Buying kayaks from Sea Kayak Symposiums?


I am in the market for a new kayak and have finally decided what to get. The only question I have is where to buy it from. My local kayak shop carries it but there is a Sea Kayaking Symposium next weekend we are going to and the brand I want (Eddyline) will be there. I have never been to one of these so I am wondering if there are ever discounts or specials of any kind at these events? Should I wait for that or just buy it now?

Thanks in advance!

I don’t know, but . . . .
I don’t know for sure, but I would expect so. It would be worth the wait. Have you been able to demo the different models?

I have a Nighthawk 16 that’s about a year old. I had it already on order before last year’s symposium, so I didn’t inquire about purchases while I was there. I did use their Nighthawk to try out different paddles though. They had every model there. It was fun to watch other people demo them. One fellow got in and promptly executed a very nice roll. I was happy to see that it rolled easily. I have been told that by others as well. I could not testify to that as I haven’t learned to roll yet, but it’s definitely a goal of mine. I have the hip-snap down, so it shouldn’t be long.

Which model are you interested in purchasing?


Discounts are usually available at
symposiums. I saved $590 at the Gulf of Maine Sea Kayak Symposium on a boat that’s not available here. I’d wait or ask the local shop if they’ll give you a discount to get your business.

Which boat?
So, what boat did you buy at GOMSKS?

night hawk
Hi Thistleback – The night hawk is the one that I want to buy too! I’m glad to hear more good things about the boat. I have paddled a Merlin before and really enjoy the Eddylines. I see you are in WA, did you go to the West Coast symposium last year then? We are new to this area so this will be our first time.

Sounds like you got a really great deal on the kayak from the symposium! Thank you for the feedback and this definitely makes me think I should wait.

Did the exhibitors actually have the boats there at the show for purchasing? Or did you have to order and get it in at a later time?

Bought a fiberglass Nigel Foster Shadow
The closest retailer is Braddock Bay Paddlesports in New York state. They came up to the symposium with 6 (I think) new boats and 3 used ones. I tried out the used Shadow on the beach and decided to buy it. They put a sold sign on it and I went to the field house to pay up. When I got there, I saw the new Cyan Blue Shadow. Maybe it was foolish to spend the extra cash for a new boat, but it is a beautiful blue - matches my eyes so I had to have it. The show price was $2,910. I was told that it retails for $3,500. I did not check out the numbers, normally I would but I was in love. I was also given a t-shirt, hat, decals, a cockpit cover, a spare skeg cable, discounts on a deck-mount compass, a neoprene spray skirt, kayak locks, and $150 off a course at The Wilderness Kayak Institute (I haven’t had a chance to take a course yet). Nigel gave me some one on one time to improve my sculling stroke and to work on my roll. If we had found a permanent marker, he would have autographed the boat as well. I left there quite happy with my choice.

To answer your question about ordering vs buying it at the symposium: The boat dealers are there to move boats, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to take one home. The shows I’ve been to other than GOMSKS, were hosted by the Kittery Trading Post, Jersey Paddler, and LL Bean. There were an amazing amount of boats ready to be adopted. Ordering one at a symposium gives you the chance to select the options you want and to have one tweaked to fit you better. The downfall of that is that you have to wait and it feels like forever!

Have fun with your new boat, wherever you buy it.

Sea Kayak Symposium?

Where and when is it?

The one we are going to is the West Coast Sea Kayaking Symposium. It’s taking place next weekend (sept 17-19) in Fort Worden State park in Port Townsend, WA.

Nigel Foster…
Nigel is great isn’t he? My wife refers to him as ‘sweet.’

He fit me into a Legend at GOMSKS and had I not recently gotten my Aquanaut, I may have gotten a Legend.

The folks from Baddock Bay are also wonderful. We bought a few things from them at GOMSKS and I’ve subsequently puchased from them via phone.

If I make it out to Rochester, I hope to stop and se them.

How About This
If you get an interesting deal at the show, call your outfitter from the show and see if they can do something similar. Factor in the possibility that the local shop will offer about 10% or so on any associated gear that you buy (paddle/skirt/pfd etc) that might end up costing the same.

Good Luck…Lou

If you stop by Braddock Bay,
tell them I said hello. Your wife is right, Nigel is sweet. Good luck with your search for an Echo. I’ll let you know if I find one for sale around here.


Braddock Bay
I am trying to figure a good time to get out to Rochester before winter closes in. They have the new Lincoln boat and are very keen on it. (Lincoln told me there are none outside of Freeport.)

If I make it out there I will convey your regards.

And thanks for keeping an eye out for an Echo.

this coming weekend?
Dang! I’d love to go, even if it is about 6 hours away from here. Too bad I just agreed to judge a cat show this weekend!

I’m still looking for the perfect boat to put a dog in. No hurry though, since my dog hates water. I can lift her into the boat and she’ll stay there just fine though, to get out is to get wet!