Ever bought a kayak online?

I have decided to buy a couple of WS kayaks so I headed over to the only dealer in the region. Told them what I was ready to buy. Response? They didn’t have what I wanted in stock, we might(?) be getting some in 2 or three weeks, excuse me while we help these other folks buy a tadem kayak, oh would you be interested in one used demo? Maybe its just me but when I walk in to a retailer ready to drop 2 grand, I expect a little more interest from the sales people.

Anyway, there are a number of online retailers where I can get what I want delivered to my front door, OutdoorPlay, Fishing Kayaks, etc. Would be interested in any suggestions or experiences with these companies.

I bought one kayak online.
I recently bought one kayak online. (WS pamlico 100). The website I would recommend is ‘www.austinkayak.com’.

I paid a fair price for the kayak and the dealer charged $75 flat fee for handling and delivery. My kayak was deliveried by a 18 wheelers truck to the door so I didn’t need to worry about how to pick up it.

Right after you placed your purchurse order online. You’re supposed to receive an email with the delivery status. Right after the kayak shipped, you will obtain a tracking number which you can use to track the date/time you will be receiving your kayak.

My last boat.
I bought my last boat on-line. Great price. Great service. Great delivery.

I used Sierra South.

Probably local is best, but if you can’t get what you want, GO get what you want. It’s YOUR money.

Good Luck and have fun.


Local Retailer
Let them know you are ready to purchase, and want to shop locally.

If they don’t recignize that then too bad

About 4 times
All folding kayaks, 2 shipped to Okinawa. Only issue was buying one from Canada. It went to Oakland first and then Okinawa. UPS charged a $150 customs fee to deliver it to Oakland.

Yup. Free shipping and…
…no sales tax.

Will locals match online prices?
Has anyone had any luck getting local retailers to match online pricing? It seems like they would be inclined to give up $50 or $100 on a sale than lose the entire $1000+ sale to someone else. I’ve been trying to decide how best to handle my next purchase. I can find and order what I want online but I’d rather keep my money local. I can’t justify being loyal to the locals if it’s going to cost me 10 to 20% more in the long run.

Our local shop will.
Our local shop is owned and operated by pnet regular STICKMAN. He will price match if necessary. I think that at the least the brick and mortar store should get the option to do that. It sounds like your local store is not interested. If that is the case then you should do whatever you want or need to do to make your purchase.

Again, Good Luck.


This is where I usually say “buy local”,
but given you’ve already tried that and they weren’t interested then go online.

There are some advantages of buying local; keeping the shop in business; employees are your friends and paddle buds; if something is wrong with the boat its easier to get it fixed if you don’t have to ship it back to an online dealer; most shops offer a discount for any accessories you buy with the boat; most shops will take a trade if you bought it originally from them; some shops offer a “consignment sale” option if you bought the boat from them originally; helping the dealer increase his volume may help with discounts next time the dealer places an order; most dealers are qualified to help you outfit the boat to meet your needs; most dealers are tied in to the local paddling community and can help introduce you; many (not all) of the online sales deals are seconds or blems; your dealer will have a demo you can try, usually at no charge; your dealer can order just about any boat you want if he is a dealer for the company you’re interested in.

One downside of buying local is the dealer has to charge sales tax, which often negates the otherwise cost of shipping if you buy on line or out of state. Another downside is you are limited to the makes and models the dealer is eligble to sell.

Tough call…I always buy local when I can but I’m not against buying on line, or long distance. Two of my canoes are from Canada, one of my sea Kayaks is from England, one of my whitewater kayaks was made in Sri Lanka.

coupla things to keep in mind
A) Dealers order in September for the following spring. If a particular model ends up more popular than projected, it’s difficult to simply say “hey, add on another dozen of 'em” in April and expect to have them in May. This is especially true with Confluence these days. So when they said “we may have some in a couple of weeks”, did you enquire about those boats further? Or are you unhappy that they didn’t have them in stock when you wanted to walk out the door with them that day? If the signal you gave was non-commital re: the incoming boats, it’s understandable that the salesman would check in on someone else who was telling him that he was ready to buy that moment. He may well have thought that you were in “I have to think about it” mode, and chosen to give you some space.

B) In our part of the world, the price at the local shop and the mass merchandisers are about the same - often a little less at the local guy. Add in the fact that the locals will carry models that the Big Boxes won’t touch because they’re too “specialized.” As far as pricing goes, I had a guy in last night looking at a particular Rec boat, but he held off buying because he was sure that he’d get a better price at ____ (a national chain of outdoors stores). He called back today to put one on hold, as he found out the price I quoted him was $70 less than the big box; oh, and that WE had it in stock and they didn’t…:wink:

June can be the cruelest month for customers looking for popular boats. The dealers are trying NOT to get stuck with '07 inventory come August, and the manufacturers are 3 to 6 weeks out on building almost any new orders. Before going mail-order, it might be worth another call to the local shop to see if he can give you more info on the boats coming in. If he either can’t tell you any more info, or DOESN’T have them coming in, then all bets are off, and whoever you can get 'em from is who you should buy from.

I have and it went well
I bought one from Alder Creek kayak which is a regular shop in Portland. Free shipping, no sales tax and they threw in the vest, spray skirt and paddle. I frequent the local store but they could not match the deal, mostly because of the sales tax issue. Alder Creek is a brick and morter store that also does on-line sales. I called on the phone and the folks were very helpful.

Every one purchased online
- four of them, all folders. One very old from a private party, one new from the manufacturer, and two demo boats from the importer. Not a problem with any of the purchases. All went smoothly. With the folding kayaks, it seems to be a great small community of manufacturers and users.


Have bought two…
A Carolina 14.5 from sierratradingpost.com (painless and a great price) and most recently, a Dagger Approach from outdoorplay.com. That kayak should show up any day now : ) So far my experience with op has been great… it shipped on the same day I ordered it. Free shipping too. Don’t forget you can get 10% off any boat from there if you are a paddling.net member (better stop before I sound like an employee :wink: )

Be careful!
I’ve bought several this way, and, in two instances, did not receive the boat in what I’d consider to be condition advertised. Those boats I bought as “new”, but one came through with a 7" long gouge in the hull, and the other looked like a demo (heavy incidence of shallow scratches along both sides), although both shipping containers were unscathed. Seems some folks will sell a boat as new, regardless of the actual hull condition, and take scratches and shallow gauges with a grain of salt. When I called one shop to complain, they said they’d take the boat back, (though not reimburse me for my shipping either way), and just sell it to someone “not so picky”. Nice…

Anyhow, not being in the shop yourself, it can be VERY difficult, in my experience, to get a spot-on opinion as to the exact condition of the boat you are buying.

On the contrary, the used boats I’ve bought have been purchased from first-class paddlers, who have provided very accurate accounts of the hull condition.

Mine wouldn’t…
…and they didn’t carry the model I wanted.

I can see…
…that could be a problem.

I bought mine from Colorado kayak. I suspect that reputable places like them and Outdoorplay

would be virtually risk free.

New world
The web has changed how we do so many things, but I would have to agree with the earlier posts fom the shop owner mobrien.

Buy locally and think Globally when you have the opportunity.

I bought a WS Tempest 165
last Nov online, (E-Bay) and dealt with the seller online. Had ZERO problems, got a great deal (saved $650) and an excellent kayak.

My 2 online experiences
I bought my kayak from Lone Star Kayaks. Great price, great email communication and fast shipping.

I bought my kayak accessories from kayak fishing stuff. I would not buy from them via the net again. Delayed shipping and poor email communication. I’ve heard from several people that this is a common problem, but it is supposed to be easily avoided if you phone in your order. Due to my work I was unable to contact them via phone (their hours are also my hours) and they refused to answer any questions via email. On top of it they delete any negative reviews about KFS on their forum, which I think is an extremely hady business practice.

I’m looking at buying a second kayak. I want either a Cobra Fish and Dive or Malibu X-Factor. If I go with the Cobra I’ll buy from Lone Star, but I figured I’d give the local shops the first chance at my money. Problem is most don’t seem that interested in making a sale.

Try Backcountry.com NM