-- 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?
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