Origami Kayak

By: on November 21, 2012
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The San Francisco Bay Area: Big waters, small living spaces, crowded streets, zero parking. Because Anton Willis loves to kayak, and because he isn't a whiner who sits around complaining about problems instead of doing something about them, he embraced his city's perks, and developed the Oru Kayak to accommodate its flaws. A foldable boat in a compact carrying case, the Oru Kayak maintains the high-performance needs of avid paddlers, but breaks down post-use into a 33" x 29" x 10" rectangle easily storable in a car trunk, hall closet, sailboat, office cube, or even jimmied atop a backpack during hikes to more remote waters.

The Oru Kayak team designed their origami-inspired boat to transform quickly and easily, with an assembly time of around 5 minutes, and no tools necessary. At full size, it measures 12' long x 25" wide and weighs only 25 pounds. Not bad for their promise that it will also handle smoothly and stably darting through waves with a load of up to 260 pounds.

The Oru is engineered from a single sheet of double-layered plastic, and sports a single seam sealed with a watertight rubber gasket. It is covered with a corrugated plastic skin for toughness and durability. Other features:

  • Easy-to-use snap-release buckles
  • Sturdy coaming (cockpit rim) fits spray skirts
  • Easily-adjustable footrest
  • Comfortable foam seat and backband
  • Rubber holding strap for accessories
  • Shoulder strap on case for easy transport on foot
  • Fits commercial spray skirts and float bags
  • Front and back rubber fairings

Already a resounding success on Kickstarter, the Oru Kayak campaign runs until December 19, 2012. Even at an $800 asking price, the Oru team is nearly sold out of their initial production run of 200 (at printing, 76 were left). That batch intends to ship in May 2013. A second run, also available for an $800 pledge, anticipates heading out in June 2013. Full instructions and a detailed assembly video will be included with all orders. And for an additional $200 of support, eager backers will receive one of the first 50 Orus ever produced--signed, numbered, and delivered a couple months earlier, in March 2013.

All kayaks will be fabricated in California using local manufacturers and sustainable production practices.

November 2013 Update: The Oru Kayak far exceeded its crowdfunding goal and is now available for direct purchase through the company's website--follow the link below.

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