Monday, January 29, 2007

Boatbuilder John Petersen beats the living daylights out of a perfectly nice kayak!

John Petersen is a highly regarded builder of traditional-style skin-on-frame kayaks. He did this heinous thing to prove a point.

In his own words, from the Qajaq USA Traditional Skills ForuM:

It's been a long time coming but I always wanted to demonstrate some of the abuse a SOF could go through, recorded on video to dispel some of the myths and perceptions about them. I can't begin to tell you how many times the subject of strength and durability of a SOF comes up when approached by someone new to kayaking or even by those quite familiar with it or "sold" by plastic or glass.

The kayak demonstrated was almost 2 years old at that point and used intensely about 3 - 4 times per week in the Pacific. It was built with only a 2" wide red cedar gunnel to save weight which gave it more flex than I personally would care to have. I ended up building a more robust SOF for it's previous owner, replaced a few ribs that I cracked during the demo, re-skinned it, and sold it to the owner of Monterey Bay Kayaks in CA during TAKS this past October. I assure you the kayak was perfectly sea worthy even before I reconditioned it.

There could have been other ways to dramatically show the limits of these kayaks-it's a start though and one that I hope will add a little more validation to traditional methods...


Here's the video:

Shaman Kayaks Durability Video

You can see some intact samples of this boatbuilder's craft (in both senses of the word) at his Shaman Kayaks website.

Thanks for the link, Stevie!

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