Your favorite paddle sports shop!

-- Last Updated: May-25-05 8:02 AM EST --

Which paddle sport shop is your LOCAL favorite and why?

Please identify the shop by name, city, and state.

Do not forget to say why!

After you tell us about your LOCAL favorite shop please feel free to tell us about a favorite shop you may visit on vacations or such that you think is special too. Please remember to say why.

This is a very informal survey of your local shops and especially the one you think is the best for you. Remember to say why.

I have taken it upon myself to post this, but there is a slight chance a sporting goods manufacturer may use some part of this information. I know of a few that are reading these threads that have expressed interest in knowing your thoughts along this line. The better the information you give the more likely a manufacturer is to use it.

I make no promises the information will be used and do NOT get anything in return for making this post and asking these questions.

Happy Paddl'n!



I have three

– Last Updated: May-26-05 9:31 PM EST –

Maine island kayak company, peaks island maine, near Portland. top level week long courses, only the best hulls. Totally comitted to paddling in conditions.k

Charles river canoe and kayak Newton ma.

Great instruction (especially fron Dave Jacquis) comittment to paddling fron rec kayakers on the Charles river, to racing, to true seamanship. Wide variety of boats from CD to impex to epic to... Boat rental and you can use their boats in sea kayaking clases to sample a new boat in conditions.

New England small craft. Rowley ma. Lots of great boats, comitted staff, free demos within reason, eternal demos for a small fee.

Support your local shop!
they can’t survive without you.

Here’s mine
My favorite local shop is the Adventure Lodge located at 224 Nazareth Pike in the Trolley Station Mall Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18020 . He also has a website

Why do I like this place? He stocks a ton of stuff and his prices are competitive with the internet. I’ve bought two boats from him and a ton of gear and never has he let me down. It takes balls opening up a store like this when you have the giant big box outfitters like Dicks and EMS just a few miles away. I just wish more people would realize that if they would do a little searching when they are looking to buy because quite often they would end up getting more for their money at a smaller shop. I dont even have to go into the fact that most of the employees at the bigger stores have no clue as to what they are selling.

That is what this thread is about …
I see I did leave the word local out. Will correct it. Thanks NT


Re-read starting post above please.
I was tired last nite when I first posted this thread on an impulse and had not thought it through.

I have corrected an oversite about it being a LOCAL shop and explained why I started the thread.

Happy Paddl’n!



Austin Outdoor Gear and Guidance (AOGG). Best kayak shop in the state probably, also carry several lines of canoes. Knowledgeable and friendly staff. They never seem to tire of my questions, or my hanging out admiring all the gear. They aren’t afraid to listen to what I am looking for or to stear me in a better direction that what I was set on. They offer classes, can arrange demos, have demo days and workshops. They also rent boats on Town Lake, or for use elsewhere.

T.G. Canoe Livery. Very nice family run shop on the San Marcos River. They have a great selection of canoes and kayaks, probably the best selection of canoes in the state. You get personal service, straight shooting advice, demos are readily available. They also rent boats and will run shuttles, and give good advice on running the San Marcos. They will really help you find the boat that is right for your use, whether you’re running the Texas Water Safari, or just want to putter on a pond.

I haven’t needed any repairs or special outfitting from either of these shops, but know that they both do that kind of work routinely.

Local? What’s a Local Shop?
The closest shop to me is 2.5 hrs away with very little selection and arrogant “Yuppie types” looking down their nose at you. I’ve given them a shot at my business twice in person, a couple times over the phone, and received the same arrogance. There are a couple other shops in the state. One small, 5 hrs away, one I’ve never been in since it’s about 6-7 hrs away. So, since I don’t really HAVE a local shop, I use NRS and Piragis 90% of the time. Both have quality items, knowledgable staff, some who I know, and fair pricing. I know that’s not what you’re looking for, Mick, but I DON’T HAVE what you’re looking for. I would LOVE to open my own shop. Any investors out there? WW

I have to agree with Terry…(again, lol)
My nearest local stports shop is 1.5 hours away. That is EMS, but they don’t know a great deal about anything they offer exept that they won’t budge on their pricing to even a reasonable amount. I take that back, one time, 1 person there was extremely knowledgable & helpful.

Other than that 4 hours away is a Galyans, but they are now Dicks and don’t know or carry anything anymore.

So my next nearest shop is Rutabaga’s 10 hours away. I don’t go there much anymore for that reason. They have great stuff, but the prices are alittle on the high side (meaning I can get the EXACT same product for less elsewhere) on some items & their website doesn’t offer everything that is in their store, so that is alittle discouraging. And their staff is quite knowledgable, but alittle pushy…

But all in all, I would have to say Rutabaga’s!!

So I am with Terry… Any investors???

Paddle easy,


NRS and Outdoorplay
are as close as the 'puter in my office. That’s local enough for me.

Oh Yeah, Coffee Reminded Me…
…about where other 10% of my paddling gear and 90% of my other camping gear comes from. The Sportsman’s Guide. Most of my nylon shirts, ALL of my nylon pants and shorts, Sealskin socks (they have a darn good deal right now if you need any), water shoes, etc. Now that I think of it, I might need to re-think things. Probably much higher than 10% from Sportsman’s Guide. Too bad they don’t sell boats! WW

Three shops

– Last Updated: May-27-05 9:59 AM EST –

1. Offshore Chicago- Vernon Hills Illinois- great selection of yaks and Matt and Fritz are very helpful.

2. Chicagoland Canoe Base- Also a good selection. Customer service from Jon is excellent. They are involved in many community activities.

3. Out-of-area- Fluid Fun in Bristol Indiana- fun people- possibly the best selection of all. Located on the beautiful St. Joseph River.

AMEN, to Sportsman’s Guide & CTD…
After all… Camping & paddling go hand-in-hand! Right?!

Paddle easy,

Here in South Dakota, it is very difficult to find a canoe dealer, and impossible to find one who is knowledgeable. I own four solo canoes and in the process of buying a fifth. I have purchased the last three canoes used, and all three from ads in I researched the two new canoes on first. So without, I would be up the creek without a canoe. A knowledgeable dealer would be four hours away for me. It is only because of that I am paddling today.

Paddle Shop, Investor’s Wanted!
I actually have researched things and COULD do it as long as I keep my weekend job and use the wife as cheap labor. Even have a small building (former laundromat) I’ve toyed with buying. State Park & river a few miles away for demo’s and rentals. I’ve come close, but can’t make myself go into debt to do it. Maybe one of these days! WW

My fav…
My fav local shop is Rockys Great Outdoors, Flint, MI. they have a good large variety of camping and boating stuff, and they will order what they don’t have. My fav internet store is Clavey River Equipment, Petaluma California. Great guys, Family owned Company, and I love the C.O.D option. :slight_smile:

Hey… You have something…
Brown on the tip of your nose…lol

You trying to get paddling perks for free? You kow that Brent has a copyright don’t you??!!

Paddle easy,


Shank’s Mare Outfitters…
in south central PA. Great location, great people, lots of stuff, and wealth of knowledge.

Madison, WI …
… is uniquely blessed with not one, but two excellent paddle shops.

Carl & John’s Paddlin’ carries a wide selection of canoes and kayaks from top-name mfrs., at a variety of prices, as well as accessories and other gear. Their staff is knowledgeable and take their time with you, and really know their stuff. Right on the water, they’ll gladly help you haul a few boats down for a test-paddle. My brother and I each bought our Neckys there, and I continue to shop there for other gear.

Rutabaga, and their huge Canoecopia event, require little elaboration. A wide selection of boats and gear, large and helpful staff, and also located on the water just a few miles downstream from Carl & John’s. Bought my canoe there and have taken a number of courses in their large class schedule.

REI is another place to check out, but only when they’re having a sale. It seems every time I wedge my little hatchback with the roof-rack among the towering SUVs parked there and go inside, I find another aisle of camping/hiking/biking gear has been replaced by yet more $120 pastel fleece pullovers, $30 space-age beanies, and those cute little carabiner-and-flashlight key fobs. I’ll stop going there altogether when they close-out their hiking boots to make way for Thomas Kinkaid sofa paintings …

Gander Mountain, Cabela’s, and similar shootin’-and-fishin’ places often have good, even lightweight and hi-tech, outdoor gear and clothing but at working-man prices.

BEWARE: Do not assume the bigger place is giving you a better deal. The pricing at some of the other big-box sporting goods stores such as Galyan’s and Dick’s are often at FULL LIST! Sure, they offer a couple of acres of everything from rec. boats to hockey sticks to jock straps, but usually at full retail prices! I thought the advantage of warehouse retailing was that, because they are able to buy in huge quantities, they can negotiate better prices and pass the savings on to you. But apparently, they are instead pocketing that extra profit, while still offering the sparse and incompetent sales staffs and long lines we’ve come to know and despise.

I can usually find nearly as good a selection at a local paddle shop, but with an unharried and knowledgeable staffer who at 5 o’clock will probably punch out and go paddling. And if I’m buying a bunch of stuff, all it usually takes is a couple of raised eyebrows and a hopeful smile to get a 10% discount. Support the local retailer; he’s an endangered species.

Carl & John’s

– Last Updated: May-25-05 1:21 PM EST –

Yoy know I've never been there. I'm going to attempt to check them out tomorrow. I'm going to Rutabaga to check out the Liquid Logic Stingray, and perhaps buy that or another Perception Sundance. Maybe I will test paddle a W/S Pungo at C & J's. It didn't feel "right" to me sitting in it at a store around here, but perhaps on the water it will be different.

BTW- About 20 years ago Rutabaga opened a store in Milwaukee. It only lasted a few years and closed. Very strange.