OUR HISTORY IN NEW YORK CITY
Father and Son
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 go kayaking in the Delaware River and Adirondacks. Eric learns to zoom on the water.
Keep Australia on Your Left
Dieter summons his son from college to help out at the shop a decade later. Eric begins selling (and racing) their 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 around Australia.
Dreams for the NYC Waterfront
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 collective becomes Manhattan Kayak Company and its small team teaches and trains ambitious athletic NYers out of old buildings and barges in Chelsea.
Our Team Jives
The Hudson River Park emerges on Manhattan’s West Side starting in the 1990s. MKC’s original base is torn down. The Pier 66 Boathouse in Chelsea, then the Pier 84 Boathouse in Hell’s Kitchen, turn into the new home base for our 20 instructors and guides and dozens of graduated students who own their own kayaks. Excitement grows as the group explores waters far and wide and develops a unique community on the waterfront.
Our team sticks together and feels like a family. As new kayakers and paddleboarders learn with us, they become woven into this very special waterfront community.
Best Place in NYC to Learn and Tour on Kayak and SUP
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 super rewarding trips, starting with intermediate ones, then advanced ones, then elite ones. We offer affordable rentals in the cove and beginner trips for those who choose not to learn but still want fun, sun, and scenery. And recalling how Dieter taught his young son to love to zoom, our After School Program teaches kids to kayak and stand-up paddleboard with zest. Zoom means to move very quickly after all.
The Secret Pleasure of Kayak and SUP in NYC
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 NYC.
We hope to see you on the water,
– The Manhattan Kayak Team
WELCOME TO THE BOATHOUSE
Location: We’re right on the Hudson River at the Pier 84 Boathouse in the Hudson River Park. Cross streets are West 44th St and 12th Ave in Manhattan.
What’s inside: open-air space, boat racks, changing rooms, restrooms.
What’s outside: socially-distant garden patio, lockers, boat staging area, dock.
Note: We revamped our changing rooms and garden lounge since recording this virtual tour.