High Fuel Costs...More Kayak Sales?

On my last 3 paddle outings, I have had conversations started by boaters who wanted to know about the sport…where did I get my kayak, are they stable, what is a good brand, etc. They said the cost of marine fuel was killing them (and fuel costs for the pickup/SUV to haul it) and were looking to sell their boats (confirmed by the glut of For Sales on Craigslist). According to a boat sales rep I spoke to, the boating industry is in for a very rough time. Boat repo’s are climbing and new boat sales are dead. My observation is that kayaks/canoes may very well see a hefty increase in sales with new paddlers hitting the water. Thoughts?

Mebbe some fishermen.
But n ot the bass boat types. Your average water skier won’t go for paddle craft. If the boat gets repoed, they’ll head to the mall. Or a NASCAR race.

local board has
shown a big increase in car pooling and cut backs in paddling trips. With whitewater, you need to go where the water is. Some of these guys used to think nothing of an 8 hour drive for a 3 hour paddle. My choices for a decent time today would be a 230 mile round trip(plus shuttle)to Zoar, Mass or a 22 minute drive for some poling. Methinks I’ll be poling :-). I’m noticing a lot more activity at T-ville, too, which is mainly a year round park and play spot. My truck cost $15 an hour last year, hauling 2 canoes and 2 or 3 yaks, this year I’m not willing to find out.

Flatwaters a different story. Flat is flat.

My dad’s very happy he has his boat paid off now, but fuel costs (for the boat, and the hauler to get it to the water) have kept the boat in storage so far. He has a canoe, but it’s a heavy monster MR Explorer 16 TT and with all the flooding in Indiana, hasn’t had the chance to take it out, either.

My canoe has been garaged so far this year, too…but not for fuel expenses to get to the put-in. It’s stashed because it’s 1200 miles from where I am spending the summer and my wife is too small/weak to load it onto the jeep. She’s been borrowing kayaks from some friends, and I’ve been borrowing/renting, as well.

$480 to fill tanks
I recently heard a “pleasure” boater who was stunned that it cost him $480 to fill his tanks. Adding up boat payments, marina fees and winter storage fees he’s not a happy boater.

Today at the on-water demo day I overheard several people saying they were buying kayaks so they can paddle close to home instead of taking week long trips to the Outer Banks, etc. Yet at the same time the paddlesports manufacturers say their sales are off, particularly in northern retail markets.

I think we are all in for a continued deterioration of our economy, regardless of how we power our boats. Thank goodness I sold my gas guzzler pickup truck a year ago and got into a minivan that gets good mileage.

Expect higher prices for kayaks
in the future, particularly plastic ones.

I was thinking the same thing today,
only the increased interest will interact with

increased competition, especially amongst the

plastic sector. It will be interesting…

Just yesterday
We were out paddling in Fishers Island Sound, and noticed a distinct lack of power boats. Even sailboats were fewer (Lotsa lazy a$$es in the vicinity motor when there is wind even though they have perfectly good sails - what’s the point?). It’s usually a zoo out there after memorial day, but it was quite civilized yesterday.

Now when we paddled Narragansett Bay in RI last week, there were TONS of sailboats, and all under sail. Fewer power boats there, too. And lots of kayaks.

I think paddling shops just might do very well the next several years.

Location, location, location

– Last Updated: Jun-15-08 8:13 AM EST –

Most likely paddling shops that are located in prime paddling turf and are also located within an easy commute of a major population base that is still holding its' own economically will probably have stable or even a higher number of boat sales. It is the smaller independent and family owned shops that are in less dense populated areas and not right next to a high profile paddling spot that will most likely take it on the chin. A friend who owned such a shop (the shorter rec boats were the bread and butter of the business) stopped purchasing all outdoor gear for the shop about two years ago so he could slowly unload what was in stock and prepare the store to stay afloat for the future by converting it to a scooter shop. Many of these independent shops that had to sell the small rec boats to make enough to be in business as there isn't enough profit or sales in high end canoes and kayaks. With the expansion of big box stores into many geographical areas, they have killed the rec business for the independents which in turn has reduced the options for those local consumers to purchase higher end boats for all conditions and uses as these independents are steadily going out of business. What will be interesting is to see if the total sales numbers of higher end boats now drops or if the shops in the high profile areas will make up the difference in the total sales numbers of these boats.

key word: kayak
should read “key word: enemy of kayak”


I doubt it
More $ for energy = less disposal imcome

More $ for energy = more expensive kayaks

I doubt there will be much crossover from powerboaters, powerboaters are generally not seeking the same thing from the on water experience that kayakers seek.

yep Wayne
it’s gonna’ be a great summer to be a sailer. Talkin’ with the mgr. at Thamesport(where I keep BlueMoon), he said the fishermen are “boat pooling” instead of having 2-3 guys out in a 30-40 footer, they’re chipping in and taking turns.

The other thing I’ve noticed with the marina folks, is the big boat will stay parked and a lot of dinghy riding will take place.

The 11 horse diesel in Blue Moon will not be encountering any cutbacks this year ;-).

– Last Updated: Jun-15-08 10:35 AM EST –

Agree...but it might not be so much of the deteriorization of the whole country's economy...but more of the deteriorization of the economy of those raised on middle/working class VALUES (ie...those who believe there's more in life to enjoy on this planet than the derivatives as applied to aiding in building one's financial statement.)
This society has the answers...but the political leaders have had the will to preserve the larger corporate profit, whatever that means, at the expense of growth for the future......for decades.

My contractor said his plumber
said that PVC pipe went up about 30%. Some people might take up paddling but I think high gas prices will keep most people close to home. So people close to water might buy one, otherwise no.