Boat Shopping 101 with Katie Cambie

Boat Shopping 101 with Katie Cambie

4K for a second hand Shadow, Total Eclipse or Aspire. Are you serious? Just say no and keep scrolling!

Where did that figure even come from? Well, let me give you a quick history lesson. The second hand kayak market absolutely exploded as our borders closed in 2020. New Zealand was overrun by kiwis desperate to spend their travel cash on a hunk of carbon kevlar to call their own.

Multisport kayaks are unique to us, therefore all our kayaks are manufactured right here in the land of the long white cloud. However the manufacturers can only make so many boats, so in 2020 we had a problem. More people wanted boats than the boat builders could supply. So what happened? The second hand market went NUTS! Here’s an example, we sold a second hand full carbon Shadow in 2018 to a client for $2,500. That paddler later sold it in 2020 and got $3850 for it. A beautiful example of supply and demand.

It’s no secret that I run a kayak school and a big part of the game is helping those new to the sport navigate the duds and find a boat that is going to see them love kayaking, or at the very least enjoy it. I am really passionate about helping those entering the sport, looking for their weapon of choice get the right boat. We were after all in that very same position at some point, with little to no knowledge of what we were doing and relying on others to point us in the right direction and provide sound advice when it came to buying a kayak. I was lucky enough to have my close friend Jasmin tell me straight - "Don't muck around, get to Topsport and order a JKK 5.2 Eclipse". Best kayaking advice I ever got! 

At Topsport the Shadow has become the boat that sits above the rest. Our instructors all paddle them for teaching and our clients have the opportunity to learn to paddle one on their Grade II Course, they quickly find out why we love them so much. If the Shadow is such a great boat doesn’t that mean 4K for one would be a good price? No. If you are going to spend this much treat yourself to a brand new one for another $600 bucks and put the first hole in it yourself! As for a Flow Aspire, this is a great choice too for the bold beginner. Their second hand price has dropped significantly as the new price has been dropped with a cancelled export order. A great time to buy one. Not such a great time to sell one. 

So why did I write this little blog? It’s 2023. It’s not 2020. New boats aren’t as rare as hens teeth. New Zealand’s two biggest manufacturers have expanded with new facilities and increased staff. So what does this mean for the industry? They can make more boats than ever before which means the price of second hand boats is coming down. So I am sorry to say to all those retired paddlers out there looking at their old boat in the garage seeing their next their tropical holiday or new bike. It's not going to happen. You need another pandemic for that. You have literally missed the boat. 

Now there are a few exceptions. JKK produced more than his fair share of hitters and some of his kayaks are still very sought after. The Magnatar and Total Eclipse SS are the pick of the lot. The Total SS is a truly great kayak for a solid intermediate paddler. The Magnatar is a beautiful advanced boat. Every boat has its pros and cons and the Magnatar definitely has more pros than cons. The Eclipse 5.2 is a brilliant boat for a small paddler. Just don’t go spending crazy money on one of these babies that is so old it’s barley sea worthy.

So to all those new paddlers out there, before you open your internet banking app do your research and make sure you getting the right kayak at the right price.

Happy shopping 😊

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