Thanks to a technology plateau, the kayaking arms race is over. Where before each company came out with at least one new playboat per season, now, with only incremental advances in hull shape and proportions, the shelf life of a design can top three years. Models like the Dagger Crazy 88 and the Jackson Fun are still cutting-edge despite their older vintage.
Creekboat life expectancy is even longer, with Liquidlogic's Jefe, Dagger's Nomad, and Pyranha's M:3 series leading the pack by reaffirming the dominance of the V-shaped displacement hull.
One area that's seen big advances: kids' boats. Jackson Kayakfounded by three-time world champion Eric Jackson and now in its second yearintroduced the Fun 1 for paddlers as light as 70 pounds. Jackson's sales are already catching up with the older, more established manufacturers, and the company is betting that will continue as grown-up youngsters fondly remember their first kayak.