For more input on this topic I checked out an interesting thread, www.westcoastpaddler.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5310
Several people repeated what John Dowd had told them, essentially paraphrasing some of Dowd's AK comments; a few others stated that they saw no signs of a falling-off of interest in sea kayaking, but most did agree that there were fewer sea kayakers on the water. I noted down, under various categories, the reasons people thought this was happening, as follows (many gave more than one reason): Bad economy, 29% of reason; Demographic changes, 29%; Sea kayaking as a bubble, 16%; Growing interest in SOTs, SUPs, rec boats, 13%; Growing interest in performance, surf, Inuit paddling, 10%; Elitism of sea kayakers, 3%. Nobody said that, in their opinion, it was due to people being told they ought to try to learn to roll, or to master difficult or unusual paddle strokes; nobody agreed that sea kayaking was evolving from a freedom-centered to a belonging-centered activity. Interesting.