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Design & Illustration

Surfski cockpit – Jan-Olof Karlsson

From Jan-Olof Karlsson who built a surfski prototype, a couple of ideas for a wood strip cockpit.

A simple and efficient pedal construction...

Fitting a SmartTrack rudder

Construction photos

Wood strip surfski cockpit
On a couple of plywood supports, the main structure is stripped and laminated

Wood strip surfski cockpit
The cockpit with the forward bulkhead (with a hatch). The boxes on the right sheer are cutouts for the rudder uphaul lines.

Wood strip surfski cockpit
Fitting the side panels. Note the exit for the rudder lines (just aft of the clamp on the right).

Wood strip surfski cockpit
Another view

Wood strip surfski cockpit
The finished side panel, with the wooden block for the rudder line exit


Just a thought. An ergo fit ski cockpit is a complex shape. Would it be possible to take a moulding from a good fitting ski cockpit and use a wood veneer or foil and clear resin to create a wood look for a strong ski cockpit?

Yes, absolutely doable – but the complex shape makes the fitting of veneer a formidable task.

A cockpit pod built like an old wooden racing kayak (three or four layers of 0,8 mm veneer), would be strong and beautiful.

I do not know what you mean with foil, but if you are thinking of a wood grain vinyl or similar, I am not too enthusiastic – I would prefer a carbon cockpit to a fake wooden one.

I was thinking of thin veneers as a 'best' option. I experimented on a model boat moulding many years ago. It came out looking like varnished wood. As it was never used, I had no idea if the laminate would last. Having moved to a very rural part of Cornwall where most boats are very traditional, I feel that a wooden ski would fit in better. I feel a winter project coming on :)

Struer in Denmark dominated the racing scene for a number of years with their beautiful and efficient wooden kayaks – approx 3 mm softwood core with a 0,4-0,5 mm hardwood veneer on each side, the outer longitudinally oriented, the inner athwartships. They were light and stiff and, of course, delicate – but easily repaired if necessary. Something like that might work...

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