william_rx7 wrote:In Ontario, I'd guess average age is 42 (seriously).
So where are the 20 somethings? Sure there are a couple here and there, but as a group, they are largely missing. Like many 40's somethings, I wonder where are all the kids.
Comparing today's twenty-somethings (age 20-30 born 83-93) to when forty-somethings (age 40-50 born 63-73) were in their twenties.
1) Lack of Disposable Income
Riders in their twenties today don't have nearly the same amount of disposable income that riders in their 40s did 20 years ago.
High housing costs, student debt, gas prices and low wages all contribute to keeping youth out of kiting.
20 years ago, the economy was starting one of the biggest booms ever seen created by the internet. Today's kids are faced with a terrible recession, and a "jobless" recovery, and very high housing costs. Unemployment among 18-24 year olds now approaches 50%! See http://business.time.com/2012/02/09/fewest-young-adults-in-60-years-have-jobs/
2) Lack of Fitness
20 somethings as a group are just not as athletic as they were 20 years ago. Sure there are some outstanding individual athletes in their 20s, but the big picture isn't as rosy. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-24998497. Based on the 5% decline, people in their 40s ran 10% faster in their 20's that today's 20 year olds do.
Obesity rates have doubled, in 20 years. In the early 90's adult obesity rates were around 20%. Twenty years later it's approaching 40%. You can't kite if you can't get off the couch.
3) Lack of Independence
In the 70's kids had way more freedom. "Go out ride your bike, play in the woods, come home before the street lights come on". "Here's a couple packs of firecrackers, and an m-80 now go outside and don't hurt the dog". "You don't need a helmet to skateboard"
Enter cable TV, the internet and 30+ years of the media scaring every parent senseless with one news story more awful than the next. Now kids are under constant parental surveillance, have pre-scheduled play dates and only play a sport if they are on an organized team. The days of kids playing ball hockey / or basketball on their street for "fun" are long gone.
This has created a generation of kids that need to be hand held for nearly everything. If your parents are not involved in a sport, you won't be either. With fewer and fewer people involved in sports, kids opportunities are shrinking too.
We see this in kiting too. Without a parent, or close friend that kites, you never find this sport. Every young rider on PKRA tour comes from a kiting or sailing family, with a parent that is a kiter or windsurfer.
4) Lawsuits & Access
When someone sues a school board, ski resort, property owner or municipality for something, it results in more rules, paranoia and fat kids. There are so many rules that people expect there to be a rule for everything and when there isn't a rule, they assume you need permission.
I've always resented this ingrained attitude, and it takes work to free yourself from it. Frequently when I'm out riding, in the back of my mind I'm thinking that the cops are coming to harass me the minute I get back to the beach, cause anything that's this fun must be "against the rules", and I didn't get "permission".
Look, this is pretty grim when you look at all these negative factors at once. Being a kiter at any level requires a fat wallet, time for living, independent thinking, and some athletic ability. If today's 20 somethings can get off the couch and go to the beach, it'll just mean the beach is less crowded for me.
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