Pittsburgh boat show

Any kayaks there? From the web page it looks like a powerboat show.

doubt it
I admit I have not been recently, but in the past it was purely powerboats and jet-skis.

Plus we really don’t have many kayak dealers to speak of in the city anymore, even the county, since Exkursion closed their retail store. I don’t count REI and L.L. Bean, since they have limited inventory (limited to the rec boat market) and kayaks are just a sideline. There is Performance Kayak in West Newton, which I have yet to visit (they stock Stellar and Riot, apparently), Rivers Edge in Leechburg who has Jackson. There is Weigel on the Water but they are all the way up in Franklin. You might want to call one of them and see if they are planning to show there.

But I can’t imagine any major vendor or manufacturer of kayaks/canoes bothering with that show, since it is not likely to attract human powered boat fans in any numbers. It would be like a bicycle vendor showing at the Auto Show.

You are more likely to find kayaking gear at outdoor sports shows, like the one Venture Outdoors has done in the past over on the North Shore, or at the Lake Arthur Regatta (which is unfortunately in August, at the end rather than beginning of the paddling season.)

Franklin is
about as far for me a Da Burgh.

I was hoping to find a place that had a few different models for the son to try. I am OK with mine but I would like to find one for him that he can stick with.

Not going to be ready to buy until early summer, say May. I would like for him to try a few to get an idea.

is what you want. try googling it. NJ has one so does ohio, Pa may have one as well

Road trip Memorial weekend
Consider taking a get away weekend Memorial Day weekend and coming to Michigan and the WMCKA Symposium - http://www.wmcka.org/symposium.php There is usually quite a few boats to demo as well as a good selection of used boats & gear for sale. along with that you get some top quality coaching.

Or perhaps a road trip…
…easterly within your own fine Keystone compound, to Marysville on the banks of the SusyQ, a widgeon’s wing-shuffle upstream from Harrisburg. There, at Blue Mountain Outfitters you’ll find a fairly good inventory of (Yes, Elmo, I do dare say it, Yakkks. Ugggh.) Why, you might even check their present inventory on line. Can’t say they’ve got a lot of high-end touring composites, presently (although that 16-yr. old used Arctic Hawk catches my eye), but I’m not certain as to what you’re after.

I brazenly push Blue Mountain as a place to visit because: one, Doug Gibson and Mary Liskow, the proprietors, are really great folks, and they along with their staff are very helpful to their customers; two, paddling shops are a dwindling species, and one as fine as theirs, in its historic rail station building with a river test track just down the hill is idyllic, and could certainly use all the business they might get so to stand viably against the Cabelas Dicks Ganders at the Mountain, these days; and three, if they move along some of their kayaks perhaps they’ll decide to put a fine new canoe or two in their place, thus rejuvenating their dwindling supply of my preferred “hot model” to gawk at, when I traipse beneath their joists, that is.

If I recall correctly, there is also a Hunting & Fishing Show in Harrisburg, around Febrrrrruary, wherein Blue Mountain as well as some other boat folks (more rec and fishing SINKS/SOTS, though) show their wares in a large exhibition hall. Not sure about actual in-water testing (BMO Demo Days usually occurs in May), but you might check their inventory on line, then call ahead to see if an on-water test might be arranged.

It’s a much shorter trip for you, I presume, than the Jersey Paddler Show come late March(?), although there you might spot those rare icons of Rod Serlingesque paddling, The Grey Thing and FatElmo.

Happy boat hunting to ya,

a duckhead associate


Canoecopia 2015
If you don’t mind traveling a bit, Canoecopia runs March 13-15. 250,000 square feet of kayaks, canoes, SUPs and gear.


BMO is a great shop
They have a large inventory, and for serious interest, access to the Susquehanna or a small pond to privately demo boats. Besides boats, they stock clothing, safety equipment, and every gadget, gizmo, thingamajig, whatchamacallit or doohickey you may need for your paddling adventure.

Check the link above for Demo Days, usually the 3rd weekend of May. Boat reps bring trailers of boats for trial. Weather and water level permitting, you’ll get to demo on the moving water of the Susquehanna at the base of the “Narrows”; otherwise on the small pond.

Ohiopyle - Confluence
Ohiopyle is only 1.5 hours from Pittsburgh. Wilderness Voyageurs and Laurel Highlands River Tours both sell and (I think) demo boats. RiverSport in Confluence sells and definitely demos boats.

WIlderness Voyageurs is primarily whitewater.

Oops. I’m from the Ohiopyle area, so to me, kayak means whitewater. To be clear, not only is Wilderness Voyageurs primarily whitewater, so are the others I mentioned. Sorry.