This may be especially answerable by those who have been kayaking for decades. I’m wondering how kayaks have changed, if they have, over the last 30 years or so. Obviously the sport has exploded. When I started (about 28 years ago if my math is right), it was kind of exciting to see another kayak on the water. Now it’s pretty common, and it seems like half of all car commercials or commercials about retirement investing and so on feature a kayak. Sit-on-tops are a huge thing now and there are more niche kayaks (e.g., for playing in surf and so on). And of course Greenland style paddles and techniques have become pretty big. But for basic touring kayaks, I am curious if design philosophy, materials, strength-weight ratios, safety features, or whatever have changed in a way that makes the average top shelf kayak from today different (superior) to the average top shelf kayak from back in the day. It seems to me as if classic boats, like the Romany or Explorer for example, are still competing successfully with newer models so maybe the answer is no? But there are more and more new models every year and many older models get retired. Does this mostly reflect newer manufacturers wanting to get in on the action and coming out with me-too boats, and decisions from existing manufacturers that have more to do with marketing, cost-of-production, or whatever than overall quality and on-water performance? On my first boat (WS Sealution II), there were padeyes rather than recessed fittings which seems like the norm now, but maybe it was back then too. I like the small day hatches that some manufacturers are putting in front of the cockpit. Can’t think of much else.
Similarly, I wonder if technique has evolved (i.e., what gets taught). I suspect this may be especially true of rescues. Also, someone said on another thread in response to something I posted about shoulder injuries that a lot of coaches have really de-emphasized or don’t even teach high braces anymore (sounds hard to believe) and that the emphasis has shifted to low braces.