Is sea kayaking somehow limited to older folks?

I have noticed that most of the members here are past the years in their life that we’d call “young”?
Is that common all over the USA?
I have “recruited” about 2 Dz new kayakers to the sport in the last 3 years, but the youngest one that could buy his own kayak is 31. I have gotten about 9 teenage kids into it, but none can afford to buy their own. When they go out with me and I loan them a kayak.

I am wondering who among us is the youngest.
If not to your objection, post your age.
I am 68

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I’m 46, but am generally the youngest in any of the groups I paddle with except for one other person who is 36 (and she is an extremely accomplished paddler). I can think of only a handful of other sea kayakers that I know who are my age or younger.

With the advent of video games as a sport I have noticed a lot fewer younger people on the water.

Things looked up a little during the pandemic response, but those rec boats are now rotting in back yards.

I am currently 67, and regretfully feel it too often these days.

75, but some days I don’t accept it. Then there are days when I don’t have a choice.
I was one of the youngest in our local group when I started in the mid 1980s.


Us older folks can afford to buy those expensive kayaks. 71 here.


68 and soon to add a year to that.

My regular local paddling buddies are: 3 in 40s, 1 in 30s, 1 just turned 50, 2 in early 60s, and 1 in early 70s.

As a semi-active ACA instructor of entry level paddlers, the few students i’ve worked with who enjoy being on the water, are interested at improving their skills, and also regularly kayak are mostly in their 40s.

The greatest impediment I find that hinders new-to-the-sport paddlers is transportability of a sea kayak. This is especially the case for women who thoroughly enjoy paddling, however cannot conceive of how to get a rack system to fit on their vehicle or how to physically load/unload the kayak. And, that is before they encounter the cleaning/maintence required on kayak and gear after paddling in our salt water environment.

Turning 61 this week. Started sea kayaking about 29 years ago

Looks like Brodie is the youngest so far.

Can anybody here come in under 46?

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Not me. But I took up kayaking (rec boat) at age 43 and sea kayaking at 45. Not young, not old.

Steve, i think I was at least 53 before I could buy my first kayak.

Craig, I notice a lot fewer in public.

Well, it could be that many of those who hang out here & post more that occasionally are of a certain age. I do see younger folk at some events and on some club trips.

There are groups such as CAT (Chicago Adventure Therapy) that work towards overcoming hurdles such as gear, access, transportation, skills, and expections to get young folks into the sport. The picture below was taken from one of CAT’s facebook posts from an Apostle Islands trip this summer. At least two of the people in this picture are BCU instructors (and there may be more).


yes the pets people bring :joy:

I’m 52 and I started paddling in my late twenties. My first boat was a cool little used solo canoe I found in the penny saver. I think I bought my first kayak at 31


Surprised and yet not surprised that I’m the youngest so far.

I started paddling when I moved to RI for grad school when I was 25. I rowed before that, and was always the youngest at the rowing events that I went to by many years if not decades (recreational/open water rowing shells, not crew).

I have been paddling canoes off and on since Boy Scouts. Started paddling a Folbot tandem folder in my 30’s. Putting 3 kids through college, house payments, archery, backpacking, hunting, and work took both funds and time away from paddling. When my knee went out at 60, I took up sea kayaking. I got back into sailing 7 years ago. Our house is paid for, the kids have good jobs and their own families, and our expenses are less now that we are retired. We have more disposable income and time these days. I am now 72. I really enjoy camping in wild places. My canoes and kayaks can take me there. When I get old, I’ll use a sailboat and the wind with a small auxiliary motor as back up to get there.

I am packing to race in a sailing Regatta this weekend. Practice for when I no longer can paddle. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Lol tied for youngest so far at 46.

71 and still counting

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I started seakayaking at 25 (currently 30). I’m lucky enough to have enough disposable income (but still wait for used boats that are a steal), no kids, and a significant other that also sea kayaks (and has since they were 16). The hardest part is finding time when my job has me on the road 50% of the time.


There are so many obstacles to leisure activities. A young single person is often strapped with college fees, car loans, storage/transportation issues, saving for a first house, or starting a family, unless outdoor activity is a key part of life. The Carter economy set me back into the stone age, 8.3% home loans, long distance to work, car loans and activities for the kids accounted for the money, the family occupied the time, boat storsge was unavailable.

Fortunately, each of my kids became relatively self-sufficient as they turned 16 yrs old. Unlike the mindset of many kids today, each of them worked through college and required very little from me, except to step in to help during lean times. That allowed me to clear out finances and invest in a kayak. Fortunately, I had storage optiond and a truck for transportation. That is one of the biggest hurdles for so many paddlers, both young and old.

Then the issue is access to water. I’m fortunately only 20 minutes away from seversl points of access, and 50 to 90 minutes to many others. Waterfront access “favors” mid-aged people who have gained financial stability. I’m fortunate that my daughter managed to invest in waterfront, but they’re still working on improving a place to launch paddle craft.

The final hurdle is time. Managing a career and a family is time consuming. Even after retirement, we find our time occupied by things we put off until retirement. Ironically, I actually found more opportunities to kayak when working. So that tells me it’s more a matter of getting motivated. This year, I got an edge by keeping the kayak on the truck rack, which cut loading and unloading by half.

The age formula actually makes sense to me; however, I believe younger paddlers tend to finish a trip and hook up for beer. For the older crowd, it more likely a showers, sits down to recover and jumps on the forum to interact. The young set is probavly out there, but maybe not so much here.