Sales of kayaks – along with other outdoor gadgets like bicycles and camping gear – soared during the pandemic, so you may have to wait a few months for your boat.
“People are rediscovering how great it is to get outside in their own neighborhood, too,” said Anton Willis, founder and chief design officer at Oru Kayak, a folding kayak company that has since posted a sales increase of more than 100 percent in 2019 and 2020. “We're building kayaks as fast as we can. Many other companies are in the same boat, no pun intended. "
Pro tip for new paddlers: "People think they're going to capsize in the water, but it usually happens if you tip over when getting on or off the boat," Willis said. "Just start in a flat, undulating spot, like a floating dock or a gentle, sandy beach."
Join the sailing community.
Sailing has a reputation for being difficult and expensive, but that's not necessarily the case. “Sailing can be very affordable and accessible. It's not just for America's Cup billionaires, "said Bob Ross, president of the Seattle Sailing Club, which teaches sailing and rents boats to its members. "Yacht clubs have sailing schools for children and adults that are very inexpensive."
Sailing is about joining a community of other sailors. Get it serious and become part of a racing team, or take it easy and drop anchor in a sheltered harbor for lunch. Most sailors love to share their knowledge and welcome newcomers. You don't necessarily need experience to work on a larger boat. Check the notice boards or show up at the dock at the local sailing clubs – or try the Go Sailing app – to see if anyone needs a crew member.
"You can log in as 'Rail Meat' – someone who sits on the rail and weighs down the boat while it is being weighed," said Michael Campbell, founder of the Universal Sailing Club in Baltimore. "It's the fastest learning environment you'll find."
And you don't need access to the sea to sail. "There are lakes all over the country and each lake has a small yacht or sailing club that is usually very accessible," said John Kettlewell, executive director of Sail Martha's Vineyard, a nonprofit sailing organization in Vineyard Haven, Mass. Yacht Club & # 39; sounds snooty, but usually it isn't. "