Over the past weekend Soul River Runs Deep traveled to pristine Idaho Falls, Idaho for an industry rendezvous trade show. The event brought out a few of Loop’s Army including Loop’s Shane Wootan and James Park, as well as Thad of Motive, Dr. Z., and Weapon. It was great to be among some industry leaders who share a forward-thinking approach to the industry, wondering what the next biggest concept or brand will be brought to the forefront intended to keep the fly fishing industry not just alive but thriving and pulsating with new, diverse generations.
Hanging out with James and Shane of LOOP has more of a deeper meaning than just talking about rivers, fish, or the latest gear. It is a genuine connection, complex, true to the soul and they are damn grounded in their focus on the less popular, the more critical – the real future of the industry! Chasing big fish is what a lot of anglers strive to do but sooner or later the pursuit becomes less about the chase and more about creating a healthy culture with deeper meaning amongst your connection to the outdoors – from puddle jumping, to wading in the river or simply siting along the trails to take in Mother Nature. What makes the magic happens with James and Shane and the rest of the family here is their deep strategic thought process behind fly fishing and management style within their facilities. The behind-the-scenes operation within the business rolls out an operation of fine-tuned management from shipping and product development to new business strategies. With a conscious give-back in hopes of seeing and growing the next generation of anglers, James and Shane never sit still but rather constantly stir ideas to support how we can change the way we fish, connect as inner-industry businesses and look towards a better tomorrow. Loop brands Soul River Inc with top notch fly gear such as the Evotech rods and reels which youth and veterans learn from on our deployments, enriching the experience of participant’s lives as they learn conservation, explore our public lands and wade in wild rivers.
The Cross S1 in stock and shipping out as we speak.
With such a high caliber of quality and performance merged with consciousness and forward-thinking amongst these anglers, it is refreshing in all our conversations to know that even though the fishing can be so serious for many anglers, these guys take fishing light in heart with passion from the soul that reminds me of why we are here. It doesn’t matter about how big the fish is. What matters is being out on the river, looking at the beauty around, chasing a small little brookie trout, holding nature’s beauty in your hand. An hour from Idaho Falls, we pulled off the highway and Shane shared about the range and the long, windy river no more the six-yards in width looking like nature’s vein cutting through the land. This was not what I am used to fishing in the Pacific Northwest but this river is a jewel of a playground from a beginner to the advanced angler. Its full of rainbow trout and brookies just wild and feasting on almost any type of fly you can throw. Every cast brings the kid out of you and makes you remember why you fish! And love fioshing 1 to 2 wt rods where I am used to 7 wt spey fishing! What a blast!
Fishing the small river in Idaho for trout with James Park.
Axe watching closely as I am fishing.
THE LOOP FAMILY!
Tight lines folks!
Design Week Portland was built on the strength of hundreds of independent design events. On April 15-16, 2016, it expands and opens with a two-day Main Stage event in Portland, Ore., including speakers from every design discipline. The event is expected to attract architects, urban planners, students, graphic designers, and digital professionals from across the U.S. and beyond.
Design Week Portland is a nonprofit organization that celebrates and promotes design as the city’s most promising cultural and economic resource. The mission of the organization is to increase awareness about design – what it is and what it can do for business, education and the economy in Portland. The aim is to help shape the evolving state of design in the city. Founded in Portland, Ore. in 2014. Festival launched in 2012.
“Design Week Portland creates important moments of overlap between design disciplines that stoke the flames of innovation and impact,” says festival director Tsilli Pines, who sees design as a cultural and economic resource. “The festival exists to galvanize the creative community and aims to fuel the city’s rise as an important design center. We look forward to increasing a dialogue between creatives in Portland and the rest of the world.”
The Main Stage speaker line-up is packed with visionaries influencing the industry and design community today, from Craig Dykers of Snøhetta, to Mike Thelin of Feast, to Genevieve Bell of Intel, as well as nine others, such as:
- Crystal Beasley, Designer, Qcut: Beasley trained as a UX designer and is working to bring digital maturity to the apparel business and fix an antiquated manufacturing paradigm that hasn’t changed in over one hundred years. Beasley and her team are working to solve how to fit women for jeans by creating a size-less system with more than 400 patterns.
- Chad Brown, Founder, Soul River Runs Deep: Brown is a trained designer and a U.S. Navy veteran who participated in Desert Storm and Desert Shield, served at Guantánamo Bay and saw combat during the Black Hawk Down era. He has launched a lifestyle fishing brand and a non-profit that connects disadvantaged youth with veterans via fishing excursions.
- Rob Walker, Writer: Walker is a contributor to Design Observer, writes The Workologist column for The New York Times, and contributes to numerous other publications. He writes about technology, design, business, marketing, the arts, and work.
To learn more about the brand Soul River click here!
Thank you to everyone.
It was a great honor to host Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Earl Blumenauer at Soul River’s retail shop and office on April 1st to celebrate the introduction of the new bill “Recreation, Not Red-Tape Act.”
It was a special experience for me to be able to attend the Seven Wonders of Oregon tour with Senator Wyden and Congressman Blumenauer last year. Everyone’s stories during those meetings made an impact on me. And I think perhaps my story made an impact on others.
My PTSD took me to some really dark places in my life. But rivers have helped me heal. I remember the first time I hooked in on a fish – I smiled for the first time in months. This was my sign to stay connected with the outdoors, whether it be through my design and apparel brand or to advocate for all people to have accessibility to the outdoors.
Out of this healing experience came Soul River Runs Deep, Portland’s first outdoor lifestyle apparel brand inspired by fly fishing. For every product sold at Soul River, 15% is given to our nonprofit Soul River Inc. Our mission is to serve veterans and inner city youth, many of whom are people of color, by connecting them to the outdoors. We use fly fishing as a base to build relationships through mentorship and creating ambassadors of conservation.
So I am really happy that the “Recreation, Not Red-Tape Act” will make it easier for youth and veterans to get outdoors onto our public lands. I know firsthand that veterans can heal with the help of the outdoors. I didn’t really make that lifesaving connection until after I left the military. So that’s why I think it’s great that the bill encourages all military branches to allow active-duty service members to engage in outdoor recreation activities.
Most of the youth I take fly-fishing for the first time have never been to public lands before. And for many it’s not easy for inner city youth to make it out of the city to go hiking or fishing. That’s why I think it’s smart that the bill uses schools to help get youth outside.
Under the “Recreation, Not Red-Tape Act”, agencies will give free “America the Beautiful” passes to schools that serve low-income students and their families.
Until the bill becomes law, I’ll keep doing my part to get youth of color out into the great outdoors. In fact, I have seven trips planned this summer exploring all public lands. I’m very excited to teach more youth how to fly fish in those deep river canyons and show them ancient tribal artwork on rock faces in Owyhee Canyonlands. I couldn’t be more thrilled to teach youth how to navigate through the Arctic Circle while maintaining their scientific journals. I am ecstatic to continue our annual trip to the Deschutes and it’s raw beauty.
Thank you all for your continued support. I am committed to working to protect our amazing public lands and waters, so that ALL generations today and tomorrow can continue to use and enjoy them. I am proud that Senator Wyden and Congressmen Blumenauer are leaders of this cause as well.