Five locations in Upstate New York
About Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company
The east coast of America is not the center of the paddleboarding world. Our shores are smooth, our mountains small. We don’t have surf shop after surf shop, supporting a long tradition of board sports. Paddleboarders are uncommon, places to buy paddleboards rarer still. Imagine my surprise when I learned of Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company, the one of the largest watersports outlets in the country, which was located in upstate New York. I contacted them and had the pleasure of meeting with John Nejmo, the founder of the company as well as his sales manager Joseph Vidarte. They generously showed me their Saratoga sites and shared everything they could about their business.
Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company was started in 1993 in the small Adirondack town of Inlet, NY as an outdoor camping and backpacking store, but it slowly grew. By 1995, the store was profitable. In 1999, Mountainman expanded to Old Forge. In 2008 the business purchased a trailer park site right on the Moose River, where they have a thriving kayak, canoe, and SUP business with both rentals and sales. They also opened up their first store in downtown Saratoga Springs and in 2013 they established a waterfront presence in Saratoga with another retail and rental site. The Old Forge site especially is one of the best places to paddle the Adirondack region. A special trip offered is a three hour paddle down the scenic Moose River, allowing paddlers a leisurely trip downstream. Bring your waterproof camera!
A Mountainman store is an outdoor lover’s dream: kayaks, hiking boots, camping gear, clothing, and of course, paddleboards. While this isn’t a SUP specific business, Mountainman is one of the only SUP retailers in the Adirondack park. People unfamiliar with the park may not be impressed, but this park is huge. It’s the largest contiguous protected forest in the United States, with more than six million acres and encompassing over a hundred towns and villages. It’s also a water-lover’s paradise with thousands of lakes, ponds, and rivers. This includes long water trails with established campsites and whitewater for the truly adventurous.
Mountainman sells about 250 SUPs a year, which is amazing considering that paddling is a seasonal business. (Remember, we’re in the northern latitudes here. Canada is just a hop, skip, and jump north.) They sell Bic, Boardworks, Pau Hana, NRS, Red Paddle, and Bote. Since the business is so far from the SUP mainstream, reps are critical for Mountainman’s SUP business. It’s only through them that they really can have any sort of presence. Their stock tends to run towards simpler all-around and sturdier models rather than the high performance, delicate hulls we tend to see on the coasts. This is the mountains, after all! You need a board that can survive the rough and tumble.
To truly engage the Adirondack and upstate community in paddling, Mountainman hosts the Saratoga (May 6–7, 2017) and Adirondack (May 19–21, 2017) Paddlefests. This is a weekend event — unique for the northeast region — where you can try as many watercraft as you want. If you’re in the region and want to buy a board, this is the place to be. Following these are the SUPfests, July 16 in Old Forge and July 17 in Saratoga. You can also check the MountainmanOutdoors website, www.mountainmanoutdoors.com, for more information. SUPexaminer will be doing some subsequent articles on this event, coming soon.
Even if you’re just passing through, I highly recommend a visit to any of the Mountainman Outdoor Supply locations. It may seem strange that the retail center of New York State paddling lies upstate and not on the Hudson or Mohawk River, but the truth is the Adirondacks attracts many vacationers throughout the year. You’ll be amazed too at the breadth of equipment you can find here — their shelves are literally stuffed with gear! Spend some time talking with their salespeople, who are all experienced outdoors adventurers, not professional salespeople. While you might come in looking for the SUPs, take a gander at the elegant canoes and high-tech kayaks. Or maybe get one of their Life Is Good shirts or a hat. This is the kind of store which makes you want to open your wallet, in a good way!
Map of the Locations