britain. On the mainland we visited national and state parks in Pennsylvania, Yosemite, Utah, Catalina, Mexico. Thanks everyone for taking Cali Paddler around the world to share the stoke!

ONLINE ARTICLES – 2017 was a pretty amazing year in terms of online content. We launched new themes such as CP Fitness (Shoulder Impingement, Pain-Free Paddling Exercises), CP Reviews (Zhik Amphibious Shoes, Onit Pro, RinseKit, Xterra Boards, Paddle Dojo, SUPerior Motionize, ShoreStand), and continued the CP Exploration series (Lake Elsinore, Catalina, Moss landing). New articles about tips to be a better paddler, tips for paddling in surf, and craft comparison were also written. Our highlight though was the announcement of collaborating with Paddlechica.com. We will be cross-authoring with Kristin Stickels and sharing the stoke from two websites with all of you!

OUR PRESENCE – We went to over 30 events and races in 2017. Whether it was having an official booth, photographing paddlers, doing Facebook live to give coverage, or even paddling so we could do articles about the race experience we had, we did our best to be a part of the community. Being there with you in person is what makes us love this sport. And we are stoked for every hand we shook, hug we gave, and body of water we shared!

GREG'S NEW ADVENTURES – we have been patiently (ok maybe anxiously is a better word) waiting for the announcement from our original co-founder Greg Gagnon on his new business endeavor and can finally share. For those that might recall, back in October it was announced that Greg would be taking his amazing talents and energy to explore new passions. Just this week, details were shared! Please visit ThriveBarefoot.com to see how anyone with a business idea can see their dreams come true with his guidance and skills. While Cali Paddler will never be able to replace what Greg brought to Cali Paddler, there is nothing that will ever shake free the influence he had on what this company was, is and always will be. His focus on being “more than just a shirt and hat company” resonates with every decision we make, and will always ground us as we strive to grow responsibly and with a conscious. Thank you Greg. We hope Thrive Barefoot … THRIVES just as much as Cali Paddler did with you here!

As we look back on 2017, we shake our heads. How did a small company accomplish so much. The answer is simple. YOU. Everything we do is for paddlers, and by paddlers. Every decision is based on your feedback. New products are your suggestions. New events we attend are from your recommendations. And when we need the help to make it happen, you have NEVER let us down. Thank you.
2018 has all sorts of special stuff building and brewing. Your faith in our message and the 3Cs (Community, Conservation, Connection) continues to drive us. To inspire us! We can’t wait to see what the new year brings. Thank you for being Cali Paddlers…we will see you on the water!

Sincerely, your biggest fans!
~Cali Paddler
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