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Our Designs

 

 

Our designs generally start from historically documented Inuit kayaks.  There are a wide variety of styles that were developed over centuries of Native boat building traditions.  Each is suited to a particular task and paddling conditions.   Native kayaks from any region conform closely to a "cultural model", with little individual variation.  They range from the stylish baidarkas of the Aleutians through the narrow kayaks of western Canada to the sleek high-bowed Greenland kayaks.

In their original form, most of these boats are not well suited to the recreational paddler.  Probably the most noticeable feature of these boats is that most of us would have a difficult time fitting into them.  Beyond the size of the kayak cockpit, other factors related to handling and safety need to be adjusted and fine tuned to create a well designed recreational kayak.

As an example, many of today's production kayaks are based loosely on a West Greenland style of kayak.  Our Cormorant is one of these.  These kayaks had upswept bows and sterns, are long and narrow, and often have flat bottoms.  The most notable features of our Cormorant relative to the traditional Greenland boats are a slightly lower bow and stern, a slight increase in width, and the addition of a shallow "V" bottom.  Numerous other modifications that are not so readily apparent affect the fine nuances of handling.  And, of course, materials and construction are designed to produce a strong and safe craft.  All of this is done with care not to compromise the overall essence of the original Greenland kayak design.

We have done something similar with several traditional kayak styles, many of which are not readily available as manufactured boats.  Each has its own distinctive look, and performs a bit differently from the others.  You may ask, "which is best", or "why so many designs".  First, let us say that there is no kayak that is perfectly suited to all paddlers and paddling conditions.  Thus, there is no "best" kayak.  Your physical size and strength, type of use, paddling skills, and several other factors need to be considered when choosing the "best" kayak for you.  Ideally you should test paddle a number of kayaks before making a decision on which you like best.  Even then, it may be difficult to make the final choice.  Our best advice is to pick a boat that you feel comfortable with, and if you are a relatively inexperienced paddler, don't be afraid to chose a boat that challenges you a bit.  As your skills develop, you will be glad you did.  As a final thought, just like buying a car, in the end sometimes the color might be the deciding factor.

Happy paddling

 

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Last modified: December 07, 1999