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Happy Paddlin’ – Ethan Ebersold

Meet Ethan Ebersold – Sales Rep for Ebersold Distribution

(Eddyline Kayaks, Aqubound & Bending Branches Paddles, Ice Mule Coolers)

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Latest Entry in our ongoing Blog series “Meet Our Sales Reps”.

Tell us a bit about your background.  When did you first get involved with paddlesports and the outdoor industry?
I’m from the upper midwest and grew up always playing and paddling in the water as much as I could. My parents took us to the Boundary Waters when I was only 6 and my two older sisters used to paddle the canoe while I kept them entertained from the middle seat. (They may have called it something other then entertaining.) I paddled in high school and then fell in love with solo canoe paddling in college because I could actually paddle to class in the water rich town of Madison WI.

My first kayak was an Aquaterra Chinook when I was 10 years old. I used to paddle the Mississippi River out the back door of our home in Wabasha MN. For our family, paddling became a way for us to all be together without interruption from the normal day to day distractions. It was about camping and playing. We were in the water as much as we were on the water. Never been afraid of a swim!

What was your first job? What led you to your current job as a sales rep for Eddyline Kayaks?
My roommate in college crashed my Toyota Tercel and I took his insurance pay off and bought a solo Kevlar canoe. That dedication to owning a canoe and no car landed me a job in a canoe/kayak shop in Madison WI for 4 years while I completed a degree in Forestry. After graduating, I had a diploma in one hand and a paddle in the other. The Paddlesports connections I made came calling when I moved west in 2000 and I found myself working sales rep within 6 months of graduating college. Thought it was going to be just a between real jobs type of thing, but as it turns out it has been a great way to see the Western US. I had several key mentors whom I owe so much… Carl Busjahn of Carl’s Paddlin’, Kurt Renner (longtime Wenonah Canoe rep), Tom/Lisa Derrer (owner’s of Eddyline) to name a few.

What do enjoy most about being a sales rep? What’s your biggest challenge?
I enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories. I enjoy assisting new friends reach their dreams of paddling or opening a paddlesports business. My biggest challenge is leaving my young kids and wife at home while I travel. I also think that the long time road rep’s perspective slowly becomes so different from the rest of the world that we may actually risk becoming totally out of touch with the typical new paddler or shop owner/employee. Long term physical displacement, lots of windshield time and sleeping on a pile of demo life jackets can alter one’s programming.

Describe the most unusual trend that you’ve experienced in paddlesports?
SUP Yoga. How many accessories do we need for the pursuit of zen/nothingness? Yoga is now a 4 Billion $ industry! It seems there has been a complete monetization of something that was meant to be about pure inward exploration, realization and nothingness. However, if someone is finding a road to better health, than I am all for it! But, if you told me 15 years ago that people would be doing yoga in full sunlight on a surf board on a lake I would have never believed it.

What sort of future trends do you predict happening in the next 5 – 10 years?
Hopefully, More White Water parks!! 
The industry will continue to fragment like the bike biz. Fishing kayak shops will have their clientele, touring shops will do their thing, whitewater shops will be back to the old days, box stores will carry a lot of toy-yaks. There will be a few “do it all” shops but customers will have the option to find specialists.

More lawn chair kayaks. A new material in SUPs that can take impact. On board lights and solar charging stations on touring boats. A bunch of SUP companies will go out of business or be sold to parent companies. Asian soft good production will decrease with increased inflation in these fast growing nations. Several companies have already moved their sewing back to the US or Mexico for these reasons. 

Which Eddyline Kayaks do you paddle? What’s your favorite paddle? Why?
I paddle all of them because I have a trailer full of them. I get to choose the right one for the type of water I am near. Just like a golf club selection. Same with paddles. I have about 30 personal paddles in my shed. I love them all and use the one that best matches my mood. 
Often times I am in the Raven or Samba because they “feel” just right for me. 
I have been using smaller blades because my shoulders are getting tired.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not on the road as a sales rep?

Anything with my family. Music. Not turn on my car for days when I am home.

Anything else you would like to add?
Be sure to mix 9 parts paddling to 1 part reading-about-paddling if you are trying to do “research” into your first craft.

Ethan Ebersold

Ebersold Distribution

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