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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You've got to be where they are when|
Posted by: Yanoer on Jun-25-13 8:05 PM (EST)
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.
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.
Posted by: tiger1964 on Jun-26-13 8:15 AM (EST)
"The Kayaking Popularity Explosion"
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.
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.""
Posted by: mcimes on Jun-26-13 10:39 AM (EST)
Your thoughts would live longer on |
Posted by: ezwater on Jun-26-13 10:43 AM (EST)
Paddlers Place Discussion Forum.
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.
No good numbers - reports |
Posted by: willi_h2o on Jun-26-13 3:18 PM (EST)
Kayaks are fading out ...|
Posted by: seadart on Jun-26-13 3:21 PM (EST)
SUP is the explosive growth market.
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..
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.
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?"
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.
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.
Posted by: Kudzu on Jun-28-13 5:03 AM (EST)
Splashing yes, Paddling no|
Posted by: willi_h2o on Jun-28-13 9:23 AM (EST)
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)
Yes to a degree|
Posted by: castoff on Jun-30-13 5:41 PM (EST)
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.
Is the technique that simple - uh no|
Posted by: willi_h2o on Jun-28-13 4:57 PM (EST)
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.
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.
Isn't that true of every hobby?|
Posted by: Guideboatguy on Jun-30-13 11:46 AM (EST)
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.
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)
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.
Seriously, DUUJ, this thread belonged |
Posted by: ezwater on Jul-02-13 4:07 PM (EST)
on the Paddlers Place Discussion Forum.
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.
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)
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.
Posted by: ret603 on Jul-05-13 4:42 PM (EST)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Still no DUUJ. |
Posted by: ezwater on Jul-06-13 8:56 PM (EST)
Posted by: willi_h2o on Jul-06-13 9:53 PM (EST)
Some people do go away for a week or two
"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.
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.
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!)
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.
I believe Spiritboat is correct|
Posted by: Guideboatguy on Jul-07-13 7:27 PM (EST)
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.
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.
Posted by: spiritboat on Jul-09-13 7:36 PM (EST)
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".
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.
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.
Posted by: TommyC1 on Jul-15-13 5:31 AM (EST)
I see more of those than I ever expected to.
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?
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?