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Problem Finding A Kayak Or Paddleboard? Blame COVID

June 7, 2021

This type of story intrigues me as to how the pandemic plays havoc with areas of society and business that no one could have predicted. There have been scores of these tangential stories that demonstrate the impact of a deadly virus.

Recommended pandemic safety protocols have encouraged many to get outside, meaning there’s been no damming the flow of adventurers trying to get on the water. But a supply shortage has crunched the pipeline of retail and wholesale paddlesports goods, including paddles and personal floatation devices, that has limited the nationwide availability of desirable paddlesports gear.

It’s a problem “extremely evident” to anyone looking to buy such goods, from individual recreators to paddlesports instructional schools to large retailers, according to Spencer Cooke, a North Carolina-based sales representative for multiple national paddlesports-related manufacturers.

Manufacturers are only now catching up with demand after facing local pandemic-related shutdown orders or shuffling their production lines to create medical equipment like PPE, Cooke explains. That has increased manufacturing lead times by months.

Cooke says that for more than a year, some paddlesports manufacturers have been sold out until spring 2022.

“If [a company buying paddlesports gear] is just now getting into it, and they didn’t buy it months ago, the likelihood is they’re probably not going to have it in the next four to six months,” Cooke explained.

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