There’s a thread on the Carolina Kayak Clubs forum titled “Where are the Younger Paddlers?”, indeed it does seems most of us are middle aged or older. This is also true for other kayaking groups I belong to as well. Many believe sea kayaking to be a sport for the more mature, with the extra time and money to enjoy the sport.
Not just a concern in our kayak club, but discussed among other outdoor clubs as well. Paddling.net also just published an article by Cliff Jacobson on this topic called ‘Grey Hairs’, lamenting on the fact that we are missing the youth in our outdoor activities, and wondering if “we're raising a generation of youngsters who love malls more than trees” putting some blame on our educational expectations that no long include field trips and away from school activities.
Adventure Kayak Magazine had an article in their Early Summer 2012 Issue by Tim Galloway titled “Where are all the Younger Paddlers Paddling?”. Galloway (who is 23 says) “To get younger people into the sport, it needs to be seen as exciting and challenging, requiring us to let go of the stereotypical notions of flat water and sunrises, and accept the multiple facets of sea kayaking”.
If we want to see some younger folks join in, we have to take some responsibility to show them the way. Start at home with family. A couple of weekends ago when my son Alan (age 26) and niece Morgan (age 17) were both visiting, we spent a morning on our lake. It was Morgan’s first time paddling, she was a natural.