MADE BY MOUNTAINS MINI STORY
Adventure Nerds & Hellbender Paddleboards Collaboration
Through Waypoint Accelerator, I met an incredible group of outdoor industry professionals. The team at Hellbender Paddleboards was the first outdoor brand to take a chance on Adventure Nerds. I pitched them the idea of a guidebook collaboration, and they loved it. Our goal was to celebrate a great paddling destination in Western North Carolina that was accessible for most people and show how Hellbender Paddleboards could be used for an overnight adventure.
By Nate Trappe — Founder of Adventure Nerds
Two start-ups meet at the Waypoint Accelerator program in Asheville, NC, and launch
Lake James Paddling Adventure Guide Notes
Outdoor adventure publishing company Adventure Nerds and Asheville-based inflatable paddleboard manufacturer Hellbender Paddleboards recently announced a new guidebook for paddling adventures in North Carolina. Lake James Paddling Adventure Guide Notes is a 31-page interactive guidebook that contains hyper-specific information about planning an overnight paddling adventure and the natural and cultural history of Lake James. The book features dynamic photographs of Hellbender paddleboards in action and celebrates a collaboration of two brands, celebrating the amazing paddling opportunities in North Carolina and reaching new audiences with the tools to get outside more.
The trick to starting anything new is finding a way for optimism to outweigh uncertainty. When I walked into the conference room for the first session of the Waypoint Accelerator program I was filled with uncertainty. I still am. One of the joys of being an entrepreneur is seeing uncertainty as an opportunity to create something new.
I met the team from Hellbender Paddleboards in November 2021. We sat in the conference room and introduced ourselves and our dreams for our fledgling companies. It’s odd to lack confidence and feel optimistic at the same time. But there we were, taking a big step on our startup adventure. The Waypoint Accelerator program created a structure and a support system to build our confidence and stoke our optimism. The outdoor community of Western North Carolina has been amazingly supportive, and something special happens when a bunch of other people believe in your idea with you.
That’s why I was excited to be a part of Waypoint. I wanted to make connections with others and discover people in the outdoor industry that might see the potential of Adventure Nerds. I founded Adventures Nerds to increase access to adventure and create new opportunities for the outdoor community. Before Waypoint, I quietly published my first Guide Notes, a digital guidebook for multi-day adventures. It was the first step in my plan to create the worst business model ever – a low-cost, highly-produced, hyper-specific item that only appeals to a small demographic. However, the person buying Guide Notes and planning an adventure is also the ideal customer for other outdoor brands. All that was left to do was to figure out how to grow a three-sided marketplace for writers, customers, and outdoor brands that only works with scale.
Taking a Chance
Through Waypoint, I met an incredible group of outdoor industry professionals. The team at Hellbender was the first outdoor brand to take a chance on Adventure Nerds. I pitched them the idea of a guidebook collaboration, and they loved it. Our goal was to celebrate a great paddling destination in Western North Carolina that was accessible for most people and show how Hellbender Paddleboards could be used for an overnight adventure. Then, Adventure Nerds borrowed a couple of Hellbender paddleboards and went on an adventure. The result was an interactive, digital guidebook that featured Hellbender Paddleboards in photographs throughout the book.
Supporting Future Growth
We recently published the book and are excited to use it as a proof-of-concept example to connect with other outdoor brands to create more guidebook collaborations. We are building a library of mini guidebooks for outdoor adventures and we believe there is an enormous opportunity to create a mutually beneficial network of outdoor brands, outdoor creatives, and customers that share a common love for adventure. The Adventure Nerds and Hellbender Paddleboards guidebook collaboration was an important first step in launching a business model that will support our growth.
We are a small company, and the future is uncertain, but we have over 20 guidebooks in production for 2022, and we are thinking big. I know we will continue to meet more people that believe in our mission of increasing access to adventure. It won’t be easy, creating something new never is, but it all starts with finding a few people to take a chance on an idea and keep the optimism alive. A big thanks to the teams at Waypoint and Hellbender Paddleboards for taking a chance on this wild idea with us. Who’s next?
Adventure Nerds is a global network and marketplace for hyper-specific guidebooks about multi-day outdoor adventures. We make it easy to find and plan new adventures. Adventure Nerds is on a mission to increase access to adventure. We believe in elevating the value of adventure, inspiring action, and supporting a diverse and inclusive outdoor community. Since 2022, Adventure Nerds has hired an ever-expanding roster of local and global outdoor writers to create mini guidebooks about multi-day backpacking, bikepacking, canyoneering, paddling, skiing, and surfing adventures. Contact Adventures Nerds to discuss a guidebook collaboration that features your brand on an adventure near you. You can purchase your copy of “Lake James Paddling Adventure Guide Notes” today at AdventureNerds.com.
Hellbender Paddleboards’ mission is to create a better paddleboard for the rivers and lakes of Western North Carolina. Our paddleboards are built for adventure, designed for stability and durability, and come with an excellent warranty. Hellbender paddleboards come in multiple sizes with innovative features and a focus on sustainability. Learn more at HellbenderPaddleboards.com.
The Waypoint Accelerator program is designed to help early-stage outdoor businesses and entrepreneurs map out and reach the next waypoints in their growth journeys. This program, the first of its kind in the East, is recruiting for its 4th cohort, after helping nearly 30 past participants grow their revenues, expand their teams, accomplish huge projects, and realize big dreams. Through a collaborative network of peers and mentors, in-depth training and coaching, access to growth capital, and dedicated time set aside to focus on the future of the business, Waypoint provides companies with the support, knowledge, clear vision, and resources needed to thrive. More information and program application at WaypointAccelerator.com.