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Old 11-23-2005   #21
BastrdSonOfElvis's Avatar
Thought-criminal, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 989
Paddlebizzle...I believe the interns share one Glock.

I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick "Americans" as their mascot. -Jack Handy
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Old 11-23-2005   #22
riojedi's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 191
Having worked in the marketing dept. for a ski area this topic seems real familiar. The problem with kayaking is the cost to become involved. In skiing we attract new participants by marketing a low price point for intro programs, discount season passes for newbys, development of friendly begginer areas. Take Copper Mtn's Union Creek remodel for example or Loveland Valley. There are plenty of easy places to kayak so price for the family is more of an issue. Rentals need to be more widely available, perhaps subsidized to the vendors from the manufacturers. I'm sure you could supplement your end of season income with a rental fleet sale and pay the manufacturer back. Look at what the touring kayak industry has done. I was recently in Hawaii and couldn't turn around with out bumping into a sea kayak rental shop. It was always reasonably priced for a great, seemly safe family adventure. The WW kayak industry has screwed itself by going after the Mtn. Dew market. Mommy wants safety that's why they go for the ww raft Disney ride instead of kayaking. You need to push the mellow end of the sport the hardcore folks will always be there.

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Old 11-23-2005   #23
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Thought-criminal, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 989
Mr. Bill is wasted...awesome. Hey, riojedi or anyone, how do I get a cool picture to show up beside my messages like that?
I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick "Americans" as their mascot. -Jack Handy
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Old 11-23-2005   #24
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 7
One point to consider... I believe the biggest hurdle to getting started is the logistics, requisite knowledge, and complicated gear. It is a lot easier to get your arms around getting started skiing. You just show up at the resort, and the instructor takes it from there. Also, you can just show up, rent some gear, and give it a go. Getting started kayaking is not so simple.

As far as resorts for Kayaking, NOC on the Nantahala river is probably as close as it gets. They have great beginner classes and even beginner "intro" days. You can just show up and be led down some very tame water by a professional. They have lodging and other activities, as well as dining. Also, but not least, they have professional instructors who are well trained and knowledgable on working with beginners. There is a real absence of this level of talent and professionalism in most kayak teaching venues. Their classes are extremely varied, everything from fast track classes, to childrens programs (that make mom comfortable), to female only classes. As a result, NOC has done a better job of getting people started in the sport than any other place I have seen (granted, I have not seen them all).

just another view
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Old 11-24-2005   #25
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Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
You're dead-on about NOC. That place is awesome. Ok, so I am more than a little biased - I used to work there and I always idolized it as a kid since my dad used to do clinics there waaaaay back in the day. But nevertheless, they have a great setup, and it really is much like a resort, but without the urban feel and condos everywhere.

Why have they been successful over the years? Location.

1 - They own the takeout.
2 - They own the takeout! Every other outfitters' customers take out right next to their restaurant and store.
3 - They have an almost year-round season.
4 - They are within a day's drive of 50% of the U.S. populace.
5 - They are within 2 hours' drive of about a million rivers and creeks of every ability level.
6 - It doesn't hurt that the most famous rapid on the east coast is at the takeout, and that it is a clean drop where every
aspiring hardman or hardwoman out there comes to test themselves against their first Class III rapid.
7 - You can get boiled peanuts in the Gorge.

Add to that nice restaurants, a killer outfitter's store with the best demo program I've ever seen, and an outstanding instructional staff -- then you get tens of thousands of rafters to come increase your margin -- it's hard not to stay in business, even when business is hard as it has been for them the last few years.
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Old 11-26-2005   #26
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 14
I'm going to address a couple of things on this thread rather than go between the two.

Kayaking is not exactly an instant gratification sport, per se. It takes dedication to develope the skills. It also lacks the glamour and mainstream exposure that skiing and, going to throw this out there because it's something I'm work with, kitesurfing.

I work in a kite, windsurf, paddle, surf shop. Kayaking supports the shop because most of our customers are kayakfisherman. These people are scared of being "trapped" in a boat so they sit on top and catch their fish. I believe kayakfishing is currently experiencing, nationwide, the largest growth in the industry.

But the populace does not want something that they have to actually learn. They can figure it out for themselves. Perfect example, myself, I learned to roll in one session and never learned the proper way to paddle until I became an instructor 7yrs later. Man, was I missing out. And most of the guys in my class were Class V creekers and they thought they were good until they had to learn something. I'd say it was very humbling for all of us. Thanks, Kent.

Learning to roll first can be a blessing and a curse. Self-rescue, stroke and boat technique and river reading are all equally important and go hand in hand. If you have these three, hopefully you won't need to roll. As an instructor, I can only offer you the knowledge, what you do with it is out of my hands. For alot of people, its in one ear and out the other, or there isn't the instant gratification. I had two guys come in last summer on the Animas who had never been in a kayak before, who were hell bent on running smelter in one day. When we told them, "No", they took off.

As an instructor, its my job to make sure people learn, are safe and have fun. Its not easy. I want everyone in my classes to have a great time, but not think that they can go run big water, now that they have had one good day on mostly II water with one III rapid. Its the respect developed slowly over time through good and bad experiences that keeps the sport healthy, but drives away those who want their fun RIGHT NOW.

As for a resort, its expensive and kayaking isn't that glamorous. I don't think that the kayak industry is really that lucrative for anyone involved. Everyone does it for the love of the sport. Hopefully.
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Old 11-26-2005   #27
Tiggy's Avatar
Steamboat Springs, CO
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 213
I got into this for the purpose of "getting away from it all" . I dont ski as much anymore because the resorts are zoos! I just go backcountry anymore.
As far as slalom goes, I entered two. The first one, Yampa River Fest, I caught shit for asking if I could register, then the rules were changed at the END of the race, lol . The second one, Animas River Days, the volunteers were so pissy it really bummed me out. So Im done with that.
I wound up sitting around with a bunch of cocky paddlers and paying 35-40$ to paddle stretches of river I always paddled for free. And enjoyed them alot more without the zoo. Id rather give my $$$ to AWA, where I know they are protecting the WILDERNESS waterways I love.
I taght WW Canoeing for ten years, I had no problem finding work. I think theres just too many kayakers, lol. Maybe raft instruction would be more lucritave.

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