What does the outdoor industry have to learn from the first half-century of paddlesports? According to the judges, an award-worthy amount. On September 26, 2023, Paddling Business editor Jeff Moag was honored with the Outdoor Media Summit’s Judges’ Choice award for the best B2B Story Of The Year. The award-winning story was the 2023 Paddling Business feature, “Looking Back at 50 Years of Paddlesports.”

Paddling Business’ Jeff Moag wins prestigious award

Jeff Moag’s 3,000-word feature recounts how an upstream battle driven by passionate and stubborn characters evolved recreational and commercial paddling from the 1970s to the industry we know today.

It’s an industry Moag knows well, serving as a venerable chronicler of paddling at large for nearly two decades. In 2004, Moag became the managing editor at Paddler. He then served as editor-in-chief of Canoe & Kayak from 2006 to 2016. Today, Moag is the content director of the Water Sports Foundation and editor of Paddling Business—Rapid Media’s annual industry publication.

The Outdoor Media Summit announced Moag’s story as the B2B Story of the Year winner on August 29 and presented Moag with the award in Boise, Idaho, in late September.

Jeff Moag accepts his award
Photo: Courtesy Outdoor Media Summit

“This award belongs to the people who built this industry, the folks who started making boats and gear in their garages and kept at it for 50 years without ever forgetting why they started in the first place. I just got to share a few of their stories,” said Moag.

The Outdoor Media Summit is an annual gathering of storytellers and brands in the outdoors. The conference seeks to converse on the state of the industry’s media and what moves it forward. Thought leaders within outdoor media attend and speak at the event. The 2023 Outdoor Media Summit in Boise was the seventh iteration; the first was held in 2015.

The 2023 Outdoor Media Summit Awards included a Sponsor’s Choice and four categories in the People’s Choice voted on by peers within the media. The Judge’s Choice awards comprise 10 categories, including the B2B Story of the Year.

“There were some good B2B pieces out there but not a lot of longform or depth. And for a B2B piece to be good, it should have some sort of emotional reaction,” shares Outdoor Media Summit founder Yoon Kim. “This one just had the most depth, the most research. I haven’t been in the paddling industry for 50 years, but reading the story, I felt nostalgic.”

Each January, the Summit sends out its call for awards nominations. According to Kim, they receive thousands of nominations, and even after that, their steering committee seeks out more to be sure they are seeing the best of the best.

“In this case, it was a print story. I happen to get Paddling Business. I’ve got it sitting on my desk now,” Kim adds of Moag’s B2B feature rising to the top and his respect for the work of Paddling Business in the industry landscape. “People in the industry can say the magazine is a rallying point. Everyone is reading it and everyone is exposed to it.”

The 2024 Outdoor Media Summit will be held October 13–15 in Missoula, Montana.

Read Jeff Moag’s story “Looking Back at 50 Years of Paddlesports” in the 2023 issue of Paddling Business.



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