Demo kayaks in Northern New Jersey

Besides Ramsey Outdoors do any other retailers in northern NJ or NY offer demo days for kayaks? Looking to buy my first kayak and would like to find one to paddle first.


Central NJ
Not quite north NJ, but check out Jersey Paddlers.

Not too far (Peekskill, NY)
Annsville Paddlesports Center, Peekskill, NY.

This is south of the Bear Mountain bridge on route 9 on the east side of the Hudson.

They have Valley, NDK, P&H, Necky (maybe other) kayaks.

They also run lessons (I’ve done a few) and tours.

Jersey Paddler (Brick, NJ) is another place to try (a bit farther).

“Demo” versus renting
I don’t know how long you’ve been paddling, but since you’re thinking about your first boat, I’ll guess that it hasn’t been all that long (though I could be wrong, as many people will rent boats for quite a while before getting their first). In any event, I have a thought or two about “demo days” versus renting several different boats over time…

“Demo days” do indeed have their uses; for both novice and experienced paddlers, but it can mean different things to them. For the more experienced paddler, a great deal about each boat can be learned with just a few minutes in each boat (especially if the conditions are at least somewhat lively).

For the person with less experience in various boats and conditions, the benefits of spending just a few minutes in any one boat can be questionable; or even just confusing. This is why I feel it’s a good idea, if at all possible, to rent several different boats over a period of time. Being able to spend hours/days/weeks instead of mere minutes in each boat is a great advantage. This longer period of trying boats also allows the beginner to develop some basic skills along the way, and to paddle the boats in varying conditions. All of this is important when making a first boat choice.

I don’t mean to discourage you from attending demo days, but perhaps also consider renting, as this will give you more time to get to know the boats, and begin to develop your own set of preferences.

Good luck!