Raising the Bar in Kayak Design and Performance:
New Standards For The Third Millennium
This article discusses the changes in kayak design, usage and performance over the past century and in recent years.
Increased Diversity: The Proliferation of New Kayak Designs
1. MULTIHULL KAYAKS
The kayak concept didn’t stop broadening with the monohull sit-in and SOT designs: As soon as kayaks started gaining popularity people began experimenting and inventing new configurations and designs that included more than one hull (monohull).
The first multihull kayaks were ordinary monohull models equipped with a single outrigger (Proa style) or with two outriggers (trimaran style). Such outriggers were needed to compensate for the monohull’s basic stability deficiency. Lately, outrigger kayaks are regaining popularity among kayak fishermen.
Later, catamaran style kayaks appeared in both sit-in and SOT versions. Inflatable sit-in catamaran kayaks are used for whitewater and fishing, and rigid polyethylene SOT catamaran kayaks were introduced as recreational and fishing kayaks.
The inflatable sit-in designs are not true catamarans but rather wide versions of tunnel-hull kayaks (monohull), and therefore slower than comparable monohulls.
The SOT catamaran kayaks are very wide and therefore harder to paddle than similar size monohull kayaks. They also place the paddlers in the L position much higher than the regular SOT kayak does, which results in increased instability without compensating for it by improving ergonomics or biomechanics.
One can no longer claim today that kayaks are monohull boats – The kayak has evolved into a class of small, personal watercrafts that seem to have two things in common: Paddlers propel them using double blade paddles a.k.a. ‘kayak paddles’, and more importantly: most people perceive them as kayaks and call them by this name.
And just to be realistic, these days a kayak doesn’t necessarily have to be paddled since some kayaks are equipped with electric motors (mainly for trolling), and in some cases even with gas engines.
NEW: read more about motorizing fishing kayaks >>