Sea Kayak Evolution

Expect touring craft to become more and more specialized

Photo by Sterling Donalson

Photo by Sterling Donalson

By Reg Lake
It's hard to predict the future of sea kayaking but we can look to other sports for suggestions. Years ago, I asked climber Doug Tompkins this question and he said as sports grow and mature they will become specialized. If whitewater is any indication, Tompkins is right: River running has divided many times from the old four-meter-long slalom kayaks I started with.

The same trend holds true in sea kayaking. We now have specialized boats for racing, exploring, day paddling, touring and surf. Sea kayakers have always favored speed and tracking. But by giving up a very minor amount of speed we now have a more fun and playful kayak that is easy to control without a skeg or rudder. I envision this concept continuing well into the future, much the same way that planing hulls transformed river running.

Reg Lake is a veteran paddler of rivers and oceans, and a sea kayak designer based in Washington State. As told to Conor Mihell

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