Where are all the kayaks?

After a long break from paddling, I’ve decided to get back in to it.
I decided that what I need is a sit on top. So I started researching and found a few that I thought would work for me. But when I went looking for one, I found that nobody has them in stock. In fact, few stores have any kayaks at all.
What’s going on?

Not 100% sure where the shortage is from, but it is the same around here. Last year people had a lot of time off well some did and were looking for something safe outdoors to do. They also got some mad money from the government.

Around here I was looking and several places said they had them in but they were already sold before they got them. I found one i liked on line and ordered it and it came to our door in about 2 weeks.

Going back to the stores that didn’t have any a month ago now are starting to get some so it seems the shortage here in NW PA is about over.

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It’s because of the pandemic, which has caused greater demand coupled with supply chain issues. Try looking used.

The people who make them were stuck at home. The people who deliver and sell them to. What was in inventory was purchased by people stuck at home.

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Dealer here. Simply put, it’s a situation where greatly increased demand going back to last spring is hitting at the exact same moment where supply is limited due to a number of factors (parts shortages, not enough bodies on the factory floors to keep up, restrictions from state or local bodies in terms of the physical workspace, etc).

Add in that lot of the boats coming in this spring and summer were pre-sold with fall/winter deposits, and it’s going to mean boats will be in short supply again this year, though I suspect that there’ll be a bump of available product come July, since by then, most of the pre-sale boats will be in customers’ hands and we’ll be more normal in terms of day-of-sale availability. Still, once the word gets out there that boats are available, they probably won’t last long, so it’ll pay to start checking with your local dealers now and get a sense of what they have coming in.


Convert, just like sea kayaks , SOT come in many configurations. Most now are fishing models but they can be anything from floating bath tubs to rockets.
I’ve owned several and currently have a WS Tarpon ,a great all around boat, and a Stellar S14S, as yet not paddled.
So, how tall and heavy are you and where and what conditions do you want to paddle?

Definitely pandemic related. Great increase of local outdoor activities as people couldn’t take vacations and were stuck at home and the like. Getting outdoors locally was considered safe. Huge jumps in demands.

Add in supply chain issues, as talked about above, and it becomes a real hassle.

Shows in entry to mid-level products in pretty much any outdoor activity. Bikes and bike parts have similar shortages.

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Well I found one store that has a ton of kayaks. Dick’s sporting goods. But they are all of the small, cheap variety. Not really what I was looking for, but I bought one anyway, a Pelican Blitz 100x. It’s gotten pretty good reviews.
I figure I can use it till more kayaks become available. On the plus side, besides only costing $370, it’s small enough that I can transport it in the back of my truck, if I want to. No need for a roof rack.
Eventually, I want one about 12-14 ft. with enough capacity for multiday trips. My first choice is probably the Ocean Kayak Tetra 12.

If you are a female I suggest skip the Tetra and go with a Venus 11.

No, I’m male, 6’1" and 185 lbs.

I applaud your move to get on the water.
I’ve had a guest boat for years , usually the one I outgrew…
Have you paddled the new one yet?

Just got it today. I have two doctors appointments this week and need to keep up my cycling condition, but I’m hoping to get it on the water. Just joined a local club. They are having an outing on June 2, so I need to get some paddling in before then.

The local sports store here has a bunch of the same SOT that you bought also. The one we ordered on line was from Dick’s also she really wanted a sit in so we got the Trip-10.

It will get you on the water and next year you will easily sell it quick and get half your money back at least. So figure its pretty cheap way to rent a rec kayak for a year.

As I have been looking around it seems like 9 out of 10 on display are SOT now. I wonder if they are more popular or just that’s what they are getting in.

SOTs in the Rec world make sense to me. Much less likely to sink and easier to re-board should you stop for a swim (planned or un-planned).

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And as long as you don’t paddle a boat with some performance, you’ll be happy.

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I’m not an inexperienced paddler. I’ve done quite a few river trips and I’ve paddled on Lake Powell twice. I still have three canoes, one being a 17’ 6" solo Wenonah with a low seat for paddling with a kayak paddle. I have two Swift sea kayaks in the Moab landfill due to a roof rack disaster.
But, I never learned to swim well, I’m 67, I’ve had shoulder and elbow surgery, and two years ago I had open heart surgery. In short, I’m not the man I used to be. An SOT seems like a practical choice.


I’ve found the same thing in Washington State. I shattered my beloved SOT and I’m looking for a summer replacement while I repair mine. One thing caught my eye this week. I couldn’t get the plastic jugs of milk. The sign said that it was due to a shortage of that type of plastic. Maybe the COVID recreational craze (bicycles, kayaks, fishing, etc.) has depleted plastic supplies. I called direct to a manufacturer to order a kayak and they are way behind and can’t keep up with retail orders. I’m keeping an eye on Craigslist.

I learned that Wilderness is not making any larger boats this year from a dealer. The plastic is in short supply. They are concentrating on mid size and smaller boats (presumably because they make more $$$ per pound of polymer on smaller boats.)

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And yet the local WalMart had an outdoor display of probably 50 kayaks. All box store boats still wrapped. Didn’t see the brand as I drove by.

There is a global plastics shortage, for multiple reasons, mostly related to deep supply chain disruptions and some natural disasters. Also not mentioned in this article is that some domestic companies shifted to producing plasticware related to needed pandemic products, from face shields to the vials for vaccine, which caused changes in the normal demand stream for raw materials.