View topic - canoe vs kayak - kayaks have won, except in Canada

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PostPosted: April 19th, 2009, 9:21 am 
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Check out this google trends graphic:

http://www.google.com/trends?q=canoe,+k ... all&sort=0

As you can see, searches for canoes and kayaks were relatively equal in 2004 but the trend since then is that kayaks are now dominating google searches.

I believe that google search results are a very good proxy for popularity. Google is even being used to track the severity and course of the flu now by public heath officials in the US.

And it interesting (but not surprising) to see the seasonal trends - with searches going up dramatically during the northern hemisphere's summer months.

Of course in Canada, canoes still rule. :D

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PostPosted: April 19th, 2009, 10:05 am 
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Interesting link.

I read an article in the paper (StarTribune) a while back that talked about the growth of Kayaks over Canoes. Women are a big part of the growth. Essentially the article said that women prefer Kayaks to Canoes because it gives them independence and they don't have to sit in the bow seat and have their husband's bark orders at them.

Just look at the industry rags. Canoe magazine used to be just that. Canoe magazine. Now its Canoe&Kayak - and seems to be pretty much all about kayaks and sit on tops. I don't think the big canoe manufactures even advertise in there anymore. I'm hard pressed to find anything of interest.

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PostPosted: April 19th, 2009, 1:07 pm 
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I think that the kayak-popularity-thing is kinda good for us canoeheads. No disrespect to yakkers, (especially the womyn among them) but it means that more remote spots with lotsa carries aren't about to get over-run with humans. :D

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PostPosted: April 19th, 2009, 4:44 pm 
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The comparative popularity is among sales right?

Kayakers tend to change boats more frequently than canoeists. There was a marketing study done long about 1999 or so that measured the turnover in boats canoes vs kayaks.

Strath it sounds like you may not have heard of solo canoes! A canoe does not mean the woman is relegated to the bow seat..As an aside I challenge you to swap ends..you guys with the power belong up front. The mixed couples I know that race always have the guy in the bow.

The learning curve is easier for a kayak.. You can do the forward stroke badly in a kayak and still get somewhere.

Its going to be interesting to remeasure in a few years. I do believe there will be three categories, canoe, kayak, and pack canoe and the latter will be most popular amongst the ladies as most all of them are under 30 lbs. If you dont need a top deck, why have one..and we could look at the bourgeoning SOT industry. SOTs however are still heavy.

However the pack canoe is still relatively pricey.. when it can be made stiff and plastic my cloudy crystal ball thinks that when sales of pack canoe take off.

Funny solo canoe students seem to be skewed heavily toward the female sex. It might be more women actually take instruction..and thats a new set of worms.

Canoe and Kayak magazine is chasing the bucks and the kayakers are always chasing the latest. You dont hear them yearning for a fifteen year old boat much. But there are lots of canoes from the 80's and older that canoeists seek avidly.


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PostPosted: April 19th, 2009, 4:52 pm 
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littleredcanoe wrote:
The comparative popularity is among sales right?


No, the comparison is for google searches of kayaks vs canoes. It does not track sales. But as I said, I think is a good proxy for the relative interest in each type of craft.

Interesting comments on pack canoes littlered. I have always viewed them as just a niche product.

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PostPosted: April 19th, 2009, 5:43 pm 
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Google hits can mean anything ..maybe articles..but I suspect shopping.. and it may or may not have anything to do with the comparative numbers of kayaks vs canoes in peoples possession.

Its been a number of years and it would take alot of time and research on the Net to find that study but as I recall the study found way more canoeists than kayakers. But its ten years old and outdated at best.

Having had a kayak, I can attest that it requires a whole lot more shopping.. and the focus is on whats better than whats been out there before. Its remarkable because before 1990 few people really had kayaks.

Let me add another wrinkle. Most of what is classified as kayak I bet is rec kayaks. Most of those have a limited lifespan..they are outgrown as people move into a more sophisticated boat.

And the only thing about them that is kayak like is double blading..they dont often take spray covers. I remember when they first came out they were advertised as canoes that are kayaks. Canoes arent sexy, and that form of advertising was soon dropped.

At any rate I got into a whole lot of trouble with a Keowee. You find those on Craigs list for a hundred bucks.. No big expense..keep it a year..resell it.. one boat and two Google hits a year..

I think paddlesport marketing may be an art as much as a science.


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PostPosted: April 20th, 2009, 5:11 pm 
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Canoes are not nearly as trendy as yaks, though I don't know why. Maybe people think yaks are safer -- if you flip over, you just flip back up. If your canoe flips, lots of fun shaking out the water in the middle of a lake/river.


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PostPosted: April 21st, 2009, 1:20 pm 
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Did you notice the language section at the bottom right,
French, canoe>kayak
English, kayak>canoe

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PostPosted: April 21st, 2009, 2:06 pm 
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I've seen the Google Seach stats before. I agree that kayaks are currently hot, but what is hot, eventually is not. Go back to the mid 1990s, it was roller blading (see many people doing that anymore), in the 1980s it was XC-skiing, (that ain't cool either). How about running? Nope, the big glut of runners are all 50+ now. You choose the sport, and it goes through ebbs and flows. Canoeing had it's growth spurt in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and kayaking is no different.

I think Kim's comment is nteresting regarding pack canoes. I'd be willing to take that bet. I've yet to see anyone paddling a pack canoe with a double blade paddle here in the Midwest. I could see it working in the little ponds of the northeast, but not real likely here in the midwest where it has no historical significance. I think they are practical as they have some of the advantages of each, but don't see them taking over kayaks as a third "category." I'd guess that some other activity will be the activity "du jour" and after a couple seasons the kayak hanging in the garage will be too much work to load onto the car, just like the canoe is today. But that's just me.

PK


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PostPosted: April 21st, 2009, 3:34 pm 
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Let me give an angler/hunters view on this. As long as people are fishing and hunting, and want to do it in human powered boats, canoes are going to be preferred over kayaks in any application except big open water, where a deck may be needed. Interestingly, that's about how the native peoples had their usage worked out.

You simply cannot carry 2 hunters and 2 dozen duck decoys in a kayak, or even in a pair of kayaks; a kayak puts you too low in the water to be able to see into the water or cast very efficiently; you can't lay out your rod/gun/camera nearby for quick easy access in a kayak; a kayak is damned difficult to use when you need to get in and out frequently, as when crossing multiple beaver dams.

I could go on.

I own both kayaks and canoes, and for 90% of my needs a canoe is far superior. What I can't figure out is why so many hunters and anglers buy such crappy canoes. (Note: a large part of this is the difficulty of getting a quality canoe in a nice neutral color, inside and out. To buy a camoed canoe or kayak, you mostly need to buy a piece of junk, or buy it custom made.)

The only place I know that kayaks are preferable is for ocean fishing, where a canoe might not be safe in the surf, but a stable decked kayak adds a margin of safety. I use my kayak--a big, heavy, beamy Old Town Predator in dark green--for striper fishing and coastal duck hunts. I use the canoe for everything else--from north woods moose hunts (try hauling a moose in a kayak) to small pond dry fly fishing. The kayak manufacturers are trying mightily to market to the sporting crowd, and there are multiple websites on how best to rig your kayak for various kinds of fishing, but I'll take my canoe any day, and so will most of my buddies.

However, I do use the kayaks for trips with my wife, who really prefers the kayak for messing about in boats. She'd echo some of the thoughts above. She did not grow up paddling as I did, and found kayaking to be a much easier entry into the paddle sports than a canoe.


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PostPosted: April 22nd, 2009, 2:34 am 
Who cares?
As long as you are able to buy good canoes for a reasonable price, what does it matter?
I live in a continent where kayaking always has outnumbered canoeing by a very large number.
So far the only real negative for me because of that, is that really good canoes aren't made here,
and consequently are very difficult to get, often impossible to try out, cost almost two times more,
and you cannot send them back if they are not well made :-(

Dirk Barends


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PostPosted: April 23rd, 2009, 8:40 pm 
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I've always said that Quebecers are more passionate about canoeing than us Englos......Just go the Gat Fest and you'll know what I mean. :wink:

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