How helpful are the various kayak shops in your area ?
Do they address the questions you have with knowledgeable
folks and solid advice or leave folks hanging to ask
upon these forum pages ?
Just curious how available info is in different areas.
How helpful are the various kayak shops in your area ?
Riverside in Wyandotte, Lee's near Kzoo, and Kayak Corral in Saline always seem willing to help. It's also apparent that times are not easy for any of them.
I miss GRO and this great little shop, years ago, I think it was in Farmington or Livonia (I think it was called Benchmark Outdoors).
I have learned not to ask the local REI or Dick's or Wal-Mart or Gander Mountain for kayak advice.
Kansas City Paddler
is a great little shop. Knowledgeable, they have a lot of kayaks from high-end stuff to rec boats. Good folks, we’re incredibly blessed to have them here.
Hell no… Only call “Canoo shops” fer dis here varmint!
Sorry, ah’ jus’ had ta say it!
(P.S. Not really sorry at all…)
We don’t have one.
in East Lansing, MI. Most of the staff have take instruction and/or are experienced paddlers. The manager for stores in the area is a certified instructor.
Tussey Mountain Outfitters
In Bellefonte, PA. Ed Bowman knows his stuff and carries a nice line of boats and paddling equipment. Always helpful.
What do you mean by a kayak shop
or canoe shop…? A retailer of a bunch of different boats? Plus associated gear.
I have some friends who build boats for a living. I ask them. Joe at Placid has helped me with repairs. His store was somewhat limited, more so since it caught fire in January and he is devoted to resuming building boats, which means making new molds.
Charlie Wilson has also fixed a boat for me. As has Lincoln Canoe and Kayak (bulkheads on an old Shenai) in Freeport. I guess that operation comes closest to a retail store.
that came in ~14 mos ago w. the new GM Trey Rouss. he previously managed the Lansing location.
He is an ACA certified flatwater instructor. The store manager at Summit Sports Brighton has gotten at least a Level 2 cert and their sales staff are encouraged/reimbursed for getting certified.
Summit Sports was at Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium last year running demos, a new presence there. I saw several of the sales staff in classes as well.
The previous GM was primarily a golfer (a good guy, but there is a new direction now at Summit).
Michigan kayak shops
all the ones named by slushpaddler are very good. Over at RKC I’ve noticed a few of their expert paddlers (on Team P&H, instructors) have rotated on to other things. For ww boating I’d definitely go w. Dana Corbett at Kayak Corral - he got into that over 30 years ago. They’re also pretty smart about fishing SOTs.
About half of MI’s kayak shops of 10 years ago went out of business. There are several reasons for that, but mostly the big E for the Economy and the big I for Internet.
Grand River Outfitters goes back ~25 years. Stan Chladek at that time was the sole importer of Valley/NDK boats in Michigan. He got the BCU program established in the state and trained many of the elder instructors who are now approaching retirement. And he kept the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium going 2006-2009 when Riverside Kayak Connection took over. It’s now run by Downwind Sports, which has locations in Houghton and Marquette (Upper Peninsula). They are also very good w. product knowledge and advice and deserve mention here.
Seakayakers in Michigan owe a lot to Stan Chladek. And hopefully they will continue to support the remaining independently owned shops.
that’s good to hear
I’ve driven by that Brighton shop but have never stopped in. Will have to correct that.
I got to meet Stan
It was an honor.
I still recall his face when I heard some guy ask if the Greenlander came with a rudder.
My advice— consider the Discussion
Forum. This is a strange topic for the Advice board.
dilemma / paradox
It’s a discussion about Help!
Yes. Been good for me a a novice
Always had good experiences with the crew down at Confluence Kayaks in Denver. They have helped me with gear, paddles, and dry top repair.
I have not taken any of their classes, but heard form others that the classes were worth the money.
It’s a lecture in disguise.
I give lectures, too, but I don’t couch them in the form of a survey.
They don’t get any better…
…than the California Canoe and Kayak (CCK) stores in Oakland, Sacramento and Half Moon Bay. They’ve been here for 40 years and have sponsored and/or supported countless non-profit and informational events in that time.
Keith and Tammy have given away more advice and gear than most of us have ever known or owned, and the staff - sales, repairs, instruction - is outstanding as well.
The answer to a significant number of paddling-related questions in Northern California is simply “CCK”
Bill & Pauls in Grand Rapids has
knowledgeable sales people that paddle, as does Powers Outdoors in Newaygo which has another store in Montegue.
These folks carry quality canoes and kayaks and BTW gd2,this post is not a "lecture in disguise". That is just your opinion. If anything, it's letting others know of knowledgeable vendors, with integrity, in areas other than the OP's.
Thanks to willih2o for posting and thanks to the others from Michigan who noted other sources as I do shop at these type of stores.
I went into the newest Cabela's store in Grandville last week and asked a couple of sales people if they had 'kayaking PFD's'. They didn't even know what a PFD was! When I told them what it was, one of them showed me to the 'life jackets' used for water skiing.
This is why many of us stay away from "big box" stores, like Dicks, Gander Mountain, etc. You can even find kayaks and canoes in some grocery stores. Go figure.
Paddling.net is much appreciated for having informative, interesting message boards.
I second that!
Many people seem to ask for advice here,on the forum,
instead of calling their local kayak shop.
Advice, Suggestions and General Help
are only a phone call away.