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.
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