Suggestions: Selling a Kayak

When we first moved to California my oldest son talked me into buying a kayak for the ocean. He did not have to talk very hard. We had canoed together since he was five years old and had tried seakayaking on a family trip to the Sea of Cortez and we were hooked.

I just sold that first kayak I ever bought, I think this means I now have 7 kayaks or waveskis that belong to my son or I stuck in my garage or stored. It was sad to see my Hobie Tandem go, we had a lot of good times with it, learning to paddle and taking out friends to introduce them to kayaking on the ocean, but it went to a good home with a family hooked on paddling. I think it ended up costing me about $7 per use…not bad.

Some things I learned selling it:

Wait until spring, people have outdoor plans on their mind. The boat sold within a couple of days of placing the ad.

I posted the boat for sale on Craigslist, Pnet and Sit-On-top Kayaking.Com, I got ~ 20 inquiries from Craigslist, one from Pnet. I sold the boat to the second person who called for the selling price I wanted. I posted this before on PNET and got a lot of people who had unrealistic expectations about me shipping the boat when the selling price was only $500 bucks.

I posted that I wanted cash from local buyers. No Nigerian buyers this time!

I got lots of people from Craigslist emailing me seeing if I would take much less for the boat than I advertised. I could not believe how naive some of these folks were.

Lots of people buying a boat expect you to provide them with paddles, life jackets roof racks etc. This was a deal stopper for many. Save those old beat paddles to throw into a deal, you may think they are worthless, but they are gold to somebody else.

Lots of people have never considered how they are going to get a tandem kayak home on their car if they buy it.

Craigslist seemed to work better than Pnet for local buyers for an inexpensive starter boat, but it seems to attract some strange people, I keep getting strange calls from one gal on my cell phone even though the boat is sold. I think if I was selling a high end boat I would not bother with Craigslist. I bought a waveski last summer from Pnet from somebody who lives about a 1/4 mile from my office. It’s ended up being the best deal I ever made on a boat.

Also check the “want ads”

– Last Updated: Mar-20-06 1:22 PM EST –

here on I sold one boat to someone that was looking for a similar boat.

Also try the classified section
of your local club.

I’ve sold three boats that way (I also found people will go for the deal if you throw in a cheap paddle).

no better here
Although seems to attract a broader range of buyers than some of the other sites, you will always get people who want something for nothing. My worst experiences have been when selling a boat that was relatively costly when new for a relatively low price. That always seems to bring out the folks who want you to reduce the price even further, then deliver it several hundred miles away. I don’t blame them for trying to get a bargain, but dealing with them can be pretty tiring. I guess it’s all just part of the process.

Also try…
using your unwanted boats as bait to get your friends who you know would enjoy paddling. This will give you more options for paddling partners, and it allows you to directly see the results of how it alters their lives as paddling has yours.

Even if that person decides they want a new, or different boat, many times they’ll go ahead and buy yours for a spouse, or to have as a second boat for taking others out with them.

And if you just don’t need the boat, or the money, I would suggest giving it to a kid who’s shown an obvious love for water, or paddling and would value it greatly which btw is exactly how I got started paddling as a kid, when given an old beat up canoe by a family friend.


we bought
We bought my Pamlico 140 in a warm winter day for $575 instead of around $630 because the prices go down since it’s harder to sell kayaks in the winter.

Lessons learned
I have been surprised at how many people have asked me to bring the boat out somewhere for them to test paddle it, they paddle it, they like it a lot, then they offer me significantly less than I’m asking for it. I don’t get that - they knew the price I was asking when they contacted me. I expect to come down a small, token amount (say, $25 on a rec boat) but to offer $100 less on a boat that was already only $450… then walk away when you won’t deal that much… seems pretty rude to me.

Yes, it’s their prerogative, but I personally wouldn’t put someone to the trouble of making them bring a boat out for me to test paddle if I wasn’t pretty serious about buying it at (or very near) their listed price (assuming it fit me and I liked it).

So now I always confirm in e-mail or on the phone, “You know I’m asking $450 (or whatever) for this kayak, right?” thereby making it clear that if the price is an issue, we need to talk about it now or don’t bother me.

Does that sound reasonable, or are my expectations out of line? I’m just going by how I would treat others.


Tales of 3 used boats
I bought 3 used kayaks. 1 off E-bay… big mistake, but I sold it for more than I paid for it.

The second was purchased right here on P-net and I gave him real close to what he was asking.

The 3rd was from Craigslist and I paid the asking price.

You have to know what you want and how much you want to pay and act fast if you expect to get a good deal on a used boat.

The other suggestion is that you put a boat wanted ad and see what happens.

I heart CL
It pretty much depends where you are. I love craigslist when I’m on the West Coast. Search for kayaks in San Francisco and you’ll get tons of hits. But I spend half the year in a podunk Midwest town, and try finding a kayak on craigslist there! Ugh. (E.g. just for fun, try to find a kayak on CL’s Chicago website.)

That’s reasonable
Hauling a kayak to the water is a big deal for most of us. If you’re lucky enough to live on the water, you are only out the time it takes to let them demo, but otherwise there is the cost and time of transportation.

Most stores don’t bring new kayaks to the water for prospective buyers (except once a year on a demo day). Expecting a used-kayak seller to do that and then knock a large chunk off the price is asking too much. At least the stores can write off the costs to their business; you cannot. You are smart to let them know right away that the price is firm.

Absolutely depends on where you are . .
I’m in Dallas and currently have five canoes:

Bought one from my brother-in-law–no problem

Two on P-Net–no real problems, I paid pretty close to the asking price on both, but it took me 6 months to find suitable solos–and I ended up buying two of three suitable canoes within 300 miles of me

Two on ebay very recently–a Sawyer Cruiser that went pretty cheap and a Pakboat that saved me 40% over buying a new one

So far, so good–I still haven’t got the canoes from ebay. The Pakboat is being shipped and I have to drive down to Houston to pick up the Sawyer

But this isn’t the way I’d prefer to buy boats–demoing, taking your time, finding exactly the right boat would be the way to go

On the other hand, I work very heavy hours and barely have time to paddle–I wouldn’t have any time if I spent all my time driving around to try to demo boats–there isn’t much within driving range of Dallas anyway

So I’ve been buying used, trying to find models that either myself or someone I know is familiar with and hope for the best. I figure in most cases, I can always sell the boat without much taking too big a loss

But sell a boat? I’m not to a point where I can think about that yet. Maybe when I get into double digits . . .

Very reasonable
I had a guy test paddle two different surf skis two different times, leave again, return to look at a wing blade and fall in love with a Lendal mod crank Nordkapp sea kayak paddle. He bought the paddle for a ridiculously low price and a month later wanted to return it for the full purchase price!

A year later I saw it in the local paper for sale for the same price. I had my friend offer him much less and after a while he finally sold it back to me (via my friend) $75 less than he paid me for it.

Here come the eBay kayaks for sale.
I just checked eBay, and search under Kayak, click highest first, and it is flush with kayaks for sale for the springtime… many more listed than during the winter. Enjoy.

Details, Details, Details
A BIG help to those of us looking to buy is when the seller list his location (state and town with zip code), gives his real name, gives a phone number for home and work and lists the specs of the boat.

local seller
Didn’t eBay used to have “regional” (or local) sections?

selling canoes
I’ve learned in canoes kayaks that the selling price is at least 30% less than what was paid new even if the item is only used once or twice,i took a beating on a esquif mallard and gave it away for 400.00 when i paid close to 850.00 for it.I even tried selling a scott lilcanoe lately with only one hit on riversmallies…

Very reasonable
Especially in the case of a rec boat. A paddler with some experience should be able to tell what a rec boat will paddle like just by looking at and sitting in it. A paddler without experience doesn’t learn anything from a test paddle anyway – or at least they don’t learn anything about the boat. (A test paddle is sometimes a euphemism for a free lesson – I should know, I’ve provided plenty of those.)

Not a good idea
On the internet it’s not a good idea to publish your name, address phone number, and possesions. I know someone on this board who had their house broken into and boat stolen.

Thanks for the tip, I think I’ll change
my ways