If I want a car I go look at them and drive one at the dealer, if I want a TV I go to the store to look at them. It is getting harder and harder to go look at or demo a higher priced composite kayak. Dealers near Long Island and tri-state area are disappearing. No one stocks anything or has demos. I guess it is part of people all wanting mortar tubs to paddle. I know if they stock one and then it’s the wrong color or model so they sit on it for years possibly but it makes it hard to sell something for 3-5 grand you basically wear and use for years from a catalog or web site. There were 4 Current Designs dealers 5 years ago and now they are not dealers for CD or they are totally out of business sadly. This does not help get new people into the sport and seems to be a self fulfilling prophecy of sea / touring kayaks going bye bye. I mean there are over 30 million people in the New York tri-state area.
Actually, you’re fortunate because
you have a very good dealer near you who sells composite sea kayaks and even offers regular demo programs:
The next one is June 19.
I think CD is having some issues relating to either its website or dealers, or both. CD claims to have two dealers in Michigan but in visiting those websites, one is a surf shop carrying no kayaks and the other doesn't even list CD kayaks for sale. Could be Current Designs needs to refresh its manufacturer reps, since those are the guys who work with the dealers.
There isn't much profit in selling high-end composite boats.
This is reality, folks: they're expensive, they take up space, and they have to compete with less expensive products. Take note of the increased range of poly sea kayaks.
Yeah, I wish they were more popular also. But wishing doesn't change a thing. IMO the only way sea kayaking grows is if a much cheaper material with a much cheaper manufacturing method is discovered.
I guess I don't get this rash of regret. Personally, I don't mind being one of a few. I paddle for happiness, not to dwell on the unfortunate. But I've been skiing since before snowboarding, and the bite that snowboarding took out of skiing never bothered me either.
Distances and dealers
Marshall is not exactly near someone out on the east end on Long Island, if that’s where OPer is. Long Island is about 140 miles long and you then have to get around/thru NYC, or ferry over the Connecticut, to get into the mid-Hudson River Valley where Marshall is. It is quite doable to go and demo but it really means staying overnight on one end or the other to have proper time to do so.
If OPer is in west on the Island, it is more doable. But still not what would be my favorite drive.
I know these are not big seeming distances to people used to dealing with the huge drives often see in Michigan with the UP, but staying overnight to demo is still a commitment that has to be scheduled. And OPer is correct about the situation on LI, over a decade ago there were long boat dealers out there that aren’t any more. My husband and I visited all of them when we went down to see his parents.
To the OPer, due to the notable decrease in interest in higher end sea kayaks you can do quite well looking used right now. I have two that I have not gotten around to listing that are going to be posted for pretty low prices once I ever get around to doing the photos and posting them (probably this fall the way my time is going). I am hardly the only one, I suspect there are a pile of under-used sea kayaks in garages on Long Island.
If I were in the market right now, I would be shopping used. I’ve seen some downright steals on composite boats. Yes, you have to know what you want, or have a chance to demo, but it’s a great market with some fantastic boats.
For a newbie it requires more of a leap of faith, but then, one isn’t getting locked into a more expensive boat with that leap. But if one has experience, one can make similarly long drives (or shorter) and really save a bundle.
Its a catch-22
I’ve been looking for a LV composite for a year. New or used. It’s a vacuum.
If there’s none to demo, then there’s no sale. If I found one that fit and I liked, no problem ordering one and waiting for it to be built.
Hope to check out the Sirona LV and a North Shore Atlantic LV in the next few weeks and possibly the EDY Fathom LV.
If those don’t work out, maybe I’ll check out surf skis - there’s plenty of those up here to try. Or maybe a Greenland kayak.
it sure is
I’m only repeating what some in the business tell me.
Have you ever considered a trip to SE MI and Riverside Kayak Co. in Wyandotte? Yes, you have to brave Detroit, but they’re good people who will give you sincere help and advice.
Demoed a LV that didn't fit and saw the Detroit River's never ending seawalls of doom, to borrow a phrase from another paddler.
Have never paddled south of Waters, MI so it was water quality culture shock.
The Riverside folks put on PAKS.
Scary part is the water used to be much worse. I try to bring lots of water when I paddle there or upstream, so I can rinse off ASAP.
But you can usually find challenging conditions because of all the walls and boat traffic. I remember being at the Ren Cen for an outdoor concert, there was a very proficient guy in a sea kayak, mixed in with all the power boats, taking in the concert.
I’d like to see Chicago and a few other big cities from the water, but water quality always leaves me a bit apprehensive. Have to time it right.
used to be easier
It used to be that kayak dealers (like the now-closed Small Boat Shop that was on the Connecticut side of Long Island Sound in Norwalk) had large boat storage barns where individual owners who were interested in selling their used boats could pay to store them and where they could be browsed and even demo’ed on site by potential buyers. Kind of a consignment shop arrangement. I don’t know of anyone who does that now.
One good way to get exposure and seat time in a range of kayaks is to go to regatta type events or kayak club outings. I’ve found people are generally very happy to let others try out their boats. Not that long ago I got to paddle an Eddyline Falcon for an hour when I switched boats with another paddler at an open water swimming race on a local river where we had both volunteered as race tenders along the route. He wanted to try my Feathercraft folder and I had never been in an Eddyline so we swapped.
And I took a sea kayaking skills course 2 weekends ago and it turned out that the instructor was a dealer for Nigel Dennis composite kayaks and brought 4 along on a trailer for us students to either use for the course or test paddle after it. It would be worth contacting the makers of models that interest you to see if they have such reps or instructors in your area that can provide such access.
I do think that high end kayak makers have to figure out a better way to get their models “on the road”. Just bringing a few to sports conventions in big halls doesn’t reach the right people or give them a chance to actually feel how the boats are in the water. We have had a big annual regatta for years for sailing and paddling sports here in Western PA where one or more dealers would bring a range of boats for people to try on the water. But the event seems to have shrunk in scope and purpose over the years and I don’t think that is an option any more.
I always have multiple boats in a range of sizes and types in my personal stash (no composites, though) and have often invited people to visit me and test paddle them, since I’m only 10 minutes from a local river.
And another one not all that far …
from NYC is Billington Sea Kayak in Plymouth.
They have dozens of high end kayaks and you can demo them right there at the store.
have three Current Design kayaks and a Eddyline. Plus two SOT. I don’t mind traveling 140 miles to see what I want. Used market is great except you may wait a long long time for what you want. I wanted a tandem CD Libra XT it took over two years to find one and that was 3 or 4 hours each way. I happened to find a CD Solstice an 08 two years old like they always say probably used 4 times really like new with gear for a steal. Guy said others called but I said I called first I will be there at 5 am if you want with cash. 4,000 in boat and gear without tax for 1600. Libra was 900 for 1998 and it to was in super shape for it’s age. I traveled 6 hours each way for a CD Nomad / Extreme 7 years old for 300 bucks. One small spider crack in deck structurally sound but I restored the whole thing painting and replacing ALL but hull and rudder assembly. Lots of labor and 600 in material and parts. Looking for a HV Extreme or Nomad for 5 years used for a bit more room. I can’t say yet I am ready to buy new for an extra 3/4" in deck height because I can’t find one used. Now I would like to try and CD Infinity but that is really a task to find a dealer with one or even used. It’s a long way to any Current Design dealer and they have little product to try. Buy right used and you save a bundle. Marshall seems to have a great place and I may take a run up this summer but I am partial to rudder boats. Yes I do pull my rudder up to pretend cable snapped and practice control. I was even interested in a Seaward Quest but can’t see spending 4 grand plus for something I never sat in new or used. They are in Canada on the opposite coast from me so you rarely see any here on east coast. Tough to buy anything especially new. Buy decent price used in time you will get out of it with no or little loss. Buy new you will pay dearly for a demo on a boat now own if you sell it. Tough situation. Local place I use was a CD dealer but I guess if you don’t buy X$ product they yank your dealership. There were 3 CD dealers on Long Island and now there are none. Seem even Jersey Paddler is gone now too.
S’cuse me, found a CD dealer on LI
Peconic Paddler, listed on CD’s site as a dealer and their phone number that rings in Riverhead gets a voice saying they are open something like Thursday thru Saturday, other hours by appt.
Yes their web site has old dates on it. But if you get by that part, the phone number being active suggests they are still around.
Sea Kayak CT
I picked up a couple of Rockpool kayaks from this guy http://seakayakct.com/ over the past couple years. I think he’s the only Rockpool dealer in the US. He has a rental/touring fleet and a few different personal Rockpool boats that he lets people try out. He mentioned something about opening a shop possibly in the Rowayton/Norwalk area. Might be worth checking out.
Jim was the owner for decades and he sold it off to an employee. They were selling all the boat they had or a lot of them. Jim was trying to make a restaurant out of location but town killed that idea. Another paddle shop there is not much left of either. Thanks for the feed back in any case! Have not been there in a couple of years since Jim was emptying out inventory. Probably new owner clears the taxes & other cost on the property.
Of the ones we have, only 2 were bought new. We have 2 dealers within an hour and a half drive, and even then, we’ve bought used ones from them as well as new.
Of course, there’s a new one we bought in Maine (About 4 hours away) on our way to paddling up there.
I did buy a new canoe from a dealer a few years ago by ordering it - they used to be dealers for this canoe company, and were nice enough to order it for me anyway.
Rockpool also has a nice website
BEST ADVICE I RECEIVED IN SCHOOL
I graduated with my first degree in chemistry way back when. Along the way, my major advisor was addressing several of us about going to grad school and/or about working in the field after we graduated.
And his advice, ultimately, applies to all endeavors:
“Remember”, he told us, “Chemical companies aren’t in busines to make chemicals…
…they’re in business to mske money!”
And so it goes… And so it affects the mix of boats we see out there, and who offers what, and goes a long way to explaining the diminishing pool of long, composite boats available to
-Frank in Miami
So you buy most of your boats used?
And you’re complaining there are no dealers around to demo from? Wonder why that is?