Outdoor Retailer Australia Show ’17

 I went to the ORA (Outdoor Retailer Australia show) for a day to have a chat with some people and check out all the new gear that is coming to Australia over the next few months. I teamed up with guest blogger Jason Lorch, editor from Tyres and Soles, who wrote the words below. T&S do loads of great gear reviews on their site and I thought this was exactly their cup of tea. 


It was our first time at the ORA show and I only wish we had gone for more than one day. It was on from the 18th – 20th June 2017 at the Royal Hall of Industries and the Hordern Pavilion, Moore Park.

We couldn’t shoot every product as some were pre-production and prototype models, and the exhibitors didn’t want us shooting those, which is totally understandable. We understand that you need to keep a few tricks up your sleeve in this industry. It’s also worth noting that this event is primarily focused on B2B, so business is key here and media although welcomed, are not the highest on the agenda for the exhibitors. Again, we understand and respect that.

But rest assured, we saw a lot and you should all be getting excited about the new products heading your way.

AXISGO (Aquatech)

Aquatech have been around for years making submersible camera housing and other protective gear, at the highest quality. After making very specific products for a certain target market, Aquatech have now jumped into the global market of the smart phone with their AXISGO iPhone underwater case and we managed have a play with it.

The AXISGO is a housing kit that allows you take your iPhone down to depths of 10 metres! It comes in 3 colour choices, with a trigger handle (which was brilliant!) and different housing lenses for different image effects. We saw some of the photos that had been taken with this gadget and the results were astonishing!

AXISGO

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The impressive AXISGO underwater housing for iPhones from AquaTech. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The AXISGO has several different dome options that produce some incredible imagery. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

Barz Optics

Barz Optics is an Australian based family company located at Burleigh Heads in Queensland on the east coast of Australia. They offer a huge range of optics and frame types for any situation. Floating models, kids polarised models, melanin infused polarised sunglass lenses, polarised lenses with bifocal reader, prescription lenses….

New products at the show included their latest floating model, the Polarised Photochromic BiFocal Reader – the Cabo, as well as the new kids floating polarised model, the Grom. They’ve also released a cycling focused model which have been very popular with the cycling community to date. We recommend you checking them out.

Barz Optics

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
Barz Optics had a huge range of their glasses at the stand. Any combination or prescription type can be tailored for. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The Barz Optics polarised sunglasses with Bifocal reader lenses! Pic:©Richard McGibbon

LifeStraw

LifeStraw started in 1994 with their first filter that could remove Guinea worm larvae from water. It then evolved into a more effective pipe form in 1999 and is essentially the design you see today. Since then, more than 37 million LifeStraw Guinea Worm filters have contributed to the near-eradication of the disease.

The design is simple, elegant and highly effective at removing 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. It weighs only 57grams and can be placed into your pack or pocket. You can literally drop down to a dirty puddle and suck it up. The effect it has had on third world communities has been hugely impactful.

LifeStraw now have a range of products from the individual LifeStraw, LifeStraw Go, LifeStraw Mission and the LifeStraw Family. Plus, for each LifeStraw that is purchased, one school child in a developing community receives safe drinking water for an entire school year.

LifeStraw

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
LifeStraw. A device that’s helping millions of people around the world access clean water. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

UQUIP

One of the main purposes of attending the ORA 2017 show was to discover new brands. One such brand is UQUIP. A small company based in Bad Bramstedt in Northern Germany (close to Hamburg). They produce a range of camping products such as stools, beds, portable storage, mats and lights.

What impressed us was the detail and the level of quality in their designs. One item caught our eye straight away. It was a teeny weeny folding chair, that looked as if it would fit a very small dog or kitten. In fact it can hold up to 150kgs of weight yet it only weighs 250grams! So we just had to test this out for ourselves.

Although I’m nowhere near that weight, it felt incredibly secure and rigid under me. It was also surprisingly comfortable.  We could see this stool being incredibly handy for many uses especially for the professional photographer who needs to carry a lot of stuff around and sitting in the same spot for long periods of time.

UQIP

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
UQUIP are developing some very high quality camping products. Definitely worth checking them out. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
No, there was no forced perspective or crazy Lord of the Rings photo magic going on here. The stool really is that small and incredibly strong. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
 

THERMAREST

We’re fans of the THERMAREST products, namely their air mattresses and sleeping bags but we haven’t had much exposure to their tent range, so were happy  to see their Tranquility tent on display.  The tent itself appeared well built and had all the quality you would expect from this brand. It is aimed more at car camping, so don’t expect anything lightweight that you can carry in your pack for multiple days.

The 4 man tent weighs in at 5.19 kg. If you’re looking for high quality and not concerned about weight for those short trips to your favourite car camp spot, then you’d do well with these tents. Thermarest offer a range of 4 to 6 man tents, shelters and footprints.

THERMAREST

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The Tranquility tent by Thermarest. Perfect for car camping. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

The Tent Field

We headed out to the tent area where a lot of tents were set up, in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
One man tent from Zempire. A New Zealand company making it’s way here to Australia. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The Easy Up tent by Outdoor Connection. Super-easy to set up but you may need a degree in mathematics to pack it down. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
We are a big fan of the fly style shelter. So easy to set up and you can arrange them in a variety of ways, depending on the location and the weather conditions. This was from Outdoor Connections. Sometimes simplicity is the best. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

PELICAN

Pelican have been around for years and are best known for their virtually indestructible travel cases. What caught our eye this year was their range of drinkware and cooler boxes. The Traveler Tumbler can store hot or cold liquids at the correct temperature all day, and come with a narrower bottom section so they can fit into most vehicle holders.

We were told that the cooler boxes can retain ice for ten days!  One of the Pelican exhibitors recently came back from a ten day fishing trip where he had fish stored in the box but was dubious about opening it up and releasing all the cold air, but he took a gamble and opened it anyway. To his surprise there was still ice in the bottom, after ten days!

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The new cooler boxes and travel tumblers from Pelican. They even come in colours other than black and white. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

ONE PLANET

The reason we didn’t shoot as much as we wanted was that we got stuck at the One Planet stand for longer than expected. We’re big fans of One Planet and any opportunity to catch up with them is a bonus for us. One Planet are based out of Melbourne and have been manufacturing outdoor equipment for more than 30 years. They have a reputation for creating gear that’s incredibly tough and durable.

It’s was great to see how the One Planet range has evolved over time. Offering more and more products each year, from their beloved backpacks and sleeping bags to tents, jackets and footwear. They still remain true to their core market and their consistency for high quality, super-tough gear can be seen across all of these products.

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The Stiletto High Visibility pack is stunning and was a pleasant surprise from their usual dark blue or red colours. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
It’s been great to see the One Planet brand and product range grow over the years. Check out the little kiddies range, bottom right. The One Planet range at the ORA 2017 show is a testament that they are providing solutions not only to the hardcore adventurer but also the daily commuters. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The new down jackets coming out are impressive and we’re very excited to see these hit the shelves. The two models on offer were targeted at typical Winter conditions through to high altitude mountaineering conditions. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
ora 2017
The Cocoon Sleeping bag from One Planet. There are some very nice features on this bag. Small details that make a big difference when out in the field. We particularly liked the way they have designed the baffle as to not get caught in the zip. We know only to well how frustrating that can be. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

 
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The Duffle bags come in a range of sizes and colours. We think you could literally hang a small car off the straps of these. They’re called Tuff Nut for a reason. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
One Planet admit that the “4Midable” tent, blurs the line between a tent and a fly, and defies pigeonholing, we’d have to agree. It’s simple and versatile. The tent can be pitched using trekking poles to save weight. You can add the footprint and an optional inner mesh, turning it into a bug-free retreat for two. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
There was a new shoe on display at the ORA 2017 show. It had a mix of an approach shoe with its lacing system and rubber toe area and a hiking shoe with its  grip and aggressive tread. We really liked it. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
No show is complete without a few freebies. Yep, someone has to look like a plonker, so I took that award out on the day, but thanks to XTM Performance for this awesome little free gift. A beanie with a detachable head light. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

All in all it was a really good show with a ton of interesting brands and products on display, I just wished we’d come for more than one day. If you want to find out who was exhibiting, then just click here for the full list of exhibitors.


Author: Jason Lorch

Born and grew up in Wales but now a fully fledged Aussie. A passionate mountain biker, hiker and general nature addict. He also fancies himself as a bit of a muso and enjoy a good craft beer every now and again (probably too often).

His blog at Tyres and Soles will inspire people to get out there and experience first hand, the natural wonders that surround them. and is well worth checking out. Be sure and go get lost in the stories and reviews over at Tyres and Soles.

 

True Grit 2017

A couple of weekend ago I went and covered perhaps the toughest race that I have covered to date, True Grit. True Grit is a military inspired obstacle race held over a 10km or so track. What makes it so tough though is that there is also a smaller True Grit run in conjunction which is a punishing 24hr obstacle race and is also the Australian Titles. It was the 24hr part that I came to cover.

Heavy rain preceded the event and was forecast to continue over the weekend. I got out onto course just after the main race from day 1 finished up. I started out with the closest obstacles, a rope crossing and a 10ft wall climb. On the wall climb team work or help from strangers went a long way to getting up and over. A last gasp from the weather and the rain hammered down for an hour or so. Thankfully the Canon gear is pretty well waterproof throw on an OP Tech rain sleeve and an umbrella in between competitors goes along way to keeping the gear dry. 

One section was called the muddy mile but due to the rain was more like a mile walking through a river. The muddy mile finished with having to duck under some barbed wire however around 3 in the morning the wire duck had to be closed off due to the river rising and covering the barbed wire.

I got so wrapped up in shooting that my night went way longer than expected. I grabbed an hour and a half sleep but think that I shot for around 20 out of the 24hr race. Its events like this that I love. Night shooting always adds an extra dimension and there is just so much variety in things going on to shoot

If you think this is up your alley you can check out all the details and get involved with the event when it next comes around over at the True Grit website here. They also run the standard True Grit in other cities around Australia.

 

 

Bboys and Cypher

I had the chance to get out and shoot with some of the Bboys from the Cypher dance show as they came to Sydney. Cypher is a show featuring breaking or breakdance that was playing at the Sydney Opera House. I had met Bboy Blue last year when I was shooting Destructive Steps for Redbull last year. Destructive steps was the qualifying round for the biggest breaking contest, Redbull’s BC One.

 I met up with bboys Blue, Stevie G and Akorn at the Opera House and we wandered around grabbing a few shots when we found a location that we thought would be cool. We didn’t shot for long but these guys made it super easy to get some great shots. The skill and coordination these guys display is just amazing to watch. Below is a bunch of the shots we got on the evening. 

Be sure and keep a lookout for the show if it comes your way. I think its over for this season but I am sure it will be back for next year

A Right Royal Adventure Race

Last weekend saw 2 days of adventure racing through the Royal National Park in Sydney’s South East. The event sports a variety of disciplines that sees athletes mountain biking, trail running, orienteering and kayaking through some of the parks fabulous scenery.

This was round 3 of Paddy Pallin‘s Adventure Series. The first one for the series was Cam’s Wharf near Newcastle then it went up to Queensland for round 2 and later in the year the 4th and final round will be in Glenbrook in the lower Blue Mountains.

Both days started off chilly down by the edge of the Hacking river but as the sun broke through things warmed up a bit. Sunday was a fantastic day for racing and being out and about. Saturday remained a bit cloudy but was fantastic light for photography with the clouds creating a one big soft box effect.

Here’s a few highlights from the race below. The full gallery can be found  the Outer Image website here where you can buy your images if you raced.

The results can be found over on Maximum Adventure’s website here.

 

The Willo Enduro ’17

Last weekend I was down at Wingello State forest in the Southern Highlands for the annual Willo Enduro. The Willo is one of my favourite races to shoot simply because it is held on such a beautiful track. There are certain sections on the track that are just a photographer’s dream. 

The weather for the Willo is typically a blanket of grey cloudy with a slight drizzle in the air. While that may not sound too tempting for most people, it is great for shooting in the deep dark forests that the race is held in. It drops the contrast right down so instead of having dark shade with super bright patches of light you get a wonderful even and soft light everywhere. 

I went down to Nyes Creek crossing, a beautiful section of rainforest and ferns. I had shot there my first year and knew it to be a stunning section. Overnight rain had left the track slick and muddy and had more than a few riders sliding around in the damper sections. There is a section of tight switchbacks leading out of Nyes Creek. I thought this would make a great shot as riders snaked their way up in a line. As I was sitting, waiting for the first riders I realised that the switchbacks would probably be too challenging for most riders given how tight they are and how slick the track is. Since I was shooting for competitors rather than editorial, I quickly grabbed together all my gear and ran further down to where the majority of the riders would still be on there bikes. Not too many people appreciate shots of themselves pushing their bike uphill. Thankfully, around Nyes Creek, there is so many shots to be had and I was able set up again and still have a few moments before the first riders came.

This was my first year covering the event for competitors though I have shot it over previous years for an editorial basis. Normally I have had to move around a lot more but since it as competitors and only a 3 lap race I basically stayed put. Luckily since it is such a beautiful section there is an abundance of shots and angles. It was nice to be able to tinker with my lighting and try to get a shot exactly how I envisioned it. There was a break after the first lap so I moved 50m’s up hill and then another 10m’s further for my 3rd shot. I’m sure in that 60m I could have found moore shots too. 

After the race I headed up to Bundanoon and spent the night in Morton National park. I awoke to the sound of a young lyrebird outside my car learning to sing. There was steady rain but in between the clouds there was a little bit of magic in the valley below as the forest came to life. Cockatoos, black cockatoos lyrebirds and beautiful scenery.

If you want to see the complete gallery of photos and grab your images from the day they can be found here on our website.

If you have an event that you would like covered swing on over to Outer Image and touch base with us so we can work out how best to suit your needs

Jetblack 24hr MTB

Last weekend saw the 2017 running of the Jetblack 24hr MTB race. This year the race was held at Awaba on the NSW Central Coast.

 A crack in my radiator saw me running late to the event and missing the start which was a shame as there is always great shots to be had of the pack leaving the gate. In one way though, it was kind of a blessing as, for the first time, I was in the start area for the running of the kids race. I’m are normally out on track by this time and miss shooting it every time.  

 Once out on track the warm day saw thunderstorms building and it wasn’t long before they rolled on in. I stayed out through the rain well protected in my rain gear and dry under an umbrella but when the bolts of lightning started to get close I returned back to the car for a quick break and sit the rest of the storm out.

 Night fell and I kept it close to the camp and start area. There is plenty to shoot in close vicinity. I found a nice little bridge and started dragging my shutter to get the nice long light trails and used a combination of flashes to capture the rider as they went past. 

  I snuck in a couple of hours sleep and set off again in the morning. After a short walk out I found myself in an area completely new to me. The rainforest here was nice and dark with a few patches of sunlight in which to trap the riders. I know there is still another section further out that I haven’t had the chance to visit yet but that will have to wait till the next time.

 24hrs are tough races. They are physically and mentally exhausting for the riders but also to a degree for us. They do offer some fantastic opportunities to get shots that you wouldn’t normally be able to get during a usual days race, the night shots and the golden light of morning and sunsets (we missed this due to the heavy cloud cover this time). Because of all the variations 24hr races are among my favourite to cover.

 If you want to see the complete gallery of photos they’re on the OuterImage website and can be viewed here.

If you have an event that you would like covered swing on over to Outer Image and touch base with us so we can work out how best to suit your needs