In a churchyard by a river / Lazing in the haze of midday
Laughing in the grasses and the graze.
Yellow bird, you are alone in singing and in flying on,
In and in leaving. Willow weeping in the water,
Waving to the river daughters,
Swaying in the ripples and the reeds. – pink floyd
I was considering the other day whether sea kayaks were going to disappear, or at the very least slip off into the fringes of water sports. I wondered if it will soon become unprofitable for all but a few specialized companies to produce “real” sea kayaks. I also asked myself.. how many people really need 17 foot sea kayaks? Today there are so many paddle craft options that better serve the needs of paddlers who once had little choice but to buy a sea kayak or canoe to get out on the water.
How many lost sea kayak sales have went to cheap plastic box store garbage boats? How many to better quality rec boats? How many to fishing SOTs? When I think about sea kayaking, I mean real, big, open water “wear a skirt and learn to roll” SEA kayaking, I can’t imagine it’s ever been that big of a draw. Not really. Most people just want to get out on the water and until recently, they had few options. I can’t help but wonder if after sea kayaking’s seemingly meteoric rise only a short number of years ago, that it is now sliding back to the outer fringe of paddle sports.
Why was I wondering such sacrilegious things you may ask? Well, it’s based on an observation. When I started paddling (less than 10 years ago), it was rare to see a kayak on the roof of a car. You always waved at the other kayakers!! Then the popularity of kayaking began to grow and it became common to see sea kayaks on vehicles. Common enough, that I think I stopped paying attention. Then suddenly this year I realized something. This year I’m seeing more paddlecraft than ever before sitting on the top of every sort of vehicle. It’s amazing! Yet, hardly any of them.., are sea kayaks.