PILOTING: One of the World’s Oldest Professions?

October 30, 2015

PILOTING: One of the World’s Oldest Professions?

Meet the TRAK Pilots:

Zephyr in Australia has been doing cool customizations of his TRAK; Allie on Vancouver Island was featured in the TRAK Files video series; Gregor in Germany stepped up to join a European paddlesport show; Paul in South Carolina meets his customers on the water (sometimes in the Amazon); Whitney and Kevin in Florida love meeting with groups and showing off their TRAKs; Matthew in Seattle hosted a demo day in Pacific Northwest; Don in British Columbia demonstrated how to fly into the remote Arctic to paddle 400 km of river rapids; Martin in New Zealand is showing off TRAK at trade shows... 

What do they all have in common? They're all part of a unique community at TRAK. They're all helping fellow paddlers navigate the waters of the world, the way pilots did thousands of years ago!

What is TRAK's Pilot Program?

The word “pilot” actually comes from the Ancient Greek word meaning, “the blade of an oar”. Tens of thousands of years before the Greeks, the first humans navigated from Asia to Australia (45,000 BCE). These first navigators preceded trade and commerce. We built our entire civilization and our global economy on the shoulders of these courageous explorers. They were the first pilots.

TRAK borrowed the term to designate a special community of TRAK owners who wanted to go above and beyond. Today’s TRAK Pilots are our global ambassadors, a worldwide network of mobile free agents – a customer-support team – helping to open paddling possibilities and share their TRAK experience. A TRAK Pilot can help steer you wherever you want to go.


The Pilot Stage of the TRAK Pilot Program

The TRAK Pilot Program is also, well, exactly that... at the pilot stage! We've only just started. Like any community, it has grown organically. The community of TRAK Pilots is starting to serve everyone, with a camaraderie growing between them and connections expanding with TRAK owners and other paddlers. So far, it is working: TRAK Pilots are encouraged to freely contribute what they have to offer. There are no hard rules; the program is about participating, sharing and adding unique value. 

The first TRAK Pilots have stepped up – over 20 TRAK Pilots in 10 countries around the world:  United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Cambodia, New Zealand, UK, Switzerland, Brazil and Germany. They are kayakers, paddlers, sailers, instructors, travelers, explorers, photographers, teachers, hikers, riders, nature-lovers, swimmers, environmentalists, craftsmen and more. What they share is that they all own a TRAK and they want to expand the possibilities in our mission, Life Unleashed, across the world. 

Why does TRAK need Pilots?

"Thank you so much for putting me in contact with this TRAK Pilot…in person, WOW, what a great story teller… I appreciated having him available to show me a TRAK."

TRAK is committed that its fans and customers are able to reach out to a real human being, someone unbiased and objective about their experience with the product and the company. These are real people doing real things with their TRAK. There’s a TRAK Pilot for every level of experience from beginner to professional. TRAK Pilots help the company enhance relationships with paddlers, increase communication within the paddling community and ultimately help us better understand their needs. 

LEFT: TRAK Pilot-Couple, Whitney Sanford and Kevin Veach, demonstrated an unleashed life with their TRAK kayaks by paddling them through the Caribbean Islands on honeymoon! They continue to explore and enjoy each other's company through paddling and traveling.

As a global team, and growing (we expect the TRAK Pilot community to triple over the next few months), Pilots help make TRAK more widely available around the world. They help with our sales and marketing efforts, reaching out to new audiences and providing support, tips, guidance, advice and more.

Why would you want to meet a TRAK Pilot?

We know that many of you need to touch and see outdoor gear before you buy it, especially a major equipment purchase like a performance kayak. While our Dealers obviously have stock and experience with our product, we have a limited network of them. Our Pilots help extend our reach and provide an opportunity to demo and test-paddle a TRAK before buying it.

LEFT: TRAK Pilot Zack Kruzins inspires us and shows us what a folding kayak can really do on the surf "down under". When this picture was taken, he was just south of Canal Rocks, between Yallingup and Gracetown, Western Australia.

You might want to meet with a TRAK Pilot to simply learn more about our product, or for after-sale customer support and service. These folks can share first-hand paddling experience, insider insight, tips and tricks, destination ideas, trip planning and more. Pilots are not TRAK employees or representatives – they truly are “unleashed” free agents. They volunteered and applied to become TRAK Pilots because they believe in the company and the brand, and they receive great value in return.

Why would you want to be a TRAK Pilot?

After reading this far, maybe you’re a TRAK owner that’s inspired to take the next step and join the TRAK Pilot community. This really does give you a chance to connect more deeply with TRAK and help bring our mission to life for other paddlers. It takes more passion than time. You can put as much or as little into it – you're the one navigating – TRAK would just love to paddle with you!

ABOVE: TRAK Pilot Matthew Williams is a professional photographer and contributor to Outdoor Project – these are just some of the moments he captured paddling the Pacific Northwest.

Perhaps you see a business benefit – you already manage paddlesport sales or tours – and this makes a great win-win fit. Or you see this is a way to combine work with play; we have TRAK Pilots who are professional photographers and being a TRAK Pilot means they are out on the water more, capturing spectacular scenics and outdoor shots to add to their portfolio.

LEFT: TRAK Pilot Bruce Rickman celebrates life on the waters of the West Coast of Canada, well... he celebrates life everyday! He's been contributing pictures for years and just recently crafted this delightful video on his adventures crabbing in a TRAK.

Some TRAK Pilots are advanced paddlers, instructors and make it part of their professional life to guide, teach and certify other paddlers. Ultimately, it is about freedom, the freedom to paddle with no limitations.

If this inspires you to explore a Life Unleashed, then apply to be a TRAK Pilot. Maybe you’re ready to reconnect with your inner pilot and one of the world's oldest professions?

Read more about the TRAK Pilot Program and explore some of their profiles HERE

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