As water-sports season draws near, sales of recreation kayaks were up 21%, or over $42 million, and 18% in unit sales in the 12 months ending February 2016, according to global information company The NPD Group. Looking at the top items that make up this increase, the vast majority of those items are fishing kayaks.

“Compared to stand-up paddling, which has become a saturated multi- channel market, there is still uncharted territory within the kayak market, and many manufacturers have found an opportunity in fishing kayaks. Most major kayak manufacturers now offer top-notch fishing kayak options, and this is driving up sales for the category,” said Matt Powell, vice president and sports industry analyst, The NPD Group. “There is a group of anglers who have found the fun, mobility and accessibility in kayak fishing. This sport is environmentally friendly and human-powered for outdoor enthusiasts craving a more natural experience.”

The necessities and accessories that go along with kayaking have also been performing well, demonstrating the broader impact that kayak sales have on related categories. During this time, sales of kayak paddles, as well as water sports wet suits and water shoes and sandals accelerated.

“Retailers and manufacturers that will have the most success in this space are those who focus less on selling, and more on engaging with consumers through the experience,” added Powell. “I suspect that generational factors will play into kayak sales, especially fishing kayaks. As more Boomers — who tend to be outdoor enthusiasts and favor human-powered recreation — retire and free up their time, I expect that fishing kayak sales will continue to grow.”