Though it has been happening for years, this summer has been the most vocal, heated and polarizing time I can remember in kayak fishing. At times it is just a gentle murmur on forums and at others it is an all out Brand War.
From the sidelines, I can see owners of a certain brand of kayak wanting to defend their purchase. I get that. You did some or a lot of research and came to the conclusion that based on your budget, needs, wants etc that this was the kayak for you. If someone says they don’t like it or it is an inferior boat, tempers might flare, some words exchanged or you just decide maybe you won’t converse with that person any longer. Attacks on other manufacturers however, seem way out of place. Segregating based on motor, pedal or paddle seems wrong. We need to appreciate each other, regardless of the kayak and method we propel it.
Each kayak on the market has goods and bads about it. Every. Single. One. Wilderness Owner, Hobie Owner, Native Owner, Jackson Owner, none of you (us) are exempt. You see, there is no perfect kayak for all people in all conditions. Some of the things I don’t like about the Native Slayer, my buddy Michael loves. We fish differently and expect different things. Michael and I had a great discussion around the campfire about what our likes and dislikes in kayaks were. I wish everyone could have those conversations and be that open to other opinions.
This is not politics where you are typically Democrat or Republican. More than two kayak companies exist. We live in a time where innovations are made quickly. The public has a great voice in how kayaks are being designed.
We need to use our voice for good. We need to use our voice for inviting others to the sport. The gift of growth is seldom captured but we are in a blooming sport that has no ceiling in sight.
It is my opinion that people looking to get into the sport will be more hesitant to buy a kayak if they think they will be looked down on.
I helped a man this weekend pick a kayak. He was torn between two, one of which was several hundred dollars more expensive. I asked him what he felt comfortable with, talked about all the options out there and reminded him, at the end of the day, getting on the water is the important thing. Your kayak experience is what you make it. If you decide to upgrade later, great! If not, that’s fine too. You cannot know what you really like and dislike until you’ve spent some time on the water. He left with the less expensive kayak, all the gear he needed and felt good about his purchase.
I may get a lot of hate mail and comments for writing this. It’s ok. You’re just proving my point.
To grow the sport we have to create an environment desirous to people outside of the sport. If you are a brand fanatic, support your brand with all your heart and soul. Please support others who choose a different brand though. Not everyone has to be in your club as long as they are in the sport.
To those of you out there already living this lifestyle of kayak fishing love for all, thank you. To those of you who are not, please stop the hate. Conversations are good, downtalking other brands is counterproductive.
Please help me in encouraging others to create an environment welcoming of all kayakers.
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