Magazine: Interview with David Bain – NRS x Pyranha

David Bain ©J.Klatt

PG24: David, Pyranha and NRS recently announced an exciting new partnership that places you in a central role—congratulations. Can you tell us more about the motivation driving this decision?

DB:  At the heart of this strategic partnership is the ability of both companies, NRS and Pyranha, to increase the effectiveness of our businesses and help retailers grow theirs. The opportunity for the two brands to work together in Europe allows us to offer the paddling community a gold-medal standard of customer service and availability alongside industry-leading product lines.

PG24: You have been NRS since its beginnings in Europe. What will your position be at Pyranha, and how will your new role impact your responsibilities with NRS?

DB: Whilst my title has changed from NRS European Sales and Marketing Agent to Commercial Director at Pyranha Mouldings, I have one job, and that is to support our team (which now includes a few key—and wonderful) people at NRS, our product lines, and our customers at Pyranha. My role as Commercial Director includes overseeing this strategic partnership, and the obligations that Pyranha has. I’ll continue working closely with NRS USA to maintain the global vision for NRS and guide NRS Europe with the support of Pyranha’s dedicated teams of paddle sport-loving people.

PG24: There is no better person to take on this role, given your experience in the industry and longstanding relationship with both companies. What are your thoughts on the partnership and what it can achieve?

DB: Thanks for the vote of confidence! I certainly think the partnership is a smart move; bringing these two leading companies together is too good an opportunity to be missed. It’s an exciting new chapter, and I’m thrilled to take on the role of Commercial Director and continue working with two brands that have known me since the age of 15. It’s nice to think I have something to offer both Pyranha and NRS and can help make this partnership possible. What lies ahead is incredibly promising, and I am genuinely excited about the future of paddle sports. More people are embracing the water than ever before, and working with two companies that will help shape that future is a privilege. With that said, this partnership is about much more than the excitement or vision of any one person.

PG24: What is the single biggest advantage you see to this strategic partnership?

DB: Expanded teams of experienced and dedicated paddle sports lovers in charge of customer service, sales, and marketing, all operating within the European time zone, focused on the needs of the European market. We hope this additional support gives retailers the confidence to work with NRS and Pyranha to support their businesses and commercial success. Anything else that happens along the way is all good and part of the adventure.

The NRS and the Pyranha Staff hand in hand at the Paddle Sports Show 2023 ©R.Getraud/paddlesportshow

PG24: Will some of the Pyranha staff now be working for NRS, or will NRS customers be working with Pyranha staff?

DB: Pyranha will provide all the support services traditionally required, overseen by me. We have made team adjustments to accommodate this and improve the buying and selling experience for existing NRS customers.

PG24: Will NRS and Pyranha also be sharing distribution channels or collaborating on other initiatives?

DB: No, there is no distribution arrangement. NRS and Pyranha will continue to send products through their own channels, and NRS will continue to store and distribute products out of the Netherlands. The partnership only extends to aspects that involve communications, relationships, and building reliability for our customers: Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service activities. Again, the distribution of the two companies and the invoicing remains completely separate.

PG24: What will be the added value for end consumers and paddlers?

DB: By improving our availability, communications, and service, retailers will be better positioned to support the end consumer with the Pyranha and NRS products they love. Of course, we also love to attend events and spend time on the ground —after all, most events involve paddling—and hope to support as many as possible, the real benefit to paddlers on the ground will be led by our retail and commercial partners.

PG24: Will this collaboration increase access to new markets?

DB: Both NRS and Pyranha are committed to supporting our vast network of existing retail outlets, be it within the outdoor recreation, specialist paddlesport enthusiasts, or commercial use markets. Retailers are the foundation for a strong industry, and our support is unwavering. That said, we know there are areas where we can improve our distribution through availability and product suitability, and of course, evolving how we support these key geographical and market areas is critical for the future.

PG24: Is there a chance we’ll see NRS distribute Pyranha products in North America in the future?

DB: Pyranha US has been hugely successful, and is an integral part of Pyranha’s business. Chris Hipgrave, Mike Patterson, and the entire US team have been key to this success. We don’t see any changes to our US distribution in the pipeline— although we have some hugely exciting developments led by Pyranha US for Canada, which will make boats far more readily available to the paddlers we know have been longing for our Pyranha and P&H ranges.

PG24: How do you see the values of Pyranha and NRS aligning, historically and in terms of goals for the future of the European paddle sport market?

DB: NRS and Pyranha, while many miles apart, have many similarities. Bill Parks of NRS and Graham Mackereth built companies founded in teamwork and a strong passion for paddling, with an ethos to create industry-leading products and put the community first. This home truth is still held close to everything we look to do. Both companies are always looking to improve the sport for the people in it, including the NRS and Pyranha employees who enjoy their spare time on the water. Both brands already serve retailers across Europe, and share the goals to always support customers to the best of our ability and bolster the industry with community empowerment and the very best products on the market.

PG24: NRS and Pyranha have traditionally promoted sustainability initiatives, community events, and environmental non-profits. Will this remain a focus in the future?

DB: Absolutely. Supporting NGO partners, be they environmental or community-focused, is supporting the industry we love. Whilst cash injection is incredibly important for NGOs to operate, the partnership will also allow us to use our vast communications channels to amplify our partners’ messages, hopefully allowing them greater impact and success with their goals.

PG24: So, what is the plan for 2024? What is the long-term goal for NRS, Pyranha, and for this new partnership? How do you feel about the future?

DB: The last few years have been a rollercoaster for our industry, with highs and lows. We see a bright future, though, with a strong industry that we are grateful to be part of. This dynamic environment is what makes working in paddlesports exhilarating. As we enter the 2024 season, Pyranha and NRS will continue launching groundbreaking products—lots are in the works already!—and using this partnership to improve paddler experiences and enjoyment on the water and off.

PG24: Is there anything you hope to achieve as Commercial Director?

DB: As Commercial Director, my attention is consistently directed towards creating a business that enhances the overall experience of those who spend time on the water in our products and contributing to the growth and sustainability of our own business, and the paddle sports industry as a whole. My core focus remains supporting Pyranha in all we do, while looking critically at how our business can actively support and contribute to the paddle sports community, whether that’s overseeing the success of this partnership, collaborating with non-profits to dismantle entry barriers within our sport, engaging in environmental initiatives, participating in events that ignite enthusiasm within the industry, or crafting a diverse range of products to meet the varied needs of paddlers.

PG24: Does that mean you are on the hunt for new staff?

DB: The hunt, maybe not, but we are always keen to hear from people who want to partner or work with us, from a young ambassador, which is where I began with both brands, to anyone who feels like the paddle sports industry is the right place for them and their future. You know where we are.

Read the 2024 Paddle Sport Show Paddler’s Guide

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