30 years makes a huge difference

I was curious how much has changed in the 30 years that I’ve been actively interested in canoeing and kayaking, so I leafed through a Canoe Magazine from 1977 and here are some highlights.

  1. Canoe Magazine was published by American Canoe Association. Was it the forerunner of today’s Paddler Magazine?
  2. Wet suits got a full page ad.
  3. Coleman’s Peak 1 had been redesigned and reintroduced with fully adjustable flame and extra large fuel capacity.
  4. Carlisle, Mitchell, Featherbrand, Sawyer were advertising paddles. A Sawyer fiberglass reinforced white water canoe paddle retailed for $14.
  5. Mad River Canoe and Dupont teamed up to sponser a 500 mile trip to the Artic Ocean to promote kevlar canoes.
  6. Hollowform Inc was promoting cross-linked polyethylene canoes and kayaks. A 13’ kayak weighed 35 pounds and a 16.5 foot canoe weighed 79 pounds.
  7. NONA advertised fiberglass canoes from 10.5 feet to 25 feet.
  8. Dolphin Canoes offered the 14-foot Princess model powered by a marine battery with a tiny propeller in the stern. Capable of 10 miles per hour.
  9. Keewaydin canoes were available in Royalex, fiberglass and K-Tek.
  10. Michicraft introduced their new square stern canoes in 12, 14, and 16 foot lengths.
  11. Monarch Canoes offered aluminum canoes in 15, 16 and 17 foot lengths with regular or white water keel.
  12. River Runner kayaks offered their new 13.5 foot recreational kayak made of rotomolded polyolefin, with a 3-unit stiffener and adjustable foot braces. It weighed 34.5 pounds.
  13. Perception was still in Liberty SC and made some really nice looking canoes.
  14. A.C. Mackenzie River Co. of Richmond Heights, Missouri offered a fiberglass 12.5 foot “poling canoe” that weighed 47 pounds. They also had a lightweight aircraft aluminum collapsible pole that measured 12 feet and weighed 2.8 pounds.
  15. Indian River Canoe Mfg. sold canoes from 10’ to 18.5 feet made from fiberglass reinforced poyester. A 16’er weighed 70 pounds.
  16. Blue Hole was still in Sunbright, Tennessee building Royalex whitewater canoes.
  17. Pinetree Canoes in Canada made a 16’ kevlar with wood superstructure canoe that weighed 37 pounds. “For rock-crushing and kamikaze use we make slightly heavier and more rugged versions”.
  18. Smoker-Craft and Lowe’s were big names in aluminum canoes. A 17-foot Lowe’s with a solid keel weighed 67 pounds.
  19. Chicagoland Canoe Base had the same logo they have today. Horse and buggy shuttle car.
  20. We-No-Nah Canoes advertised the 18.5 foot USCA Jensen Cruiser.
  21. Ranger Canoes offered a sweet looking 16.5 foot Fiberglass solo that weighed 29 pounds.Gunnel width was 26". Factory direct $395.
  22. Klepper America offered their back-packable “Hammerhead” whitewater kayak for $275. Their new whitewater kayak paddle was dubbed “Bullwhipper”.
  23. The White Brothers whitewater kayak sold for $198.
  24. Grumman Boats offered a coated nylon spray cover for their 17-foot canoes.
  25. EasyRider offered 5 kayak models made with kevlar 49, S-glass and vinylester resins.
  26. Thermarest introduced the self-inflating mattress. It inflated to 19"x47"x1.5" and rolled down to 4"x20" and weighed 24 ounces.
  27. NRS, REI and EMS all had 2-inch ads.

    So in 30 years there is my list of 30 things from the good old days.

    A final note; Ensolite by Uniroyal had a full page ad for life vests with the cautionary note that “even Ensolite can’t save you if it’s in the boat”. That’s one thing that is still a concern. I just read that the Coast Guard recorded 400 drownings in 2004 and 90% of them were not wearing life vest, and 90% of those could have been saved if they were wearing a life vest.



Great topic for Discussion Forum.

my first kayak
was a River Runner R-5

Thanks for the post-brought back a few memories. My first plastic yak was a Hollowform I bought in '79 after owning two glass yaks from Phoenix. My second plastic yak was a Mirage from Perception.

Toured the Bluehole factory in Sunbright once during a week spent paddling B.S.F. and the Emory-Obed system.

Where has the time gone …