How far back does this forum go?

I have been snooping around a wee bit and noticed some really old post.
I have read many where advice was asked, and others shared.
I see a semblance of a Ford or Chevy, or Ginger or Maryann, bias/preference when info was shared.
I noticed too a snobbishness visited against “rec” paddlers, not sure why, as I think we all fit into that category unless we get paid to paddle as a means of employment…yes?
I also see some snark visited on “box store” products, and imported products…
But as the popularity of the sport has grown, so has the technology and build production of those “inferior” products and I wonder if anybody has adjusted their opinions accordingly?
I mean I am old enough to remember when it said “Made in Japan” brought a gnuff and smirk from just about everybody in the USA, now they lead in technology and production in so many products and fields…
So…I ask not to be a jerk, more of a searching question of you that have been around this sport, and can share a firsthand observation, of the “growth” in it…THANK YOU :slight_smile:


I can’t be straight with you,
if I’m to be crazy,
for my disjointed banter
bends and betrays me,

as a bias-cross-bias,
though never cross in a dressing,
these many fabrics of thought
in our paddled progressing,

and as it was said many times here
by some being quite Frank,
let all just paddle on,
it’s just some of us hull on in old tank.

Oh! And I think to the last century, with your initial question.
[Hopefully never “snarky,” but I was one time (OK, maybe two or three) called “gruff 'n surly,” but I swear to you it wasn’t me but Topher’s wicked Mojito Juice that was do’n all the talkin’!]

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Many years ago this forum was only came into existence 2-ish years ago? Any thread prior to (2018?) was imported from the old site. Pnet forums were ancient in their appearance and not mobile friendly, so the demographic of the Pnet forums was very (very) gray haired. I was one of the only people in their 30’s on the forum at the time, so that explains some of that.

Being that Pnet was mostly old, experienced paddlers, yes, we were (and probably still are) a tad snobby. For the die hards of the sport, paddling is a way of life. Its cool that now you can get a ‘kayak’ at TJ max for $200 as it has brought many people into the sport, but it also brings a lot of idiots that dont even put in the minimum effort to understand or educate themselves about technique, safety, and etiquette. the 500th n00b who asks “which $300 kayak should I get” should indeed be slightly shamed for not googling the basics and getting past the 101 level information before asking an easy to answer question. We’re happy to help, but comon, use google and common sense first.

And to be objective and honest, its very hard or impossible find a high quality paddling gear at a big box stores (dicks, scheels, etc). You might have fun with a $300 TJ Maxx kayak, and thats good. But its still a crappy boat by any objective measure. That’s not saying you’re dumb for buying it. In many cases that’s all people need, but its still objectively a crappy boat. Dont take it personally when someone calls a spade a spade, though some say it in a dick-ish way which is probably the real issue.

In the same way that McDonalds single cheeseburger is a crappy burger, but yet its also good. . If you enjoy it, thats what matters, but dont be surprised when someone says a McD’s burger is bad for you, going to make you obese, or that there are better burgers out there you may want to try if you’re a burger aficionado. Same with kayaks.

And many of the snarky comments are aimed at n00bs proposing things that are immediately dangerous to life. For example a guy was asking not long ago about doing something like a 14 day trip through coastal Florida, but had never done an overnighter and didn’t have a sea kayak or any experience. Big water and Cold water is an unforgiving teacher, and many n00bs “dont know what they dont know”. Then we beat them over the head :slight_smile:


Great prose !

OUTSTANDING response MClimes…cut to the chase with minimal blood, lol!

I know exactly what you mean when “newbies” entered the game, how it can change what once was, er…sacred to a sect.
I go way back in surfing when you carried a longboard on top of your head and grew shorter every day for it.
A respect existed for those who had been around longer, and you never cut in front of the line up, or dropped into a wave back then…that was just part of the understood protocols.
The “leash” changed everything, no longer the same learning curve of swimming to retrieve your board, it brought yahoos into the game, they ruined much on the vibes and nature of the sport…
Respect went out the window and in you face attitudes and fist fights became the norm…
Locals no longer welcomed outsiders, and they patrolled their breaks like (a) armed forces of a nation, and their borders… so sad, I hope this is not the case with paddling.

How about the other aspect of my question, you touched on it somewhat, but perhaps you could some more.
I recall reading a post where it spoke against the technology of rotomolding, etc…but correct me if I am wrong, lots of top end kayaks are made using that technique now, yes?
Again, I am extremely green, however my background deals in making things “watertight” as I was a plumber for decades, and I know the least amount of joints (seams) offer the water less opportunities for intrusion, or in my case…escape :).

Has the sport seen much improvement in manufacturing, or is the preferred method still dry flies barbless only, worms left in the garden…yuk, yuk?

I think perhaps the level of boat snobbery is perhaps decreasing a bit.

As far back as I can remember, and that’s well before there were personal computers or message boards, there’s been an element of “boat snobbery”. At some level it probably is a bit like a “Ford/Chevy”,“Ginger/Maryanne” debate. Basically its a good-natured rivalry with a bit of humor mixed in. There are times when the “rivalry” almost merges into snobbery - and that’s unfortunate, though probably its more a reflection of the state of our social order than anything having much to do with boats.

I grew up paddling a Grumman. I probably should confess to possessing, even back then, a bit of snobbery myself with regards to Quichita and Michicrafts. I viewed Alumacraft paddlers as peers, and perhaps had a bit of envy for those who could get their hands on a Beaver superaluminum class racer. From my vantage point back then fiberglass Sawyers or Jensens were like Ferraris or Maseratis. Owning a good Wood/Canvas canoe was, to me, like owning a Dusenberg. Not bloody likely.
Nice, and what they do they do well, but not really for the common youthful earthling who just wants to paddle and go camping.

And then the phrase “Friends don’t let friends paddle aluminum” started floating around and it felt like a new level of snobbery. This was more like class warfare, to my eyes. I’m sure the same was going on in the kayak world - Folbots were the common “kayak” (well, you sat low and used a double blade paddle, right?), but there were those who were starting to manufacture fiberglass and soon after rotomolded kayaks that preformed their given functions much better.

That state of affairs waxed and waned for decades but, at least as it seemed to me, began decreasing as the price between glass and rotomolded, and (even later) royalex boats came closer to the price of aluminum (and way below that of wood/canvas). And rotomolded white water kayaks, at least, have been around for quite a while - rotomolded Daggers and Perception go back a long way.

By the time I had any desire to go to a computer as a communication device, I had a fiberglass solo and still had my old Grumman (as I do to this day). I recall getting amazed reactions from folks here in the Pnet gallery for “having the courage” to admit to having had good times paddling a Grumman. Its not like that anymore. Lots of folks now admit to it, though we’re likely to mostly paddle glass or royalex. (And I still maintain that canoeing/kayaking might have died out entirely had it not been for the mass production of the affordable aluminum canoe.) I recall one of the reasons given for the formation of this very forum we’re on right now, Paddler’s Place, was because there was a poster who came in as a complete novice, with a Swifty kayak (pretty much a rec kayak) and who was full of questions and concerns (and off topic talk), enthusiastically sharing every new adventure. That really seemed like a waste of time, like clutter, to of some of the more “serious” paddlers here.
So there was a split from the Advice forum, and its a good thing, I believe. There was rivalry between kayakers and canoeists, too - and that has always seemed basically good-natured. Ginger/Maryanne

All of that has to be put aside, though, when questions of safety come up, as they often do here. MCImes is right on. No matter what you paddle or how good you are, there is a wave that can take you out, a rapid that can drown you, a wind storm or a bolt of lightning that can do you in. Experience teaches us that. Experience also teaches us skills to better deal with situations that occur while paddling, how best to recognize and avoid the situation that is beyond us, how to better equip ourselves for difficulties, when to just stay on shore.

The absolute newbie in the $200 rec kayak too often sees nothing but fun. They need to be made aware (preferably gently and with humor) that there are no guard rails at all out there. You are responsible for you. Paddling skills and judgement don’t come to anyone in their sleep. Buying a first paddle craft is to own a key to a vehicle made to travel a road you’re just starting out on; its not just another thing you’re buying.
I think that’s what most folks here try to convey. Its not snobbery toward rec kayak paddlers. Rec kayaks are fine in their place, they get folks started, they’re fine in small calm warm waters. But none of us wants to see any paddler sally forth into a dangerous situation ill prepared or unaware of what they are getting into, as a novice at anything is apt to do; as we ourselves might have done somewhere along the line. It reflects poorly on us if we don’t flash the warning light when its called for, or even when its only “possibly” called for. That’s not snobbery.


I can’t wait to buy your book when it comes out…HAHAHA.

That was a AWESOME reply, fact is I am blown away thus far by what you guys have shared…
Not a wisp of snobbery to be found, no…much more like a big brother looking after his lil’ sibling.
Also, thanks for the reminder to about how this type of exchange cut its teeth too, I had forgotten about all those flame wars I myself entered into in other domains…OMG, and the first telephone bill I got for my “dial up” connections on message boards…I swear I coulda bought that ride you were only dreaming about ARG…!!!


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My Wayback Machine goes to the usenet newsgroup Newsgroups avoided the repetitious newbie problem by having FAQs.

Another spin on this is back in 1975 I bought my first kayak for $750 new. You could go cheaper by making a mold off someone else’s boat and fabricate your own, or just float a truck inner tube. Two years ago I bought a Epic 18x. If you plug $750 into an inflation calculator I paid about the same price.

When rotomolds first showed up at the local rapids we called them Tupperware boats. We were envious because although they weighed a ton you could throw them off a cliff and they wouldn’t break. $200 for a boat in today’s money is $42 in 1975 money. Talk about lowering the cost of entry…

Eskimos started this forum.

I joined around 2000 when the Bogie and Bacall Kayak Race in Key Largo was in full bloom and getting a life of it’s own. It was a two day event on Super Bowl weekend.
A large number of posts were about sea kayaks and racing kayaks. This was before many smaller companies were absorbed into the larger ones.
Made many friends from all over the East Coast and still paddle with several of them.
The event grew to a week long demo and seminar and all trophies and prizes were award in plenty of time to watch the game…


I joined around 2002- 2003, something like that. I had been paddling long before that but it wasn’t my main thing and about that time it was becoming important to me. I was pretty keen to learn more about paddling because I knew there was quite a bit that I didn’t know.

I did not find a welcoming environment. Now I recognize that I asked some dumb-ass questions and expressed some opinions that were obviously not popular. I was also from a part of the country where few in the group lived or had any interest in paddling. For over a year I felt that I was treated by the most vocal in the group as a second class citizen. Advice, when given, felt pretty demeaning. One member could see my struggles and took interest in me to help me navigate the group. He was treated as a person of clearly high status by the group and we discussed via email who I needed to watch out for and he helped me integrate somewhat. The tenor of the group at that time was not very friendly.

Personally, I feel that things changed a lot with the last major software upgrade. No doubt the mobile device users became a larger demographic (which is good) and some of the curmudgeons left in protest of change. I also think that getting rid of Bicker and Banter helped a lot. It seemed that it served too much beer and created mean drunks who came home to the other Topics to beat their kids.

I like where we are at today and feel that we are much more inclusive and civil. Like others, I do struggle with ways to address for the umpteenth time the $200 boat, lack of understanding of water temps, skegs VS rudders, trim VS stretch, sand VS scrape, etc. but we are all kinder when answering these questions than folks used to be here.

We ain’t perfect but we are better than we used to be.


Bicker and Banter…sounds almost as good as talk’n politics…NOT.
I had no idea this site, and the sport for that matter, has changed so much.
I reckon some folk still find themselves attached to their whip and buggies, just gotta make sure when you pass em in your ferrari to stay out of the whips reach…HONK, HONK, HONK…!!!


There’s a song about that. Last verse just before the chours.


I believe I first joined Pnet in late 1999, when I bought my first boat in California. My $ registration now says I joined in 2001, but I know I arranged trips with fellow Pnet paddlers in 2000 and I have the pictures to prove it so I don’t think that date is correct. Boat Snobbery is in the eye of the beholder.

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Amen to that . Most of that gang didn’t really come here for paddling discussions.


Here’s the original homepage…


I joined in 2006 - many, many long-time members were around back then. I felt like a newbie for years.

(It will always be p-net to me.)

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How far back does this forum go?
Perhaps question to ponder this day bogged in snow.
If by forum you mean place where masses publicly babble,
And the “this” is by paddle I hear ancient Rome’s rabble,

in a corner by column where freed convicts and slaves,
whisper to one another of mad drummers depraved,
and those whip-wielding warriors adding beat upon beat.
(Back then Bicker 'N Banter avoided posts by discrete.)

Yes, these paddlers of old hashed out rudders verse skeg,
though I guess hotter topic was an effective stroke with one leg,
or maybe how to wet exit when chained to twelve oar more palies,
and mad Phoenicians storm round you in an inflamed sinking galley.

(Of course Cybercus Maximus had to chisel all the threads on forum marble, and the delete button usually involved the poster having to paddle a Pamlico 14 through a Colosseum fountain filled with Nile crocodiles recently gifted to Caesar by Cleopatra.)

Ahhh, those good old P-Net Days. Sigh, where are the Coffees of yesterday.
(And the beat goes on. The beat goes on.)

Hope your weather improves too… LOL!

Sometimes the more things change, the more they stay alike…
The currents in life often run faster than what we are willing to travel.
Appreciation abandoned, and granted, expected.
Do we change for the better, or merely to keep up with the Joneses?
Is our attraction deeper than what tethers us to the moment?
Do we forget, erase, that which was, in order to make room, for what might be?
We can live in the moment, we can plan for the future, but we can never change the past…
And those who forget this, risk the other two…
Now, tell me your story :slight_smile:

My registration says 2001, but I’m pretty sure I joined before then. Not as active as I used to be, but I do check in a couple of times a week.

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