Mk 361 - Whitewater Kayaking Industry

Thursday, April 24, 2008


One part I touched on in another post briefly was how the internet helps with the retailing of kayaks. Although there is no way to buy one online due to tremendous shipping charges (I've shipped a kayak from Boston to Richmond and lets say it wasn't cheap,) the internet does help the purchasing process. It provides a great place to gather up information all the different brands, the company's style representation, their different boats, the volume, length, weight, colors, and rocker of each boat. Potential customers can use a side by side comparison matrix to evaluate the different boat models. Several sites also have personal reviews and ratings for each boat, allowing customers to hear what people are saying about the boat after they have purchased it and paddled in the boat for a while. Although you cannot actually purchase boats, the internet allows customers to 'shop' around through different retailers for the best price, or the best package deal they can get for their money.

Problems Arise

The problem with boating is that for the most part once you buy your boat, you're own your own. And if you're like a lot of people, you didn't buy your boat from a dealer, you bought it second hand, or third or fourth etc. Its just you and your boat. Sure there used to be a guarantee on the boat until the adhesive came off underwater. The problem that plagues most kayakers is post-purchase issues, questions and even comments. When you buy a car and have a question you go to the dealer, when you buy a kayak at a garage sale you go to the internet. Most major kayak companies are aware of the number of times a boat is resold, and can adapt their website to help each person during the transitions. The internet enables companies to put links up for every type of question, you can get your own Owners Manual, learn ways to clean the individual boats, how to transport it and find out exactly what the warranty is on the boat. And because there is no limit to shelf space on the internet, they don't have information on just the current boats, but years of discontinued boats (that are the ones at garage sales.) All of this helps the customer after their purchase, and restores faith in some companies that have been lost recently, due to the "you bought it, now its your problem" attitude.

for an example of this customer service click here

Kayaking Kontent

The Internet also helps play a pivotal role in kayaking instruction. Or rather, self-instruction. With more people on the internet, having more connection points to the internet, and the internet being faster than ever, it allows kayakers to post content they never could have before. Part of this is kayak instruction. Rather than looking through a magazine and still frame photos of how to do the different paddle strokes or boof techniques, paddlers can now make online videos and share them for free with anyone who has an internet connection. Although these instructional videos have been available for purchase on VHS or DVD, posting instruction on the internet offers more. For instance it can keep up with change, if I bought a VHS instructional video a few years ago, I wouldn't be able to watch it now because I don't have a VHS player. The internet also has no production limit, DVDs have only a few hours of content on them, the internet will never stop.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kayaking's E-Networks

The Internet plays a major role in kayaking networks. The internet allows paddlers to group together in meeting places to talk about past experiences or new rivers that people have found. These sites such as Northeast Paddlers Message Board (NPMB) not only gives paddlers room to express their attitudes about different boats, and trips, but also is a site for E-Commerce where different users can list their boats or equipment for sale, or post what they would like to buy. leaves room for resources and reviews as well as allowing suers to post pictures and videos. Although these sites are primarily social sites, they also play a role in paddler safety. River conditions change hourly, and if something dangerous appears on a river, paddlers will post an urgent notice advising others of the change.

Another key role these sites play are advertising space. Major whitewater companies place banner ads on the top, sides, and bottom of nearly every page throughout the site. Amazon also places ads for whitewater books and calendars under the title "NPMB Recommendations."

To take a look at these sites click below:
Northeast Paddler's Message Board
Boater Talk

Thursday, February 07, 2008


This is one example of a whitewater kayak called a playboat. This type of boat is used to do various tricks either while going down a river, or at a certain point in the river called a "playspot," or in the ocean waves. The boat itself is much different than other whitewater kayaks in that they:
  • have less volume (smaller) to increase manuverability.
  • abrupt edges to help the paddler get the edges underwater.
  • very flat hull to help the boat spin in tricks and provides a flat surface to surf on.
Playspots are holes or waves mid-river that playboaters find to perform tricks. Some standing waves in rivers are very small and are formed when the water rushes over a rock in the river bed and creates almost a permanent ripple. Other standing waves are wicked huge about 20 feet tall, and look like the river ate a bus. Examples of tricks done are cartwheels - the boat spins 360 degrees vertical, a Blunt - Front flip combined with a 180 etc.

The advantage the internet can give to playboating is by letting people access sites designed around playboaters. Although this seems basic, if the internet wasn't around, it would be extremely hard to figure out exactly what playboat fits you as the paddler. Playboats are specifically designed for different weights and heights, which are not printed or user friendly on the boat. The internet also allows playboaters to gather in an online network and share information about different playspots and hidden rivers, and online instructions and videos.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Many people don't know that whitewater kayaking exists. Or, if people do know it exists, they have no idea what that means. This blog will be aimed to introduce whitewater kayaking to the class, and hopefully educate peers about a very gnarley activity that goes on behind most of the sports spotlight. So to begin whitewater kayaking is done in a small rudimentary kayak. Not many frills in the boat, just a sturdy design and metal grab loops in case something goes wrong. The boats themselves are small in size, ranging from 6ft to 8 ft on average to allow for maneuvering. The necessary equipment is a boat, paddle, personal flotation device, helmet, spray skirt, booties, some sort of swimwear and a river knife. There are different types of boats as well, for the different types of rivers. there are river runners, an all around boat, playboats for freestyle, and creekers for running the gnar.

Feel free to ask questions or leave comments as I post.