We hinted that we are doing some planning for 2013. Our late fall and winter calendars are reflecting the goals and directions of LFK. Lots of our sea kayak and whitewater classes are on the calendar (surf classes are coming). Be sure to check out our Precision Whitewater Weekend in January and our Full Immersion Intensive Sea Kayak Weekend in February.
Our big announcement is that we are discontinuing our walk-up rental program. We will still have boats available for students to rent to use in our classes and tours.
Jeff started LFK in 2005 as an instructional kayak company that offered quality instruction and guiding in sea, whitewater river, and surf kayaking. In 2008, LFK relocated to the Mendocino Coast and Cate became a partner. The focus remained on quality instruction and guided adventures and expanded to include beginners and families.
We were constantly getting calls for rentals. People wanted to rent a kayak and go out on their own. We decided to give rentals on the Noyo River a try. (Rentals for the ocean would be for our classes and tours only because kayaking in the Pacific Ocean on the Mendocino Coast takes considerable knowledge and experience. Paddlers unfamiliar with the waters here get into trouble easily and quickly. Here's a tale of a sunken kayak).
People loved our rentals. Our location on the Noyo River is great and they got great customer services. However, our rental program detracted from our tours and classes. It meant that one of us was always manning the shop for people to walk up and rent kayaks. Our tours program was effected because, people were choosing to rent kayaks instead of going on a guided tour based on price.
In 2012, we went to reservations only for rentals and often didn't rent kayaks on weekends or holidays when we were both teaching and guiding trips in the ocean. This was better but one of the main problems with rentals was that everyone who rented a kayak wanted either a kayak lesson or wildlife/natural history tour on shore before their rental. We got rave reviews from our customers but it was entirely too energy consuming for an inexpensive rental. Rentals were also physically challenging on our bodies and our boats. Rentals were an increased stress on wildlife that we seek to protect and increased liability (people were harassing wildlife, didn't have paddling and swimming skills to be out on their own, were not wearing their life jackets, and were paddling into the main harbor area).
We felt like "River Nazi's" nagging people about wearing their life jackets and to respectfully view wildlife. For us, it's back to our instructional and educational tours and classes to ensure that all of our students have a fun, educational, safe and environmentally responsible kayak adventure. YEAH - more time on the water!!!