NOC Honors Dagger & Immersion Research with 2009 Paddlesports Manufacturer Awards

WESSER, NC (October 16, 2009)— 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.

The Nantahala River as seen from the back porch of NOC's Outfitter Store.

The Nantahala River as seen from the back porch of NOC's Outfitter Store.

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.

The always enthusiastic Adam Motes, showing his excitement at NOC.

The always enthusiastic Adam Motes, showing his excitement at NOC.

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.

I was this happy when I found out about the award.  Another happy guy almost made the photo too.  My son who is a young, blossoming photographer may be credited with this picture.

I was this happy... nope, happier, when I found out about the award. As seen in this photo, other happy people (or at least their heads) were falling from the sky when the award was presented. It was just that special of a moment. My son, who is a young, blossoming, 3-year-old photographer may be credited with this picture. - thanks, Spencer Cooke

Nantahala Outdoor Center is the nation’s largest whitewater rafting company, rafting seven rivers in the southeastern United States including the Chattooga, Cheoah, French Broad, Nantahala, Nolichucky, Ocoee and Pigeon. Additionally, NOC operates an adventure resort in Wesser, NC where the Appalachian Trail crosses the Nantahala River. The resort features three restaurants and a riverside pub, multiple lodging options, the world-class NOC Paddling School and the NOC Outfitter’s Store named “the best whitewater store in the country” by Men’s Journal. Good Morning America and National Geographic Adventure named NOC the “#1 Vacation with a Splash” and The New York Times noted NOC’s reputation as “…the nation’s premiere paddling school.” For more information, please visit, or call NOC’s Paddlesports Media Contact Tyler Donaldson @ (828) 488-7170.
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I’m very excited to be affiliated with such a great group of people who comprise IR and NOC, and I’d like to thank NOC for the incredible business relationship we’ve built over the past fifteen years.  It’s truly awesome to receive such a prestigious award.


Spencer Cooke – IR Sales Rep
Effort Inc

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