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Some Central Coast shops face kayak shortage as demand for outdoor activities increase

Posted at 7:45 PM, Aug 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 01:46:03-04

Kayaking is a summer activity many are taking advantage of during the pandemic, but the increase demand is impacting supplies.

Some Central Coast kayak businesses are dealing with a kayak shortage as demand for outdoor adventures increase.

Employees at Central Coat Kayaks in Shell Beach say while kayaking is a great way to practice social distancing this summer, there are several concerns with the activity becoming so popular.

"A lot of people are getting outside and enjoying paddling but unfortunately its been really difficult for us to get inventory for us to sell it," Tom Reilly, the Central Coast Kayaks co-owner said.

A Mill Valley couple visiting Pismo Beach for the weekend said they have been looking to buy a kayak for more than three months.

"They’re either sold out or they’re back-ordered, or you get on the wait-list for it. So, we definitely got lucky," Vince Moreschini, a tourist, said.

The couple added that they had trouble finding kayaks in sporting good stores like REI and Dick's Sporting Goods.

Down the road from Central Coat Kayaks is a similar business, Pismo Beach Surf Shop.

The owner there said he's been aware of the kayak shortage, but has been able to get ahead of inventory.

“Fortunately I have a container of kayaks that I’ve had prior to COVID, so I was stocking up last year and this year," Bill Bookout, owner of Pismo Beach Surf Shop, said.

However, other shops along the Central Coast haven't been as lucky and are struggling to stay afloat.

Kayak companies typically can ship product within 7-10 business days when an order is placed, according to Reilly. That turn around time is now taking 30-60 days.

Depending on the manufacturer and the type of boat, kayak product can even take up to 90 days to arrive at a shop.

The frustration now, is on both the shops and the customers.

"Rather than just a husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend, or buddies, it’s families of six, families of eight who’ve been hunkered down together they just want to get out and spend some time outside,” Reilly said.

Businesses owners say they are working to keep up with the demand and want tourists and locals to continue kayaking into the fall season.

“Please be patient with the retailer," Reilly said. "They would love to sell you everything under the sun, but they can't get it."