13038 Hwy 61 North
phone: 319-752-1857 or 1-800-RIVER-12
WHY BUY IN A PADDLESPORTS SPECIALTY SHOP vs. THE BIG BOX STORE?
1) Box stores don't train associates in the skills of paddlesport.
2) Box stores select boats based on height in a truck, and not growing size of the customers needing to not overweight the craft and avoid a dangerous or scary first experience. No selection is done by buyers based on the boats actual hull performance. Non paddlers are buying from a catalog for reasons that serve their interest, not yours. Their goal is a retail price point below $800.00, and not about comfort, safety of adequate displacement, and rescue minimal features like a bulkheaded air section, or even minimal added flotation minicell material.
3) Gear that works for you. Corporate buyers select cheap offshore paddles when we have a quantity of top American made products that won't ever break, get actual warranty replacement, and perform - so much better, its not a fair comparison. We see paddlers every day struggling with a China made product that is shorter by 10" to 20" than every instructional authority will tell you the paddle needs to be. The staff at the stores have no clue what a high angle stroke versus a low angle stroke is and why you don't want what they are selling. Do they want you to end up in the Orthopedic Surgeons office because you hurt your body using poorly selected gear? Paddling is a life sport. Do it right, by learning how to do this sport correctly through a certfied instructor, using correct gear for the type of kayak you will be selecting. We have a weak point in our paddling range of motion, and the gear they are pushing you into, is going to harm you more than help you in the long term.
4) Premium materials in a kayak you will enjoy for your lifetime. The materials. We have all of them - 7 different construction choices today, weights down to the 35 pounds. Why is this box store boat so incredibly thin? The boat you are pushing your thumb into, and watching flex badly, is single layer blow molded material. It is heat formed, and popped out in a few minutes time. They glue the two halves together. If you drag it on a parking lot often, you have a hole in the heel. I see this done every single day, so its not a crazy comment. Now, you have 30 lbs of additional landfill material that won't break down in more years than you and your grand kids will be alive.
5) What is DISPLACEMENT? Why is that important? It is EVERYTHING! Your foot can't fit a size 6 ladies shoe, nor should it. Your body has x pounds that demand a hull support somewhere north of 250 lbs maximum capacity. Now, a 250 lb capacity tiny kayak is one heavily overloaded boat if the average adult I encounter every day I have run this shop crams their body into it. You don't get a do - over with the River, or the Lake, so respect the water, your limits, your honest weight, and get the kayak that is at least 25% greater than your weight in its rated capacity. This is a rough guide. No standardizing organization or rule regulates kayak capacities, and how or if a company applies a maximum capacity number. If you need a big boys boat, I am going to straight out need your weight, and then do the number crunching to make sure I am correct on my picks. This goes for gals too. No one escapes the hard criteria we must use when it comes to your safety. Even if you rent, or participate in a class, I will know what boat you require to not have a miserable afternoon, or unsafe event. Your safety is our first concern.
6) Don't buy blind. We tell everybody that visits our shop, "we suggest you make your final selection based on a demo". We can hone you in on 2 or 3 kayaks that are right for you in the first 5 minutes we spend with you; but from there subjective points only you can sort out, come into play. How does it fit, how does it move, do I like the stability versus the speediness? Do I really love that kayak chair more than a lower profile seat back? Kayaks are very diverse these days. We have the gamut here, white water to expedition trekking. We will get you to the water, safely launch you, and help you exit safely, and give you enough strokes info so you can manage a demo.We provide free annual demos that are highly valuable experiences seeing what is new, and comparing better grade kayaks against each other. We are doing demos for individuals almost every weekend. As shop owner, I only buy in this manner, even if I have to travel 4,000 miles to get access to new stuff I need to touch and feel. There is nothing equal to a demo experience. If its in my shop, I have paddled it!
7) The box store only sold ratchet straps. They had no boat straps - anywhere. They are the premiere fanciest brand of all the box store brands, and they are absolutely clueless about how you transport a boat so it doesn't become a projectile that costs you so much money in a liability suit, you just lost your home. Its time to run out the door. Real paddlesports shops likely sell Thule, Yakima, and Malone like we do. If they demo and haul rentals like we do, they can tie knots with their eyes closed, and teach you the do's and dont's of avoiding inferior gear, and poor strapping methods.
8) We teach, and we train. I have a handful of ACA (American Canoe Association) certifications, and continue working on advanced skills. I've paddled 45 years now, in serious pursuits of wilderness canoe, sea kayak touring, and white water. I was teaching this sport to young Boy Scouts at age 16. The only reason I got into this retail trade, is because I was tired of getting smoked each morning by Wenonahs as I broke camp and began my long day of paddling in my trusty Grumman on my extended Quetico trips. When I am able, I pull away from the daily retail chores, and go far away to participate in clinics, and train on challenging rivers or large ocean bodies. I tend to do this on my vacation destinations as well. Paddling is a lifestyle for those of us who are in it with passion. So, when you are ready to grow your skills, we are able to give you insight with teaching content you need, and methods that will ensure a long time enjoying your watercraft safely. Kayaks are freeing, and also hold greater responsibility. You can get yourself into great risk, and must learn preparedness ahead of time. The depth of learning factor here is one reason seasoned paddlers continue to be challenged and love this sport. Our class content is 8 hours minimum just to get you grounded in the basics. We break this down into manageable 4 hour bites so as to not overwhelm, and so you have time to process the content we are imprinting through on water practice.
9) This is a western invention, and we hold huge loyalty to those who created, and continue upping the bar. If the product choices you are weighing are from China, stop right there and look around. Nothing about kayaks we know, or canoes we settled this country by, originated from China. This activity, method to live, pre-date every single immigrant to this land. At least 15 boat manufacturers and a whole bunch more accessories, rack, PFD life jacket, and paddle makers are sustained by River Basin Canoe & Kayak in Tennessee, North Carolina, Minnesota, etc.. That is easily thousands of Western jobs, sustained by shops just like this, who innovate great designs and make awesome high quality leading gear in the West. We don't like knock offs, and we don't let them in our shop if we can select alternatives that keep our industry thriving right here. Most of our brands are built entirely in the West, which entails Canada, where far more than half the various sects of native tribes developed uniquely different watercraft that inspired our current versions. Canoesport is huge in Canada, much more vibrant than most of our country. I strongly suggest you visit Peterborough Ontario and see the most impressive watercraft museum in the world. The Canadian Canoe Museum chronicles the development of tribal bartering, and develpment of traders from Europe. This piece of history is underplayed, but entirely shaped what we know and have achieved in the modern era. It shows the huge effect our vessels played on the water planet, in building our Western hemisphere. Only by respecting our origins, do we appreciate the breakthoughs our sports is taking us to, and the players who are making it happen. This is a extremely dynamic business, and that happens because of the feeding frenzy of creativity at play in these Western companies. Lets keep it that way. It starts with you becoming an informed consumer.
10) We love what we do and it shows. Our shop is pretty cool. Maybe not the building but the actual retail store content. We put all our squirrel nuts into the inventory, we know a huge amount about this business, where to go, what to do, and have a lot of fun with our customers. If you get to visit, suddenly, that shiny box store on the hill isn't so pretty.