What is the kayaking community's needs and issues currently

Hello everyone! I’m a first year college student at Lane Community College in Eugene Oregon. I’m currently in a writing 121 class that is making me research communities to research on so that I will have completed a participant observation paper, a community member profile and a community need profile and presentation by the end of the term. I have chosen the kayaking community as the community I will be researching! so I want to know mainly what are the main issues and needs that this community is facing right now (especially due to COVID times). Also if anyone would like to be an interviewee of mine let me know!

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I need everyone that just started kayaking, hiking and camping due to excessive free time to go back to work and get the hell out of MY outdoors.


aww geez my bad

maybe someone can point me to the direction where I can find this information

Communities need to learn that the easiest kayak launch is a sandy beach. Not a $60k - $120k ADA compliant plastic floating launch that requires pilings sunk into the ground and deteriorates in 3 years or less from weathering and/or vandalism. Of the 8 expensive launches I know of in my 3 county area, only one or two are fully functional after 3 years and unfortunately, 3 more are planned for 2021. Our local governments are throwing away tax dollars and not helping the paddling community as they imagine they are.

Paddlers need to learn to always wear a PFD when on the water in a kayak or canoe. Personal safety first.


Main issue in my (Great Lakes) area is failure to wear a PFD when paddling.

There’s also a lack of knowledge about kayaking or the curiosity to learn.

Failure to have an identifying sticker inside the kayak listing the owner’s name and contact info, to assist USGC/first responders when an empty kayak is found on the water. Was the kayak washed from the shore by waves and wind or is a paddler missing? Identification would save lots of time and manpower.

Wholeheartedly agree with kayakhank’s statements about costly plastic kayak launches installed by various communities. The ones in my area are poorly designed and a couple would cause gel cracks in my hull were I to use them.

For me personally, I avoided paddling at some of my favorite spots because of the crowds taking up space along the beach and refusing to move their beach chairs to make way for others. Hiking trails and campgrounds were similarly affected and worse, the people were pigs and left loads of trash.


Kayaking community needs? Tough one since there are literally thousands of people that buy a rec boat and are happy with that, never wanting to go beyond that. Then there are fishing kayakers with their boats, usage and needs. Then there are people who like rock gardening. Then there are touring boats. You also have whitewater kayakers. Sit in or sit on. People who go on little lakes in fair weather. Streams to raging rivers. Bays and oceans. Fitness paddlers. Ocean or freshwater. Essentially you can probably easily break it into fifty sub categories.
Euro paddles, Greenland paddles or wings. Different life jackets for different people.
Personally what I need is more money and storage space or more willpower. Oh and time.
Maybe someone can come up with an idea of something fairly universal across kayakers. Hard to come up with a common thread that joins everyone though.

Safety is a big issue. Too many rookies going out with no pfd or not wearing one, especially with kids.

Littering is terrible around me, but I can still find at least some trash on every trip.

I’d love to have kayaking specific profiles in healthtracker/smartwaches. Very few available on expensive watches with limited metrics. Things like stroke rate, stroke lenght, etc can be useful for paddling fitness or for those serious about improving technique.

And +1 for stop spending money on expensive docks.


As already stated, a big issue is a place to launch and recover. This is particularly important for handicapped paddlers. A sandy beach with quick access to parking is ideal but invariably Slobus Americanus will turn it into a dump.
Our most popular lake recently installed a walkway for non motorized craft.
The turns are too tight for sea kayaks and people with walking problems find it almost impossible to navigate. No ADA consideration.


I’m thinking, to begin with, that you’re attempting to examine the needs and issues of a very large and diverse group of paddlers. What is an issue for a sea kayaker in the Pacific Northwest, New England, or the Gulf Coast might have very little to do with the concerns and issues of a whitewater kayaker in the canyonlands of the Southwest or the Appalachians.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to have a fairly lengthy conversation with a fellow who retraced, over several consecutive seasons, the Lewis & Clark route. This trip covered somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000 miles and of it, he claimed, about 200 miles would have still been recognizable to the members of that original expedition. Dams, channelization, and pollution have left their marks on the rest. This isn’t atypical of most of the interior of this country, where a great many paddlers paddle.
My thought is that if there is anything that is an issue, a need, a concern of this entire group it is clean, free flowing, natural waterways and free access to them.

I’m a canoeist and mostly paddle rivers in the upper midwest, so perhaps I’m not representative of the group you’re hoping to report on. On the other hand, I see plenty of kayakers wherever I paddle and usually find myself padding in the company of at least one friend in a kayak. I think there is reason for anyone who paddles anything to be concerned that many of the protections provided to the still relatively unspoiled waterways on which we all paddle are threatened. There are rivers in the central part of the state in which I live (Wisconsin) that were once productive trout streams that are now drained dry during some seasons due to over pumping of groundwater for irrigation purposes, and new laws have been put in place to restrict even the monitoring of the quantities being pumped. Nitrate and phosphate run off from agricultural lands are encouraging algal blooms while wetlands that once captured some of that excess nutrient are being filled and built upon. Invasive Asian carp (silver carp in particular) have invaded the Mississippi watershed as far north as Minneapolis/St. Paul and are now in many tributaries. Even rivers that are explicitly designated as “scenic and protected” or “wild” are subject to the installation of new high tension power lines, pipelines, and cell phone towers. The list could go on and on, but I won’t. There are new strip mines being considered at the very edge of the BWCA, used by many kayakers as well as canoeists.
These are, I’d think, issues of of similar nature and common concern for many, if not most, kayakers in most of the country.

I started paddling when the EPA and the Clean water Act was yet young. There was a LOT of really foul water back then. Tremendous progress has been made, wetlands restored, riparian management zones established, pollution is greatly abated, but I’m concerned that we’re in danger of taking these things for granted.
Paddling is a wet sport. We all need clean water. And there isn’t that much unchannelized, undammed, undeveloped, clean free-flowing water left. We need to save or increase what we have.
I’d think most of us could agree on that…


THIS old sea kayaker would love to be able to rent storage space close to my nearby water. I would paddle a lot more if I didn’t have to transport my boat. Nothing to do with the 'rona.

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For the sea kayaking community, it needs younger paddlers. The sport is dying. I’m 40, and almost always the youngest paddler in the group by 20 years. There are many explanations and I am no subject matter expert, but some of those reasons are: Recreational boats that are not as capable or safe have permeated the sport due to their low cost and small size; younger people don’t seem to want to commit to longer trips, and my personal pet peeve, finally an over emphasis on safety, instruction and “levels”. Shot out.


Sea kayakers don’t need much. The hardest is often free pubic access for car top boats. Private ownership and development has made this really difficult in many areas. Anne Arundel County in Maryland , the home of Annapolis, the hyperbolically self proclaimed “sailing capitol of the world” for many years had the absolutely worst public water access in the state, with only two places to launch in spite of 553 miles of waterfront. This has only improved in the last few years when the county executive was a kayaker.

Secondly is a safe and free place to park not too far from the launch.

Third is a suitable launch. The ideal is simply a sandy beach, although an existing boat ramp is fine. Some kayak ramp systems are OK, but tend to be an ongoing maintenance problem. In addition, many are designed for short plastic rec boats. In this area we have a very large and active kayaking community and we have been very successful in stopping local authorities from installing the roller ramps of doom that can destroy composite boats and instead open a larger number of kayak launches at a much lower cost to the counties.

Lastly is a well maintained port-a-john or other bathroom facility.

While covid closed many public ramps and shut down most recreationally boating early on, kayaking was still permitted. A lot of outfitters and renal outfits were closed, and some rentals still are, but most are open now. Most classes and many group trips have been cancelled.

The biggest thing is that many people do not feel kayaking with a group of unrelated people is safe now.

Yes, younger paddlers. I think young people are more into digital stuff while we oldsters are used to physical recreation.

You may want to separate needs of the nation to needs of a community. Kayak community here on this forum is from different states and different countries.

The general needs are different than specific needs.

It’s changed over the past few years I think the increase is mainly due to the ease of using a double blade so you don’t need to learn paddling technique and big box stores supplying cheaper plastic buckets.
plastic bucket


if you want, I can narrow down the topic and I can specifically say that this is specifically for whitewater kayakers in oregon

There is more trash in parks and on waterways than I have even seen in my life. Need more education, and punitive fines. NOT just a slap on the wrist; I’m talking about something like $100.00 for first instance and 40 hours of trash pickup. Get caught again, fine and time doubles.
I’m seeing the bottom of rivers and lakes literally carpeted with been and soda cans.

If you put your life, or other’s life in danger because of your stupidity, and a rescue is required; those rescued should have to pony up a minimum of 50% of the cost of the rescue.

Fine is payable within 1 year of the rescue, or you do 30 days in jail for non payment of costs. You’d still owe for the cost; jail time doesn’t pay the fine.

More staff to “strictly” enforce laws already on the books for public drunkeness and use of illegal drugs in state/federal campgrounds, and on any city/state/federal waterway.

If you can’t live with that; stay home, and get stupid, unsafe, drunk and/or stoned in a kiddie pool. You can trash that free…



Blockquote I need everyone that just started kayaking, hiking and camping due to excessive free time to go back to work and get the hell out of MY outdoors.

As a guy who never stopped working, I prefer you all to stay home also. It was about the best 6 months of commute ever.

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