We constantly are amazed at the continuing growth of kayaking. Of course, we know we are preaching to the choir, but it is remarkable to see so many cars hauling kayak carriers and boats. We, of course, are in the middle of some great water here in western Michigan, and there is no doubt that traffic is up. As we discuss this popularity with customers and friends, the reasons for this popularity fall in the list below:
Here is my list of top ten answers. See if they fit with your thinking.
- It is just fun to do.
- It is funky (doesn’t the word kayak just say it all?).
- It is healthy exposure to the outdoors: fresh air, sunshine and water.
- It is good exercise: 300 to 400 calories and no impact on the joints.
- It is a wonderful way to see nature at work with an up close view.
- It is a good community experience (most of the time you see pairs or groups of paddlers).
- It is reasonably inexpensive.
- It attracts and benefits people of all ages.
- It is environmentally friendly.
- It seems to be a wave of the future.
I hear all of these comments in one form or another from people coming into the store. The demographics show that more than 50% of kayaks are purchased by women. Most relate to the fun and healthy aspect of the sport. Many women are surprised that kayak paddling, when done correctly, does not take a lot of upper body strength. It is a sport that utilizes the major muscle groups, e.g. lats and abs.
About thirty percent of kayak buyers are gray hairs like me. Attracted by the exercise and the outdoor aspects of the sport, this is a growing demographic in paddling. Incidentally, on our Drummond Island trip, we had 15 paddlers with an age range of 13 to over 70 and all had a great time.
The product combinations available to kayakers today provide boats, paddles and technical gear that are priced attractively, with excellent quality and technical improvements of material and design, making it easier than ever to be outdoors in the wind and waves.