I have been struggling to write this review. When I arrived at NIK for a 4-day kayaking tour, I was turned away because my hips were too wide to fit into any of their kayaks. The guide and the receptionist were very polite - they apologized profusely and I was given a full refund. But I have been on many other kayaking tours and my experience has always been that kayaking companies use a variety of kayaks in order to accommodate a diverse range of people, from tall to heavy. NIK only had kayaks with one size of cockpit, which is unusual from my previous experiences. I was extremely surprised and disappointed, but mostly humiliated. I never even considered to the possibility that I would not be able to fit in their kayaks because it has just never happened to me before in my many experiences kayaking. In my experience, kayaking (including sea kayaking) has been an activity that anyone can enjoy.
I am upset that I had no way of knowing that NIK doesn’t accommodate larger people before I arrived in Telegraph Cove. It is not easy or quick to get there, and I spent a lot of time and effort and money planning my whole trip around this 4-day kayaking tour, so it was devastating to get all the way there only to be turned away. NIK knows that they are remote - their website reads: “travelling to our location will typically require some advance planning” - so I have no clue why they don’t include information about the limits to who they are able to accommodate, so that people can make a proper assessment of their offerings before booking.
What their website does say is that you need to be fit enough to complete the paddling for your trip, but I am fit. I just happen to be both fit and fat. I hope they are not using fit to mean thin, because those are very much not the same thing. I also find it extremely hard to believe that I am the first plus-sized person to book with them, so I am very confused as to how this issue has not arisen before.
I highly encourage NIK to consider using kayaks with a wider variety of cockpit sizes to fit a more diverse array of people in the future. If NIK does not want to do this, I highly encourage them to include information on their website to give plus-sized folks pause before booking. This could be information such as: weight limits for NIK's kayaks; a warning that NIK does not use kayaks with wide cockpits; a warning to reach out to NIK before booking if you are a larger person, so that they can help you try to assess whether they can accommodate you before you arrive in Telegraph Cove.
The NIK employees reacted as best they could in the situation, but NIK as a company appears to be lacking inclusivity for large people. The responsible thing for them to do would be to either increase their inclusivity for large people, or to clearly inform folks of the limitations to who they can accommodate on their tours.
This was a horrible and humiliating experience that I hope no one else has to go through. I am certain that was not NIK's intention, but it was still the effect, and I hope with my whole heart that no one else has to go through this humiliation. I know that I am not the only plus-sized person who enjoys kayaking, so I truly hope NIK considers my comments and suggestions.