Why We Don’t All Paddle. Why We Never Will.
Chances are if you are an avid paddler you have at one point evangelized the sport to everyone you know. “You just HAVE to come kayaking with us up to the lake…” If you have done enough of this you have found that it is not easy pulling a human off the couch. Who is to blame them? Couches are super comfortable. They usually have food close by and are a wonderful vista for tv watching.
It takes a lot to get to the water with a kayak or canoe. If I’m after exercise, I can be on my bike and back home before I’d even get the boat off the car at the put-in. The paddle outing is an Excursion. It is just waiting for an excuse to not be executed. Too hot, too cold, too windy, too much time, too much to do. At the checkout counter of life, paddling is not an impulse buy. You can just put it off until next time, the next season or never. It is like the garbage bags you keep forgetting to pick up at the store. Maybe next time.
Accessibility. The greater the access the more likely you will find paddlers. I was once amazed at how few kayaks sell in the Bay Area of CA. There seems to be water everywhere. However, access is sparse, roads are crowded and very few live right on the water. Way too much work to just go relax on the water. The fastest growing kayak segment in this area is kayak fishing. These enthusiasts are used to working a bit to get out on the water. For them, launching a kayak is way faster than their old motorized fishing boat. Now they are saving time and easing their access to water. Their access has improved through the kayak.
I use a few tricks to improve my chances of getting out on the water. I try to keep a boat on the car and gear in the back as much as possible. I motivate myself by knowing that it doesn’t take much to be the only one out on the water. I’ll drive further, endure a little weather and stay out later. While I’m cruising along on the water by myself I now take delight that the bicycle is easier for most and the couch is even easier.