Recently, we were granted inside access to the mind and inner-workings of Lindsay Merchant, founder, owner, and principal designer of North Water Paddle Sports Equipment. We asked him a few questions which we will be publishing the answers to here on the North Water Blog. Our first question for Lindsay was about the history of North Water (i.e. how it all started).
NW Blog: Your company, North Water Paddle Sports Equipment has been in operation for many years. What started it all for you and what was the first piece of gear the N.W. officially produced and manufactured?
Lindsay Merchant: When I was a young man, a friend of mine was thrown out of his boat while canoeing which resulted in him breaking his neck. It was a harrowing experience but, as a born problem-solver, it gave me the resolve to take paddling safety seriously by designing my first product, an improved version of a rescue belt that helped people to get out of cold water rivers quickly. From the beginning we have designed all North Water safety and rescue gear to be as effective and reliable as possible, always with an emphasis on custom designing related to the specific needs of a paddler, being able to keep turning that product out in record time while making it last beyond the life of the paddler. I think water rescue is as dynamic as its environment, so I often tend to over engineer what I build, trying to make it work for as many different scenarios as possible.
Check back here soon or watch the North Water Facebook page for the next question we put to Lindsay... this time about his total refusal to manufacture North Water gear anywhere but North America.