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Nice work Smokey! I couldn't agree more. The core is thriving and the stoke is as alive as ever. Whitewater paddling may be a small niche group, but who cares, a lot of us like it that way.

The whitewater participation study outside referenced didn't seem to imply the death of whitewater kayaking to me. My take away was that the number of users in the 1-5 days a year went down. Big whoop. Try telling a takeout full of boaters at the big south that whitewater kayaking is dead. You'll get a bunch of laughs.

Whitewater business is tough, no doubt about it. Business troubles don't mean that the sport is dying though.
 

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nice work

I think every man faces some challenge in life and asks himself not only if he can achieve his goal, but more honestly he questions if in fact he is aiming at the correct point

I don't wish the paddling industry harm in any way, but their success does not make me enjoy the river any more or less

perhaps I am fortunate to have plenty of paddling partners, so rather than worry that there are not enough pros or boat manufacturers I will be grateful for the friends I have made and beautiful places I have seen all the while sitting on my butt

bravo for not buying the hype
 

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nice work


perhaps I am fortunate to have plenty of paddling partners, so rather than worry that there are not enough pros or boat manufacturers I will be grateful for the friends I have made and beautiful places I have seen all the while sitting on my butt

bravo for not buying the hype
Very very nice!!!!! Exactly what I was thinking when I read the article. And one helluva rebuttle Smokey. While I certainly understand the industry challenges retail wise.... I've seen a transfromation over the past five years. Well, not necessarily a transformation, but a wheening out perhaps??? Cliche' but...."only the strong shall survive".

The fact is.....this sport is only for a select few....only for a (what I believe to be) a VERY rare personallity. Many many people decided to give it a try because it had become "popular"...I wouldn't call it mainstream, however....and they got freaked the F$%K out. Hence the plethora of "used" boats available and retail in the tank.

I love the peeps I boat with, I love the rivers I spend time on, I dream of new rivers and exploration, and I look forward to meeting kindred spirits.

That's what it's all about..........
 

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Great article.
As the years have gone by, my passion for kayaking remains although the time it requires does not seem to be so abundunt. I seem to have less friends that share my enthusiasm for the sport than back in the day. This has not stopped me from getting out, although not as much as I would like.
Kayaking is about running the river and being out there for me. It has taken me years to truly respect the river and pinpoint what I love about the sport. It is a journey that will continue forward for me until my shoulders finally fall off at the joint. Once it is under your skin, your done.
The industry just got too big for its own good and imploded a bit. I am confident the sport will continue to hook people as it did me. The problems in the kayak industry are not a direct reflection of the current enthusiasm for the sport.
 

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"Besides, who can rightly measure a sport’s breadth when its practitioners prefer to disappear into dark canyons?"
That was me yesterday. No sun for five miles in the Gorge.

Good time.
 
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