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NW Marine Trades Buys Stand-Up Paddle Fest


The Northwest Marine Trade Association, which long has represented more than 700 firms involved in the recreation boating business and is the producer of the Seattle Boat Show, has taken a logical next step: it has acquired the Northwest Paddling Festival.

“Paddling is a passion for thousands of boaters in our region and the festival is a wonderful venue to grow the sport,” said George Harris, president of NMTA.

This year’s festival will be May 10 on Lake Sammamish, east of Seattle. Last year’s event attracted nearly 1,000 paddling enthusiasts. The festival also includes the Northwest Paddling Challenge, a six-mile race for kayakers, stand-up paddle boarders and outriggers.

Greg Whitaker of Paddle Events LLC, which started the festival program three years ago, said stand-up paddle boarding is “exploding around the world (and) with the skilled staff and experience the NMTA brings to the table we feel the show will continue to grow and evolve.”

Acquisition of the paddleboat festival reflects the association’s recent efforts to expand. For years it has represented builders, brokers, marinas, boatyards, accessory manufacturers and retailers. In 2011 it established a Super Yacht Committee with the goal of drawing large, ocean-going yachts to the cruising waters in the Pacific Northwest. NMTA has been lobbying the state’s legislature to reduce heavy taxes levied on some visiting super yachts.