Build a better kayak than you can buy
On choosing, building and using canoes, kayaks, paddles and small boats
Choosing is about dimensions, characteristics, performance, equipment and other things that influences the choice of a kayak or canoe to buy or build.
Building is information on the building method, a complete online building manual for kayaks canoes and paddles, and facts on materials.
Paddling contains advice on paddling techniques, safety in kayaks and canoes, as well as online classes on navigation, meteorology, touring and maritime common sense.
Reading is articles on the history and geography of kayaks, canoes and paddles, a commented list of related books, links etc.
I have often toyed with the idea of a small kayak for spontaneous trips in the surroundings. Ten years ago that idea even had a name. It was called Nim (which in the south Swedish dialect means small and handy) in the possible-projects-folder and was supposed to be a "soap dish" without any other qualities other than a certain versatility.
The main idea was a kind of "semi-permanent roof box for the car, that at any time could become a handy kayak for surf, whitewater, and short trips. To explore an exciting stream seen from the road, or try some unobserved whitewater when you happen to be nearby. Or surfing breakers while the other family members enjoy the sun or play at the beach. Adjustable skeg – up it becomes a playful kayak for whitewater, down a kayak for short trips. A locking cover transforms it into a roof box".
I never finished the project. I liked the idea, but it would have been very hard to construct, boring to paddle, and would make an unpractical box – good-for-everything often means good-for-nothing (as maintenance-free often means impossible to maintain).
On the other hand, a related idea kept popping up now and then in conversations on kayak meetings and in mail communications with builders: a short and simple tub, but still a real no-compromise kayak. An engaged builder had a clear idea of what such a kayak would look like – so I cleared the desk and started. And now the drawings are finished and the first kayak on its way. I have no name yet for it (the working name has been the 10ft-kayak), but maybe it should inherit the name Nim, since small and handy is precisely what it is (but perhaps not in English, where the word seems to be taken for other purposes).
This is what it looks like, and it will appear in the catalog in short – but if someone wants to start, the drawings are ready to ship.
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