Kayaks - number of units sold in the U.S. 2013
More statistics and facts on recreational boating
Kayaking in the U.S. - additional information
The number of kayaks sold in the United States peaked in 2006 at just over 393 thousand and has since declined sharply, reaching 225.8 thousand in 2013 – a decline of nearly 43 percent. The retail market value of kayak sales was 122 million U.S. dollars in 2013, falling from 196 million in 2006. Conversely, according to the Outdoor Foundation, the number of people participating in kayaking in the U.S. has increased year-on-year since 2006.
Kayaking involves the use of a double-bladed paddle to propel a kayak – a boat in which the paddler faces forward with their legs in front – across a body of water. Thought to be at least 4,000 years old, kayaks were invented by indigenous peoples from Arctic regions, such as the Inuit, for fishing. The original kayaks were made from animal skins, wood and whale bone. Today, made from a variety of materials from carbon fiber to plastic, the average price of a kayak in the U.S. is 540 U.S. dollars.
There are different types of kayaking, including recreational, sea/touring and whitewater kayaking. Whitewater kayaking is considered a more extreme form of kayaking in which the participant may paddle on anything from moving water to fast-moving and challenging whitewater. In 2012, 316 thousand young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 years participated in whitewater kayaking in the U.S.