Bill Kueper was in Asia last November when he received an unexpected phone call in the middle of the night. Sutton Bacon, CEO of Nantahala Outdoor Center, was on the line bursting with ideas for a new trade show solely focused on paddlesports. It was a literal wake-up call for Kueper, vice president at Wenonah Canoe, and an overdue impetus for the paddlesports industry to come together.

“Of course I was on board, but I thought he meant we should launch the trade show in 2018,” Kueper says. “I read the press release in the morning and thought, holy cow, he meant 2017.”

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