CanoeSport Outfitters will not be hosting Demofest in 2021. Demofest is our annual, multi-manufacturer, on-water test paddling event typically held in early April. Due to the high demand for canoes and kayaks manufacturers are not building any demo boats for reps this year. This dramatically reduces the selection and number of boats available at Demofest. Quite honestly there would be very few boats available for us to use as test paddling boats. In addition, many manufacturers stopped accepting new orders for boats in November or December since their manufacturing capacity had already been sold out for almost all of 2021. We have been selling kayaks at a fast rate and despite ordering more boats than we typically do, we are sold out of many models until we can get more in the fall. Even if we held Demofest we will likely have very few kayaks available to sell and no ability to place any special orders until July or August with delivery well after the paddling season has ended.
The primary reason is product availability. Ever since COVID shutdowns took place last year there has been a massive increase in the participation of all outdoor activities. The demand for equipment used in these activities overwhelmed most manufacturers, causing them to put a hold on all new orders. Essentially, this has happened to most paddlesport manufacturers and their capacity is sold out for the foreseeable future.
So How Can You Test Paddle A Canoe Or Kayak This Year?
Test paddling will still be available by private demo. We can start conducting these as soon as the water thaws. Just give us a call and put down a deposit for the models you want to try out and we’ll get what we can to the local lake for you. All deposits for test paddling will apply to any boat purchases so this ends up being free. You will also be able to rent a canoe or kayak at either Lake Ahquabi State Park or Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines to try out various types. What we rent is generally what we sell, so it will allow you to find the kayak you like best.
We are already taking deposits and orders for fall delivery and are encouraging customers to order a kayak as soon as possible. This cycle will likely continue into 2022. If you wait to get a kayak there is a strong possibility you will have a hard time getting exactly what you want for the foreseeable future.
We hope everyone has had a safe off season and like us, I’m sure you’re anxious for warmer weather and the opportunity to get back on the water. We hope you’ll stop by CanoeSport Outfitters for anything you might need or just to say hello.
Thanks and we’ll see you on the water soon!
Jeff Holmes and Shireen Cave