The Duct Tape Kayak

Yes, it floats...and for a good cause

Photo courtesy David Arruda

By Greg Petry

An Engineer, a Chemist and a Communication major were watching television—no, this isn’t a joke. Dave Arruda, 26, and his friends Brett Muirhead, 20, and Alex Russo, 22, were watching the Discovery Channel’s MythBusters, where the inquisitive tv-team built a small sailboat out of duct tape, and decided to try their hand at it.

While working at Billington Sea Kayak in Plymouth, Mass., the three pieced together the idea to build a kayak out of PVC pipe and duct tape, and race it in local paddling events as a fundraiser.

The Duct Tape Kayak on the water.

The three kayak instructors chose Stand Up To Cancer as their charity. “They have a good organization that raises money for cancer research.” Arruda explains. “ And cancer touches a lot of people.”

So how many rolls of duct tape does it take to build a sea worthy craft anyway? Well, that’s being held top-secret, for the moment. Part of the team’s fundraising effort is guessing the amount of tape it takes. “It’s a lot,” hints Arruda, “Somewhere less than a mile, but more than you’d think.”

They even found a few sponsors to help out with their goal. Billington Sea Kayak and Teva gave them enough cash to buy all of the materials they needed at the local hardware store.

The kayak itself is 19-feet long and 22-inches wide, modeled after a Greenland style boat. The frame is half-inch PVC pipe, and the skin is a combination of grey and pink duct tape (pink is, ostensibly, for breast cancer awareness). The duct tape company is also donating proceeds from the sale of the pink tape to cancer research. Arruda described it as a “Win-Win”.

The team’s first race is this Saturday, August 18. It’s a six-mile river run down the North River. They have another two-mile race on the books for October. The plan is to keep doing this year after year, changing the color of the duct tape to match the organization they are raising money for, Arruda says.

This year the fundraising window ends in October, so they’re planning to enter their craft into even more races to raise money. Their goal is $1,000, and they’re just over half way at this point.

Check out KayakDave.com for more information about the duct tape boat building process, and click HERE to make a donation.

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Add a Comment

  • Bob

    How original. If Mythbusters could float a small duct tape sailboat, why wouldn’t a kayak float? This is just another “me, too” story.

  • Gary

    Nice comment, Bob. (sarcasm) I think a thumbs up is in order. After all, these guys are doing this to raise money to help others in need. And they did it by just giving their time and skills and putting a good idea to work. The world needs more people like that. Mythbusters do things to make money by producing a TV show.

  • Jim

    Super cool project Kayak Dave!

  • Pat

    Great job guys, try to win one of those races! And Bob, why would you say that? These guys are awesome.

  • Darren

    Bob, Go paddling man. You need to be a bit more positive.

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