Meet the Manhattan Kayak Team
Meet the Manhattan Kayak Team
In the beginning, there was father Dieter and his son Eric
Dieter Stiller is in Union Square at his Klepper Kayak shop. It’s 1970 and Dieter imports and sells the first folding kayaks in the USA. Father and firebrand son Eric go kayaking in the Delaware River and Adirondacks. Eric learns to zoom on the water.
Eric came into his own
Dieter summons his son from college to help out at the shop a decade later. Eric begins selling and racing the kayaks up and down the East Coast. One day, an Aussie model named Tony strides into the shop and mentions he’s planning to circumnavigate Australia by kayak – but never sea kayaked before! Eric coaches Tony a couple of times every week — by kayaking from Gansevoort Street back and forth to the Statue of Liberty. Done with training, they kayak halfway around Australia.
He created an adventurous team
Eric returns to NYC and is alone on the water. He imagines that NYC can be a world-class paddling destination. He borrows some kayaks from the Union Square shop and finds like-hearted friends to jump the fences and paddle up and down the Hudson River, around Manhattan, to sunken ships and desolate buildings. Then, ingenious pal David Lee Roth encourages Eric to turn this edgy hobby into a career. The community becomes Manhattan Kayak. Its small team teaches and trains ambitious athletic New Yorkers out of old buildings and barges in Chelsea.
Our team scored new digs
The Hudson River Park emerges on Manhattan’s West Side starting in the 1990s. MKC’s original base is torn down by the Park. First, we relocate to the new Pier 66 Boathouse in Chelsea and stay for 7 years. Then, in 2013, we relocate to the Pier 84 Boathouse in Hell’s Kitchen. This becomes the home-base for our 30 staff and dozens of graduated students who own their own kayaks and SUPs. Excitement grows as the group explores waters far and wide and develops a unique fitness community on the waterfront.
Our team sticks together and feels like a family. As new kayakers and paddle boarders learn with us, they become woven into this very special waterfront community.
We honed our craft of teaching and touring
Many of us started as students here. We know it takes real skill to confidently paddle NYC. We teach Kayak Basics and SUP Basics in four 2-hour classes to help newcomers develop proficiency. Students who finish these lessons are ready to go on exhilarating longer tours. We offer affordable rentals in the cove and beginner sightseeing tours for fun, sun, and scenery.
We continue to manifest an extraordinary lifestyle
Modern life is more or less predictable, controlled, and machine-assisted. Come discover the unpredictable, unwieldy, and physically strenuous side of life. Words can’t explain what zooming on the water connects us with…something inexplicably great that brings awe and excitement. All while in New York City.
We hope to see you on the water!
– The Manhattan Kayak Team
About The Boathouse
Location: Visit the Pier 84 Boathouse, directly on the Hudson River in Midtown Manhattan. Pier 84 opened in 2006 and is the largest public pier in the Hudson River Park. There is a protected cove between the Boathouse and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum measuring 1,000 ft long by 250 ft wide.
What’s inside: lounging space, boat racks, changing rooms, restrooms, lockers.
What’s outside: waterfront patio, boat staging area, dock.
We revamped our changing rooms and patio since making the virtual tour.