Your Paddling Future

How technology, demographics and shifting climate will change the way you paddle

This series first appeared in the May 2015 issue of Canoe & Kayak, on newsstands now.

The Age of Rediscovery: The great rivers have been mapped and run, the remotest coastlines paddled long ago. Everything worth discovering has been explored, right? Wrong. Everyday paddlers–you and me–can now spy with impunity on potential new runs. We have more information than ever before, from Google Earth’s all-seeing (and free!) eye in the sky, to real-time gauge telemetry and camera-equipped drones to scout beyond the next horizon line. That’s not all. According to American Rivers, more than 600 dams have been removed from U.S. streams in the last 10 years, uncovering thousands of river miles not seen nor paddled for decades. As dam-removal efforts gain momentum, river-boaters won’t be the only ones with new waters to explore. The newly un-dammed Elwha River has already deposited millions of tons of sediment on the Washington coast, creating new wildlife habitat and an intriguing surf break for sea kayakers to explore. Welcome to your paddling future.

Auto Follow Drones

I remember the days when we had to have other people take our picture.


The Future of Maps

A new generation of amateur filmmakers and citizen mapmakers is taking the future of wilderness tripping into their own hands.


Expedition Theater

Combining cutting-edge athletic performance with self-produced coverage in real time.


Sea Kayak Evolution

It's hard to predict the future of sea kayaking, but we can look to other sports for suggestions


Longer, Faster, Lighter

Russell Henry's expedition around Vancouver Island was all about going fast, so I chose a boat that would help me achieve my goal.


Oceans of Whitewater

Climate change will continue to shrink snowpack, resulting in shorter and less predictable whitewater seasons. Whitewater paddlers will migrate to ocean surf and rock gardens.


Future of Paddling Shops

You can't be a specialty store without being special.


Shoulder Seasons

As peak demand for permitted river trips continues to grow, more boaters will get wise to shoulder seasons.


Eric Larsen Ice Out

Now that the only people who insist that the world's ice isn't melting are politicians on oil-company payrolls, let's talk about what that means.


Paddling the Extremes

With droughts and flooding becoming the norm, we'll learn to paddle packrafts to navigate rivers at extreme low flows, and making the most of those short seasons.


The Trip of Your Lifetime

As the American population grows older, millions of people are coming into a lot of free time.


Everybody's doing it

Soon, someone is going to realize that the answer to feeling good is not keeping gluten out of your gut.


Packraft Revolution

Packrafts are reviving wilderness boat travel.


Dystopia and Utopia

If you can rent someone's spare bedroom on AirBnB, why not kayaks and canoes?