Save the date: the Paddlesports Trade Coalition (PTC) has officially announced its first annual industry event. The PTC Colab takes place September 3 to 6, 2024 at Riversport OKC in Oklahoma City and will bring together decision-makers from across the paddlesports industry.

The Inaugural PTC Colab

The itinerary of the four-day event at Riversport is still being finalized, but according to the PTC, certain elements can be expected. The first full day of the Colab, September 4, will include the PTC’s imperative element: an annual general meeting for the organization and its members to take the state of and guide the direction of the organization. Along with the general meeting, the first day is expected to have focus groups and an evening social gathering.

“I’d love to have people leave this annual general meeting seeing that we need a strong voice. That we need a member base to activate and engage,” shares Stig Larsson, CEO of Level Six and chairman of the PTC board of directors. “The goal is for this to be a member-driven organization, not 11 board members deciding what’s best for the organization. We want 1,000 members guiding the voice of the Trade Coalition.”

Riversport OKC
Feature Image: Riversport OKC

The second stage of the PTC Colab builds on Larsson’s message. Days two and three of the Colab will largely host workshops, focus groups, and guest speakers curated for the industry audience. Along with these, the Colab will also include an element of new product showcases and the opportunity to demo products on the Riversport whitewater and flatwater facilities.

“We want people to walk away from the event inspired to engage with this market as a whole.”

There is still discussion as to whether non-PTC members will be able to participate in the Colab and in what scope. Overall, though, the PTC’s hope is to grow its member base — which currently numbers 106 representatives of brands, retailers, sales reps and others — and have Colab attendees leave fired up about the paddling industry.

“Our goal this year is to give everyone a good, solid event with lots of education and opportunity,” says PTC executive director Jeff Turner. “We want to get the industry together and make sure everyone leaves saying, ‘We want to do that again.'”

“We want people to walk away from the event inspired to engage with this market as a whole,” Larsson adds. In addition to serving as chairman of the PTC board, Larsson is also leading the subcommittee planning the event.

The paddling industry nonprofit has decided to manage the Colab in-house, rather than bringing in a third party to run the event. According to Larsson, running the Colab through the PTC provides them the ability to keep the focus where they would like it directed—toward education and engagement for the industry rather than going down the path of a traditional tradeshow. And Larsson believes the PTC will do a much better job of curating the Colab experience for education and gathering.

Along with Riversport, the PTC is working closely with Oklahoma City’s tourism board—which is continuing to prioritize expanding its role with the paddlesport community—to support logistics surrounding accommodations and flights, among other components of putting on the event.

Evolving Leadership Within the PTC

The PTC Colab is just one piece of the puzzle for the organization seeking to unify the paddlesports industry. Among other functions, the makeup of the PTC leadership continues to evolve.

Jeff Turner, who took on the role of interim executive director of the PTC when it first formed, recently resigned from his 13-year role as the sales director of Kokatat, and has now accepted the post of full-time executive director of the PTC.

The faces of the PTC board of directors have changed as well since the board election took place just two months ago. Jim MacAllister, director of U.S. sales at Northwest River Supplies, stepped down from the board alongside the announcement of his resignation from NRS to accept a position outside the paddling industry. Based on PTC bylaws, the vacant brand member seat has been filled by Phil Walczynski, owner of Colorado-based company Down River Equipment.

Associate board member Kelley Woolsey has also stepped down from his elected seat, with his vacancy filled by Cristin Plaice, director of marketing and business development and co-owner of Rapid Media (Paddling Magazine’s parent company).

“Paddling has been a source of so much happiness in my life,” shares Plaice who is excited for the opportunity to further serve the industry. “I am committed to leveraging my marketing and media experience to support the association in expanding North America’s paddlesports industries, getting more people on the water, and increasing the bottom line for our members.”

With the inaugural PTC Colab less than six months away, the organization has a full plate of plans to make, including the finalized schedule of events and details surrounding the logistics of putting on the event. For further details, visit and continue to follow Paddling Magazine for updates.



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