Build Your Own Kayak: The O Six Hundred Kayak

The kayak has been around for thousands of years. Since the Bronze Age, Inuit hunters have been using the kayak to hunt on lakes, rivers and coastal waters. The O Six Hundred Kayak borrows the original Inuit design and employs modern materials to make a tough, lightweight kayak. And just like the Inuits, you build it yourself.

O Six Hundred KayakO Six Hundred Kayak

Traditional Design

The traditional kayak has a covered deck and a cockpit, or cockpits, which seats a passenger and prevents water from entering the hull. The first kayaks, developed by the Inuit, Yup'ik and Aleut peoples, were made by stretching animal skin over a wood or whale bone frame. They were designed for mobility, allowing the hunter to move swiftly through the water and to roll the vessel and right it again, without getting water in the hull.

Traditional Inuit KayakTraditional Inuit Kayak

Nowadays, there are quite a few variations on the original design. Some kayak models have eliminated the cockpit and seat the paddler on top of the boat; some have an added hull; some have inflated air chambers surrounding the vessel. The O Six Hundred Kayak honors the original design of the kayak. 

The O Six Hundred consists of a hoop pine plywood and cedar spine frame that is flexible, yet incredibly durable, and a carbon fiber skin, which itself is durable and lightweight. These materials are the modern version of whale bone and animal skin.

O Six Hundred DimensionsO Six Hundred Dimensions

Build It Yourself

The name "kayak" comes from the Inuit word "qajaq," which means "man's boat" or "hunter's boat." These boats were made by the men who used them, with assistance from their wives, who stitched the animal skins. The O Six Hundred preserves this tradition and adds a sort-of IKEA twist. 

O Six Hundred PiecesO Six Hundred Pieces

When you order an O Six Hundred Kayak, you'll get 42 marine ply ribs, which create the primary frame, cedar spines that stretch across that frame and a carbon skin. Then you have to assemble the pieces. Assembly is easier than a piece of IKEA furniture, and when you're done you have something way more fun than a dresser. 

Good Design Award

The O Six Hundred is the brainchild of Ben Cooper and the design product of Andrew Simpson of The Balmain Boat Company. They built the vessel to "get lost." They created a vessel that would give them a break from the city and lend a different point of view. 

Kayak And FrameKayak And Frame

Their design is elegant, sleek and futuristic. It is also practical and easy to operate. The creative, yet traditional design of the O Six Hundred Kayak received a GOOD DESIGN Award, and was called a "standout example of exquisite craftsmanship."

This design is uniquely traditional and beautiful. It is not your run-of-the-mill plastic kayak, and you can't treat it as such. Just like the original skins of the first kayaks, the carbon skin of the O Six Hundred is very durable, but will rip, if you decide to be lazy and drag it across some jagged rocks or broken glass. However, at only 22 pounds, its not hard to carry. 

Inside O Six HundredInside O Six Hundred

Order Your Own

If you want one of the most beautiful kayaks on the market, or if you just want a solid, lightweight, traditional kayak, you can visit the O Six Hundred site to order your own. Expect to lay down a good chunk of change for this vessel--"exquisite craftsmanship" and "elegant design" don't come cheap. You'll also have to get your own paddle and life vest, but sites like Amazon have plenty of those. What you will be getting is one beautiful kayak.