Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is Yak-Back an Epidemic?

It is.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Yak-Back could be considered an epidemic, or and epidemic condition-
  • Main Entry: ep·i·dem·ic
  • Function: adjective
1: affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time
2: excessively prevalent
3: of, relating to, or constituting an epidemic - "The practice had reached epidemic proportions"
  • Main Entry: epidemic
  • Function: noun
1: an outbreak of epidemic disease
2: an outbreak or product of sudden rapid spread, growth, or development-"An epidemic of bankruptcies"

We don't know how big this epidemic is, but we have some good statistical indicators:
According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), some 300,000 kayaks are sold in the United States every year. The great majority of these kayaks still offer the L position as the only sitting option.
According to other institutional sources such as the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), there are millions of kayak users in the US, and most of them are adults, with a prevalence of middle aged people (the 'kayak anomaly'), and older people.

Where do these figures lead us? -Since most adults living in modern societies suffer form back problems to some extent, and hardly anyone is fit to paddle sit-in or SOT kayaks without suffering from some impact on their back, it is likely to assume that yak-back is a condition that affects tens, and possibly hundreds of thousands of Americans each year.

It is safe to assume that yak-back is the main reason why so many people quit kayaking and kayak fishing every year - They simply don't find acceptable solutions to their yak-back problems, including back pain, leg pain, leg numbness, butt pain (a.k.a 'Yak Ass Syndrome' - YAS), Sciatica etc.

New, 'ergonomic' seats and cushioned backrests don't solve any problem, because they are irrelevant to the nature of the yak-back problem.
Exercising in order to be 'fit to sit' is neither a realistic nor a sensible proposition for the vast majority of paddlers and fishermen, who rightfully expect paddling and fishing to be the healthy exercise they need, and not activities that require special, tedious physical preparations.


angel a said...

You bet it is an epidemic...
Big Time!
I bought a kayak and I can't paddle it!

Anonymous said...

Those people who tell others they need to work out and get fit to use their kayaks are really annoying

Pinkit said...

sure it's an epidemic, just look at all those kayak seats and the manufacturers who tell you they'll solve your lumbar problems

Anonymous said...

It's an epidemic fueled by cheap kayak prices compared with other boats, marketing hype from all kinds of gear vendors and the kayak industry, and lack of proper understanding of the nature of the problem.

ogen said...

for some people it's more convenient not to know

Apni55 said...

it is an epidemic because many people suffer from it