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  The Kayaking Popularity Explosion
  Posted by: DUUJ on Jun-25-13 7:35 PM (EST)
   Category: unassigned 

While out on a local lake two days ago, I happened to notice no less than a dozen kayaks. Ten years ago, perhaps, there would have been two. I've been around boats most of my (long) life. I started thinking about just "when" kayaks started to be seen everywhere, and why? (I don't think I saw more than two or three kayaks on midwestern waters during the last half of the previous century. Was I not looking?)

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Messages in this Topic


  You've got to be where they are when
  Posted by: Yanoer on Jun-25-13 8:05 PM (EST)
they are.

That will vary from season to season and for different weather conditions.

I don't have an answer to your question.

I paddle my solo canoes a bit more often than my kayaks.
  I'd say 10 years ago
  Posted by: Guideboatguy on Jun-25-13 8:10 PM (EST)
I can't tell if the "explosion" is still going on, but I bet I saw almost two dozen kayaks on car roofs today, and that was in about 40 minutes of driving. I would estimate that kayaks have been nearly as popular as right now for close to ten years. Rec kayaks are cheap to buy and easy to use, and they are everywhere.
  Not so here as a blanket rule.
  Posted by: kayamedic on Jun-25-13 8:11 PM (EST)
Maine Island Trail monitors noted far more overnight kayak activity twenty years ago than now. Today the trend is toward quick day trips that are led by outfitters.

The cycle on the Maine ocean does not necessarily reflect cycles elsewhere.

So on inland lakes yes rec kayaks are in profusion. Twenty years ago there were none. When registration starts up along with collection of excise tax you can bet most of those rec kayaks will disappear.

So there is no one answer. In the Adrrondacks you will hear of an explosion of pack canoes. Not kayaks.
  its all about plastic, not performance
  Posted by: tdaniel on Jun-26-13 7:51 AM (EST)
What is happening with "rec" kayaks also happened with whitewater boats in the 80s. Durable plastic boats became more readily available and became affordable. You're seeing that on a large scale with all sorts of retailers selling "rec" kayaks. Kayaking has gone mainstream. School is out, the weather is warm, so right now you see a lot of "casual" paddlers. Typically, in my neck of the woods, Southern WV, you mostly see whitewater kayaks but now if you drive on route 19 you notice lots of rec kayaks, usually in the back of pick up trucks. They have replaced and surpassed the popularity of the aluminum John Boat sold by Sears.
What's fascinating to me is how different parts of the country reflect different boats and styles of paddling. Whitewater play kayaks and rafts are the norm where I live. Touring boats, not so much. I've never seen a wave ski, paddle boarding is considered an oddity, and we have our own version of a "guide boat", its called a dory. I've never seen anybody pole in wv or even paddle a canoe made of Kevlar. I have a much harder time finding folks who will paddle a class I or II stream than a class III, IV.

What I like about this website is its diversity. We all embrace "paddling". Is there a right way to do it? Sure there is, its my way of course!
  compared to...
  Posted by: tiger1964 on Jun-26-13 8:15 AM (EST)
"The Kayaking Popularity Explosion"

Should have seen the early 1970's and the "The Bicycling Popularity Explosion". Suddenly everyone was doing it -- and one thought "What are you all doing getting involved in MY hobby?" :^D :^D :^D
  popular culture and recreational cycles
  Posted by: willowleaf on Jun-26-13 10:34 AM (EST)
I worked in the wilderness recreation business in the 70's and had friends that were outfitters well into the 90's. Also been a member of a wilderness activities club for over 40 years, so I've watched with interest the cycles of sport popularity. In the 70's it was backpacking, Nordic skiing (on mostly wooden skis with bamboo poles!) and mountaineering oriented rock climbing and alpine ice climbing.

By the 80's backpacking had waned and the hot sports were windsurfing, extreme rockclimbing (redpointing 5.10 and up routes while dressed in flashy lycra)and mountain biking. Orienteering had a brief run in popularity and standard Nordic ski touring lost ground to waxless plastic skis and "skating".

In the 90's the fad for alpine mountaineering began to grow (with the proliferation of young tech millionaires and empty nest Boomers willing to pay guide services to hustle them up notable peaks worldwide). There was a surge in specialized WW kayaks and WW rafting took off. Single track extreme mountain biking also grew madly during that decade and outdoor high tech gear became the style rage on high school and college campuses. With the rise of SUV's as a "be cool" must-have, they were increasingly accessorized with skis, canoes, WW kayaks, off road bicyles and surfboards.

In the ought's (first decade after 2000) it seemed to me that the popularity of the "Survivor" and Bear Grylls sorts of shows, blended with the paranoiac atmosphere prompted by 9/11 and the rise of apocalyptic religious and political mindsets, led to a resurgence in interest in backpacking (though more as a practice for having to "live off the land" due to circumstances rather than for enjoyment of the outdoors.) In fairness, increasing environmental and "green" awareness also led to more people taking camping and hiking vacations. I also suspect that the popularity of TV shows like the X Games broadcasts and the various reality overland races prompted more interest in kayaking during that decade.

Now that we are in the 2K teens (not sure what else to call the decade that started in 2010) SUP's seem to be blossoming and I am noticing a resurgence in canoeing as well as an explosion in rec kayaking and even kayak touring. Hard to tell what is coming up next. I suspect one trend we will see is more new and improved lightweight rigid, inflatable and folding kayaks and canoes.

Odd sidebar: a single friend of mine who has been an obsessive dater through the personal ads for about 10 years has commented that 8 out of 10 personal ads he reads list "kayaking" as a hobby. But when he asks women he dates about their paddling experience, most confess they have "rented a few times" or "have not kayaked yet but think I would like to."
  cracked me up
  Posted by: flynhi4u on Jul-02-13 8:15 AM (EST)
"Odd sidebar: a single friend of mine who has been an obsessive dater through the personal ads for about 10 years has commented that 8 out of 10 personal ads he reads list "kayaking" as a hobby. But when he asks women he dates about their paddling experience, most confess they have "rented a few times" or "have not kayaked yet but think I would like to.""

Cracks me up the things women list that they like to do when trying to get a date! Oh how their likes can quickly become their dislikes. I got lucky and found a lady who later told me I had her at Kayak!
  In MN
  Posted by: mcimes on Jun-26-13 10:39 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-26-13 10:40 AM EST --

In the twin cities MN, I see a lot of of plastic kayaks, SUP's and low level (plastic/alum) canoes. SUP's have really exploded in popularity up here (for some reason)

somewhat common are nice canoes (fiberglass, kevlar, carbon)

Less common are sea kayaks, and surf skis. It kinda depends on where you are though. In the city there are more SUPs and rec kayaks. I assume this is related to space constraints and availability (lots of places rent boats like this). In the burbs by my house there are more sea kayaks, skis and nice canoes, but everyone has a 2-4 car garage to use as a boathouse (and a couple extra bucks to burn on toys)

  Your thoughts would live longer on
  Posted by: ezwater on Jun-26-13 10:43 AM (EST)
Paddlers Place Discussion Forum.

Plus, what's to think about? I have eight canoes and four kayaks.

But I can only take up one boat's spot on the lake.
  the boardNazi makes his guest appearance
  Posted by: bowrudder on Jul-03-13 9:42 PM (EST)
  Don't call yourself a Nazi. You're only
  Posted by: ezwater on Jul-06-13 1:03 AM (EST)
trying to improve the Forum experience, in your own way.
  One observation not enough, & gas prices
  Posted by: pikabike on Jun-26-13 12:33 PM (EST)
You saw a lot of kayaks on that one day. It could be nothing more than a school or other group. If it were lots of onesie-twosies separate paddlers on many days, that might show a local trend. But not just a bunch of them on one day in one place.

Based on seeing the daily inundation of youth groups from ONE (greedy) outfitter at one of my old practice places, somebody could get a wildly inaccurate view of kayaking popularity there. A lot of people going out once or twice a year does not equal a lower number of people who go out many times each. I *know* that despite those crowds there, kayaking was not popular in that area (except for WW kayaking). Not ten years ago, not last year, or anywhere in between.

There WAS, however, one odd little blip of popularity. It occurred around 2008 when gas prices first hit $4/gallon. That summer, lots of fishermen and some boaters told me they were interested in buying a kayak, to avoid the gas costs. It was a short-lived blip, similar to but smaller in magnitude than scooter popularity or driving at slower speeds--both of which were also motivated by desire to reduce gas consumption. When gas prices came down, however slightly, both trends vanished. There must be an awful lot of barely-used scooters sitting around.
  No good numbers - reports
  Posted by: willi_h2o on Jun-26-13 3:18 PM (EST)
prior thread
  Kayaks are fading out ...
  Posted by: seadart on Jun-26-13 3:21 PM (EST)
SUP is the explosive growth market.

Will eventually come to where you are .
  We see some SUP's for day paddling
  Posted by: kayamedic on Jun-27-13 9:31 AM (EST)
but canoes still reign. We have wilderness tripping opportunities nearby that are more canoe than kayak oriented..

Meaning portages are involved. The funny thing is this is the heartland of SUP. Its called poling. And it can be done in a standard canoe. Some polers have started to use SUP paddles for the open lakes.. That's a trend you might not see everywhere.
  Availability of cheap rec boats
  Posted by: Jaybabina on Jun-27-13 8:45 AM (EST)
The availability of cheap rec boats started an enormous surge in paddle sport popularity. Dicks Sporting Goods, West Marine, Ocean State Job Lot etc. Who would ever think that these places would be selling $350. recreational kayaks. Many of these people advance to much more expensive boats and also learn good skills too. I think this price availability has turned kayaking into a very common commodity.

People refer to the word "kayaking" now with these beginner boats in the assumption as this is what "kayaking" is.
  Posted by: emanoh on Jun-27-13 9:22 AM (EST)
I just came back from Traverse City, MI a meca for Midwest/Michigan outdoor sports. On the roads and in the parking lots two out of every three cars had a rack with some sort of recreation item, in order it was kayak, SUP and then bike. In seven days across northern Michigan I saw only two boats that would not be considered recreational and those two were hanging under a dock on Mackinac Island. I was thining "all of this awesome shoreline and water and these people are just bopping around the bays in these plastic tubs?"

I was severely disapointed in the lack of higher end kayaks rolling along the highways. Lots of factors to consider is that maybe the locals have their gear stored at home and the cars we saw were vacationers brining their plastic pelican kayaks north? While we did see a lot of rec boats, on the other hand there was a lot of money rolling around on car tops in SUP's. There aren't many poly SUP's on the lower end of the price scale, so you're easily paying $1500+ for a decent SUP. In the retail market, every sporting goods store had 10+ rec boats strapped to the outside of their buildings while we saw no less than five surf shops what carried high end SUP's and the trendy board gear that goes with the sport.

Just a few observations,
  kayaks everywhere
  Posted by: ppine on Jun-27-13 4:17 PM (EST)
They are cheap and light. That appeals to newbies.
  no. They are simply cheap
  Posted by: kayamedic on Jun-27-13 4:20 PM (EST)
Light and strong always is more expensive.
  Great thread!
  Posted by: gingernc on Jun-27-13 7:24 PM (EST)
This is one of the most interesting threads I've ever seen on PNet, especially Willowleaf's summary by decade of the outdoor fads.

There's been an explosion of plastic rec kayaks where I live in central NC (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) with a couple of big lakes to use them on. But there are also lots and lots of people here with high-end sea kayaks including home-built wooden kit boats and strippers. The aea kayakers get to the coast when they can, and to the lake when they can't. Lots of sharing of skills here with novices.

But, oh, how I wish I could spend a month in Maine every summer!
Ginger in NC
  Posted by: Kudzu on Jun-28-13 5:03 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-28-13 3:31 PM EST --

The lady who cuts my hair knows I kayak. Yesterday she asked me if I had any advice on kayaking near Beaufort and Shackleford Banks. Her immediate and extended family have gotten into the fishing kayak thing but apparently they like to tour around in them as much as fish out of them.

  Splashing yes, Paddling no
  Posted by: willi_h2o on Jun-28-13 9:23 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-28-13 9:28 AM EST --

In Michigan I see many ""floatin' tubs"" but few that
have any knowledge of paddling, stroke mechanics, etc.
Just because someone buys a kayak for $200 doesn't
automatically mean they know a drip about kayaking.

People seem to want cheap splash fun, and have little
interest in the fact that kayaks "transport" people
to and from a destination (often with cargo) .
A simple 5 mile or 10 mile afternoon paddle
is an ordeal many rec paddlers have trouble with.

From what I've seen, they want to float,
more than they want to actually paddle.
A $200 kayak is one teeny tiny step up
from a brand new tractor tire inner tube.


  more popular
  Posted by: KathyShoaf on Jul-03-13 8:53 PM (EST)
The place I've bought my yaks from now has a group called WOW....Women On the Water. They have classes and are helping the women build their skills. The classes seem to fill up quickly. I did a float with them and it consisted of a group of women with different skill levels. Hopefully I'm not insulting anyone by saying this but I'm pretty sure most of the women were in my age range (53). I also feel like maybe its more popular because its hard not to share how relaxing it is. I've took several on their first kayak float...thats all it takes is one time and they're hooked. How can you not enjoy getting out in nature, on water, away from everything? Most people seem to be unsettled and floating is so relaxing. After your initial expense of boat, paddle, pfd, all you have to spend is gas to get to your float point.
  More like a "Plague"
  Posted by: FatElmo on Jun-28-13 10:11 AM (EST)

  geezer paddlers may be one factor
  Posted by: willowleaf on Jun-28-13 12:11 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-28-13 12:17 PM EST --

Another notable phenomenon relating to the popularity of both canoes and kayaks is the remarkable number of folks over 55 who are avid paddlers. This was underscored about a year or so ago right on this forum when somebody took a survey of regular posters' ages (though I'm sure it was skewed by the fact that us old farts may be more voluble than our younger cohorts.)

I first noticed this trend when I moved back to Western PA 10 years ago after living in the Great Lakes for 8 years (during which absence I had gotten into kayak touring). As I re-established contact with my old outdoor play buddies from the outing club I had belonged to since 1972, I was surprised at first to find that so many of them, who had previously had widely diverse passions (rock climbing, windsurfing, spelunking, mountain biking, backpacking, whitewater paddling, ice climbing, etc.), seemed to have switched to kayak touring as their primary or only sport.

Then I ran into my old friend Bruce, who had been the super jock-of-all-trades in everything from dirt bike racing to extreme rock climbing. After first being shocked to hear that both he and his wife (another super athlete and top notch climber) pretty much only did dragon boating and kayak touring any more, I had a sudden epiphany and began to laugh. "Bruce" I said " you know what this is -- sea kayaking is the last adventure sport we decrepit geezers can still do that looks way cool but doesn't beat us up too much." He thought a moment, then laughed and agreed completely.

It would not surprise me that a component in the surge of higher end performance sea kayaks and canoes comes from us empty nest Boomers who now have the money and spare time to pursue paddle sports with gusto.

So, are the touring kayak and the high end canoe becoming the "Hover-round" carts of the waterways?

  Yes to a degree
  Posted by: castoff on Jun-30-13 5:41 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-30-13 5:49 PM EST --

I match that profile to a degree, and I am really enjoying the freedom sea kayaking and light weight canoeing and camping allow me as I age. Kids are on their own, reduction in bills, more free time, etc. I still backpack (light weight), but can see the writing on the wall. So hooray paddling!

Still in the Charleston area of SC you see many more younger ages out and paddling than O.F. So I don't see the boomer geezer factor as driving the markets as much as just contributing to them.

  Why? Price and the double blade.
  Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Jun-28-13 1:57 PM (EST)
With the exception of a few states that border Canada, such as Minnesota, northern New York and Maine, there is no doubt that kayaks strongly outsell canoes. That has been going on, increasingly, for 30 years.

Anyone who was in a paddling store 30 years ago would have seen an inventory of hulls about 15:1 of canoes to kayaks. Go in the same store today and it will be 20:1 in favor of kayaks.

SOTs rule in many of the warm waters of the AmSouth, and rec kayaks are everywhere. Touring kayaks are being displaced almost as much as canoes by recs and SOTs.

To me, the reasons are simple: the price of cheap plastic kayaks and the mind numbing simplicity of the double blade.

A newbie who uses a double blade can go reasonably straight with five minutes of practice. That same newbie will go in frustrating circles with a single blade, and likely has no interest in six months or more of instruction and practice to become competent in the single blade art.

I see more and more SUPs in the stores than five years ago, but frankly I never see them on the lakes and rivers I paddle on. Maybe more of them are on the ocean. (I never saw many windsurfing boards during that phase either.)
  Is the technique that simple - uh no
  Posted by: willi_h2o on Jun-28-13 4:57 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-28-13 7:49 PM EST --

"""the mind numbing simplicity of the double blade""
- Then why do so many screw it up and never learn it properly?

  Kerchunk, kerchunk, kerchunk
  Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Jun-28-13 8:09 PM (EST)
Going straight with a double blade is so simple that a five year old or an 85 year old can do it in five minutes.

Weak old ladies in Pungos pass by my impotent single stick all over America these days, with disdain and a contemptuous boat wake. Of course they can't edge their boat or do 35 Inuit rolls, but who cares about those irrelevancies in the great plastic REC-SOT revolution.

A plague on the plague, I say. Impotently.
  Canoeing is more difficult to
  Posted by: kayamedic on Jun-30-13 9:56 AM (EST)
learn the basics about. Then the learning curve flattens and you can make progress quite quickly.

The shape of the curve is less steep for beginning kayakers but it takes a lot of water time and work to learn to double blade really well.
  Isn't that true of every hobby?
  Posted by: Guideboatguy on Jun-30-13 11:46 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-30-13 9:33 PM EST --

Can you name a single activity that's done for recreation for which it is not true that a few people learn to do it very well, but the majority only dabble? Paddling is like that. What's fortunate for the dabblers in every hobby is that their low level of exposure to overly sensitive experts means that they seldom hear this vile drivel directed at them (granted, it wasn't as vile this time as it has been in many of your previous posts. I'm just going with your overall average).

  Most don't care about efficiency.
  Posted by: Yanoer on Jun-30-13 1:15 PM (EST)
Most aren't paddling in situations where it matters that much.
  Lots of factors...
  Posted by: Al_A on Jun-30-13 12:27 AM (EST)
Having read everything above, I agree with most of it, but there are other reasons as well. In the Ozarks where I live, kayaks have nearly replaced canoes as the craft of choice for people wanting to buy their own, and the liveries are steadily renting more and more kayaks and fewer and fewer canoes. Part of it is the "fad" factor. Kayaks have been the fad for a decade or more now. Part of it, a big part, is that kayaks are solo craft, while rental canoes are always tandem craft. People have found that they really like to be in a boat by themselves in a group of other people in boats by themselves. Part of it is the ease at which you can paddle one downstream with the double blade, without any kind of esoteric techniques. Part of it is that solo rec kayaks are less difficult for the river dorks to keep upright on Ozark streams.

At the same time, anglers suddenly "discovered" kayaks, and kayaks became extremely popular with anglers. The reasons for this is that most anglers' only experience in canoes was in tandem canoes, and the solo kayak was so much better for the independent angler than a tandem canoe that required a partner and always seemed "tippy". I still argue on fishing boards all the time with people who say, "I've paddled canoes before, but I wouldn't have anything but a kayak." When I ask them which canoes they have paddled, it's almost always a tandem canoe. Well, duh...of course you'll find a kayak to be a superior solo fishing craft when all you've paddled are tandem canoes!

Sometimes you can trace the suddenly increased popularity of something to one particular thing. Especially a popular movie. Whitewater canoeing got a significant boost in popularity from the movie "Deliverance". Fly fishing exploded after "A River Runs Through It" came out. I wonder if there was something like that which boosted the popularity of kayaks.
  Explosion is over
  Posted by: eckilson on Jun-30-13 9:28 AM (EST)
Around here (RI) I'd say it peaked five years ago, and is on the downslide now. Five years ago we would get 50 people in rec boats to sign up for a flatwater training class, and do it 2 or 3 times in the summer. This year not a single person signed up for the class. Still plenty of boats out on the water, but it's not growing like it was.
  when and where you go
  Posted by: tdaniel on Jun-30-13 3:01 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-30-13 3:28 PM EST --

makes a huge difference. I paddled the upper New in wv yesterday, Saturday at 11:00 am. The peak time to be out. Commercial outfitters were putting on "fleets" of duckies and a few rafts as well. "Private" boaters in open canoes, kayaks, sots, duckies, and even a couple of rec kayaks on an overnight trip. I doubt many folks on this message board can say that duckies are the boat they most frequently encounter? So the "popular" boat changes with the environment and the user's experience level. Do that same trip during the week, and the boats are more sophisticated- ww play boats almost exclusively. Do it in Jan. and I'm pretty much guaranteed that the most popular boat is whatever I and my buds choose to paddle that day since we rarely encounter anyone else that time of year. The harsher the environment, the more specific and sophisticated the boat design.

In my environment SUPs are pretty much limited to park and play. While they may excel at surfing it takes a ton of skill to paddle them successfully down whitewater and requires a high level of fitness. In other words, be prepared to swim a lot.
Belly yaks and river boards have a limited appeal as well since their fitness demands are high even though they are designed for a ww environment.

A new trend is emerging where I live. People are using cheap (made with vinyl bladders) small catarafts, or minis, designed for float fishing on class II and III whitewater. That's becoming popular here on the upper new and greenbrier rivers in wv. Probably a local niche thing even though the boats weren't originally designed or marketed for whitewater. I look for the manufacturers to figure this out and make more durable versions designed specifically for whitewater that aren't cost prohibitive.

  Market seems to be vibrant here
  Posted by: Andy_Szymczak on Jun-30-13 6:53 PM (EST)
I come across lots of first time paddlers, all in rec boats, often with paddles much too long and sans PFD's.

Always nice to come across paddlers with nice gear. Ran into Chris_H yesterday in his Tracer 165 (nice looking boat) using a CF greenland paddle. Later I ran into Robin ("webmaster" for the Jersey Paddler)paddling a solo plus. The other 95% paddling yesterday were in rec boats.
  Seriously, DUUJ, this thread belonged
  Posted by: ezwater on Jul-02-13 4:07 PM (EST)
on the Paddlers Place Discussion Forum.

Not that it's very interesting.

An SUP fan on SOTP (UK) asked, what is there that one can do with a canoe that one *can't* do with a stand up paddleboard?

Immediately the answer came back, you can load a canoe with enough gear and food for weeks in the wilderness. You can load it with your family, your dog, and your picnic stuff. For that matter, you can pole it upstream, and you can keep standing and use a SUP paddle.

As for recreational kayaks, they are good for quick learning and easy use, but for anything serious, they kind of suck. I have an old ww kayak that is more comfortable, carries as much, is faster on lakes, and runs serious whitewater, and it puts rec kayaks totally in the shade. But, it does require more skill. Don't wanta hafta mess with that skill.

I've been on rivers and lakes since 1960, and I've never had any difficulty whatsoever understanding market trends and fads in personal paddlecraft.
  Has anyone ever listened to you?
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-15-13 4:36 PM (EST)
What percentage of times you have chastised someone for posting here have they actually moved their thread to Paddler's Place? If it has happened at all, I have never seen it, all that results is some people make fun of you for being self-important and then ignore you and keep talking. Why bother?
  Why not read the forum guidelines
  Posted by: ezwater on Jul-15-13 6:37 PM (EST)
and use them? This DUUJ garbage thread is exactly the sort of thing that belongs on the Discussion Forum, but not here.

I have little sense of self importance, but I find garbage posts offensive.
  What does it matter?
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-16-13 8:45 AM (EST)
Is it really hurting anything for it to be here? And who the hell are you to decide what are garbage posts? Plenty of us don't find it garbage or else we would ignore it, like you should do if you see posts that don't meet your ridiculous standards. Ridiculous that you would be offended by the post, you have some serious issues if you are so easily offended. Get a grip.
  They're More Accessible
  Posted by: clydehedlund on Jul-02-13 6:18 PM (EST)
Being located in the prime locations of Walmart, Sam's Club, Costco, and West Marine. Some in the $299 - $499 price range and selling side by side $699 SUPs. And that includes paddle too! At Sam's, you can pick up a nifty Body Glove PFD for under $40 down the aisle.
  Landlubbers with Zero Help
  Posted by: willi_h2o on Jul-02-13 7:58 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jul-02-13 8:03 PM EST --

Unfortunately people get Zero help, advice, etc. when
buying from those big box locations and end up paddling right
after a rainstorm because - "water levels are up, dude".
They start at zero and most progress little because
"they don't know, exactly what they don't know"
But don't dare call them dumb, because it was cheap on sale.

Buying from a kayak shop can make a world of difference
that lasts a lifetime and enhances the buyers experience.

I'm just waiting for the Sams Club scuba gear
and Costco underwater welding kit to go on sale.

  Posted by: ppine on Jul-05-13 3:27 PM (EST)
They are also forgiving for people that don't take the time to learn to paddle.
  Posted by: Kudzu on Jul-03-13 11:46 AM (EST)
Some years ago there were several commercials that included images of kayaks. Mostly old men with prostate problems. I suppose they added to the popularity explosion.

(gosh... do ya think???)
  kayaking/prostate problems
  Posted by: ret603 on Jul-05-13 4:42 PM (EST)

Lighten up!

I started kayaking (while continuing canoeing) 25 years before I developed prostate problems.

  Cheap Boats
  Posted by: BigandSmall on Jul-03-13 8:50 PM (EST)
I'll admit I am part of the new wave. We bought cheap SOT's for our kids for a beach vacation at the local box store. My wife is small enough and went for a ride on one. When she came back she said she wanted one too.

Fortunately we found this place and received advice on further boat purchases. We are lifers now with a stack of boats and gear in the garage and the cars now in the driveway.
  Posted by: duckhunter on Jul-05-13 4:27 PM (EST)
A Dunham's flyer in or paper had a number of kayaks listed at very reasonable prices. Unfortunately, my wife saw this flyer and promptly informed me I could have bought a kayak there for less than the tax was on my recently purchased Swift Osprey carbon fusion solo canoe!!!!
  You made a good choice with the Osprey.
  Posted by: Yanoer on Jul-06-13 12:22 AM (EST)
Don't let your wife paddle it, or you might have to buy another.
  Osprey Choice
  Posted by: duckhunter on Jul-06-13 8:35 AM (EST)
I did something worse than letting my wife try the Carbon fusion Osprey. I let my grandchildren try it. Now they want a black solo canoe just like Papa's.
I only have one wife but I have 2 grandchildren!!!
  So it goes.
  Posted by: Yanoer on Jul-06-13 8:33 PM (EST)
  DUUJ has not said one word since
  Posted by: ezwater on Jul-06-13 1:51 PM (EST)
starting this mess. But it has been a great chance for many to increase their grasp on the obvious.

Smell a troll odor?
  Still no DUUJ.
  Posted by: ezwater on Jul-06-13 8:56 PM (EST)
  Holiday weekend
  Posted by: willi_h2o on Jul-06-13 9:53 PM (EST)
Some people do go away for a week or two
around the holiday, so it's no biggie..........
GREAT discussion in my opinion.

Wish the ACA or Outdoor Industry Association
actually HAD real stats on current usage in the USA.
  "DUUJ" hasn't posted in the entire
  Posted by: ezwater on Jul-06-13 10:36 PM (EST)
thread. Probably a marketing parasite trolling for ideas.

There hasn't been one new idea in this entire thread, and it all belongs on the Discussion Forum.
  Waiting for the spate of similar posts
  Posted by: pikabike on Jul-07-13 1:30 AM (EST)
In the past, posts like the OP's often accompanied a slough of other suspiciously troll-like posts in a spell of a couple weeks. Always posted by a no-profile or brand-new profile poster of unknown background.

I remember at least one other thread by DUUJ in which I thought a marketing troller was sniffing out the premises. Gonna do an archive search now...
  But didn't canoeing popularity explode
  Posted by: spiritboat on Jul-07-13 11:26 AM (EST)
after the movie "Deliverance" came out in the 70's??? (You can't simply attribute it's rise back then, to the way Ned Beatty took it in the behind...Squeal!WWWeee-ee!)

Fads come, fads go. All I know is all the amateurs are gone after Labor Day--And most will take the SUP crowd with them.
  No, it didn't. I lived nearby back then
  Posted by: ezwater on Jul-07-13 3:41 PM (EST)
and the main "explosion" was in cheap rafts and garbage paddles. The growth in whitewater canoeing around Atlanta was already underway. I never saw any indication that the moderate growth in canoeing was related to Deliverance.

Claude Terry and Doug Woodward were in our club. They were kayakers as much as canoeists. Payson and Aurelia Kennedy, and Horace Holden, were club members, and founded NOC on the Nantahala.

All the new ww canoeists I knew, back in the 70s, were well aware of how much skill had to be developed to paddle the Chattooga, or even the Nantahala. While we considered Deliverance a good book and a good movie, we thought Burt Reynolds et al were greenhorns who were taking stupid chances.
  I believe Spiritboat is correct
  Posted by: Guideboatguy on Jul-07-13 7:27 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jul-07-13 7:33 PM EST --

I have often read that the biggest canoe-sales volume that the Grumman company ever had in their history, by far, occurred right after that movie came out. I think the boom lasted a couple of years, but was most pronounced shortly after the movie first started playing. I can't say what other long-time canoe "standards" experienced, such as companies like Old Town, but that's what happened for Grumman.

I think what you saw is attributable to the fact that rank amateurs getting started with their brand-new canoe aren't likely to show up at the same places as the hard-core whitewater folks that you hung out with. That said, I think it was Bob ( who once quoted some source that talked about several amateur canoers dying in difficult rapids shortly after the movie came out, with those rapids being the type where paddlers of such a skill level were normally not ever seen.

  It is true.
  Posted by: spiritboat on Jul-08-13 10:40 PM (EST)
I got into a Grumman for the first time myself back then. Age=16. Two week trip down the Delaware. The explosion I cited was in general canoe sales and popularity. NOT necessarily whitewater.

...And by the way, g2d: The name-dropping of your so-called legends impresses absolutely NOBODY.

Now squeal, wwweeee-wwweee-wwweee!!!
  It's not a matter of your being
  Posted by: ezwater on Jul-09-13 4:11 AM (EST)
impressed. It's a matter of helping you to not repeat suburban legends. In this case, guideboat's imagining notwithstanding, Deliverance pumped up the cheap raft industry, but not canoeing.

You think I didn't know those guys personally? Seriously?
  Suburban legend?
  Posted by: spiritboat on Jul-09-13 7:36 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jul-09-13 7:56 PM EST --

I'm not a suburban guy--But here's a reference from the book, "The Grumman Story"...Please note next to last sentence in paragraph below, referencing how many sold in 1974...

"Hoffman and Achilich influenced canoeing in the last half of the twentieth century like few others, by introducing light, rugged boats at an easily affordable price," the magazine wrote. A Grumman canoe, Paddler publisher and editor Eugene Buchanan said recently, could take a beating. "You could put the wife and kids and kitchen sink in the thing and ram it into rocks," he said. The public bought thousands. A 1975 brochure cited sales of more than 300,000 Grumman canoes in 30 years. Demand peaked in 1974 with sales of 33,000, propelled by the 1972 movie "Deliverance" and concerns about fuel consumption during the mid-'70s energy crisis."

And I don't care who you knew, or what anybody else paddles for that matter...And now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to banjo practice.

  I was wrong about the year,...
  Posted by: Guideboatguy on Jul-09-13 10:33 PM (EST)
... but that sounds a lot like what I've read a couple of other places. My older brother bought a Grumman in 1974, and during a very short time period right about then, it seemed like all manner of small stores were stocking Grummans. I'm sure that was never the case a few years earlier, and I know for a fact that it was never the case later on. Those were good years for Grumman, "despite g2d's imaginings".

My brother bought his Grumman from a little neighborhood hardware store in 1974, a place that had no history whatsoever selling boats of any kind before that time. They actually stocked quite a few, and my brother chose one that had a little scratch on it already and was therefore discounted. Interestingly, it was Grumman's heavy-duty model with extra ribs and a shoe keel, a style that's a bit rare overall, and I can't help but wonder if the little hardware store was catering to people who had visions of doing whitewater since it would make no sense to stock anything other than the standard model 99 percent of the time.
  It's just PR. I ran into
  Posted by: ezwater on Jul-15-13 4:10 PM (EST)
a paddle mag article in which Payson Kennedy and Claude Terry said specifically that the explosion in canoeing interest and purchasing was already underway before Deliverance appeared. I don't know why they would say that if they didn't believe it.

Mad River, Blue Hole, and Moore were already making and selling new boats before Deliverance. I believe Sawyer was also. Grummans were cheaper. Maybe they profited from the presence of the new designs from smaller manufacturers.
  DUUJ still not back.
  Posted by: ezwater on Jul-09-13 4:13 AM (EST)
Maybe drowned in the floods. All that marketing research down the tubes.
  Well.....I just asked the question.....
  Posted by: DUUJ on Jul-09-13 8:24 PM (EST)
...And you never thought it had relavance.:)
  Posted by: Kudzu on Jul-14-13 11:26 AM (EST)
I bike with the manager of a local sporting goods store. Today he told me that he's selling many, many fishing kayaks and hardly any touring boats. Apparently word has gotten around how great it is to fish from a kayak.
  Fishing Kayaks
  Posted by: TommyC1 on Jul-15-13 5:31 AM (EST)
I see more of those than I ever expected to.
All of my fishing buds told me canoes were to narrow and you couldn't move around enough in them to fish properly.
How is a kayak better for fishing?
But they are out there. I see them.
  I am a fishing kayak-to-canoe convert
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-15-13 4:46 PM (EST)
I bought a SOT before the kayak fishing craze got started, and then once all the other kayaks showed up in the waters I had had to myself, and started fishing, I thought I might as well try. For the Gulf side, certainly a kayak is preferred, but on the bay side, I started thinking that maybe a canoe could afford me more space for gear and to handle the fish I caught, as well as being more comfortable, and so I bought one and found out I was right on all counts.
  I can spell relevance, and I can post
  Posted by: ezwater on Jul-15-13 4:02 PM (EST)
relevantly. You can take up space on the wrong forum if you want to, especially because you're totally anonymous.
  I think it started with Ocean Kayaks
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-15-13 4:16 PM (EST)
Before I saw any kayaks in my neck of the woods, in the mid-1990s I started seeing Ocean Kayaks as rental boats at resorts down in the Caribbean. Resorts I had been to just a couple of years before when they had none, had them. I guess Ocean Kayak did a great job of aggressively marketing them to big resort chains like Westin, probably selling them at break even or even at a loss to get them out there, get people hooked on them on vacation. I'll admit, it worked on me, I started searching around for them. Then in the late 1990s I started seeing OKs for sale in higher end sporting goods chains like REI here in Texas. Being a poor college student I wanted one, but put off buying it until I finished grad school and got my first decent paying job in 2000, when I got an OK Frenzy. At that time, paddling on the Texas coast, I would constantly be stopped by people asking me where I got that cool little boat. In 2 or 3 years, I started seeing other paddlers occasionally, and then started seeing them offered for rent down here. By 2005, they had exploded and were everywhere, still with OK dominating at first, but quickly as people realized there was a boom going on they started opening paddlesports stores, and then offering other SOTs and then offering SINKS.
  Suspicion of DUUJ as "marketing parasite
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-15-13 4:56 PM (EST)
Even if DUUJ is here looking for marketing information, what exactly is wrong with that? If he is looking for ideas of what kinds of paddling products to create or market, or ideas about what paddling consumers think or want, wouldn't you rather he do it here, and get the information from us, so that what he sells would be based on our wants rather than someone else?
  That's What I've Come to Believe
  Posted by: Kudzu on Jul-15-13 5:50 PM (EST)
There was a thread recently that I suspected originated from some kayak maker or another. The question was basically "Would you prefer a big oval, leaky hatch/cover or smaller, round, and water-tight?


The big oval bastard on my Alchemy leaks like a screen door.
  Because it does not fit the
  Posted by: ezwater on Jul-15-13 6:39 PM (EST)
forum guidelines, and in addition, it is a garbage topic.
  May I see your badge please?
  Posted by: spadefish on Jul-15-13 7:09 PM (EST)
Just to confirm that you are the duly appointed forum cop, charged with enforcing forum guidelines and rating the quality of everyone's posts?


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