Baidarka video w/ Greg Barton

caution…takes up some bandwidth.

don’t know if this has surfaced here before or not but I thought it was very interesting on the history of the Baidarka and comparisons with modern day race kayaks.


Good Show!

– Last Updated: Dec-07-05 5:40 PM EST –

someone who mostly lurked/lurks on P-Net sent a tape on this show to me couple of years ago because he read my posts on building a SOF. It really fascinated me on the baidarka and really the different components of hull designs and function.

Watch how the boat Dyson built and paddled into the waves react in the textured water. Really cool.


I wish they’d have spent more time on its construction, but it’s really a great piece. Neat hearing the history of the people too. Thanks for sharing.


Thanks for the post
I’ve never seen that before. Excellent video. Man I’ve been putting off building that baidarka for too long. I think I may finally be up to the challenge of building and paddling one.

You got to give credit to these guys like Dyson (he’s very cool over the phone too) for gathering information and keeping that history alive. It must drive today’s kayak designers mad to know that the best kayaks were built many many years ago.

“best” is relative at best. :wink:

I’d rather spent the time to build a baidarka than than spend $3000 for some brit expedition boat. But, I understand the merits for those who want $3000 brit boat.


“Best!” In my opinion
Nobody has to agree with me.

There You Go!
that’s all that matters, ultimately.


PS. Just want to short circuit folks who may feel the need to argue about it. It’s an opinion, a personal one.

Always wondered
why the Baidarka has only shown up as a boat in a very, very small niche market, with that market being skin on frame builders. Some have expressed it is designed to only work as a skin on frame, but some of the wood strippers by Laughing Loon and a stich and glue by Sheawater suggest it can be done as a hard shell. Others have expressed concern over it’s ability to handle being paddled backwards in certain conditions, but it does seem to have plenty of other strong attributes to make me wonder why you don’t see a few more of them. I believe a skin and frame double won the Blackburn a couple of years back against a very experienced team in a very competitive hardshell design.

Great video. It’s just been put closer to the top of my things to do list. Hmmm…maybe I’ll build one this winter.

Cool boat. The doubled bow is interesting.


Market Is Smaller Than “Small…”

– Last Updated: Dec-08-05 1:48 PM EST –

who is producing baidarkas (or other SOF for sales)? Superior Kayaks and Willow, maybe a couple of other smaller builders... The manufacturers couldn't care less. They aren't losing any remotely significant business to these builders. They more worry about each other.

Hard shell baidarka. Aside from using the name, Hutchinson's "Baidarka" is not. I believe a small company in Maine (? Mainestar) produced a boat called the Baidarka as well. Not sure how faithful to the design. A major component of the SOF design is the hinged keel line which, along with the bifurcated bow, softens the ride in rough seas (and can be readily seen in the video). Of course, speedsters will not like a frame that flex and loose energy transfer.

Racing, I believe a Greenland SOF was entered in the Blackburn last year. Did okay, maybe placed third. I don't recall hearing about a "win" by a SOF at any time since I've been paddling. Nick Shrade, in deed, has been urging more SOF paddlers to compete. His urging has yet to be met by many takers.


Wooden Boat magazine?
I thought it was there that I read the story on the building of one with a person who runs skin and frame classes (name slips me) and it was raced against Ken Fink and partner who were useing a tweaked out Necky double. I doubt I still have the magazine and probably have forgotten some of the details.

Maybe Mark Starr?

– Last Updated: Dec-08-05 2:25 PM EST –

Ken Fink is local and so is Mark Starr. Maybe him... That would be cool if they did win.


PS. Betcha if you post in kayakforums, Nick Shrade would know for sure. Seems he is involved in the Blackburn planning.

I thought the builder-instructor
operated out of New York (Adirondacks?) and I have no memory of the two who built it for the sole purpose to race.

Can be done - but not the same
No problem making a strip or other hardshell with Baidarka-like lines - but would no more be a Baidarka than my QCC is a “Qajaq”.

A large part of the ingenuity of the baidarka design is in it’s flexibility. This is not simply due to materials or limited construction ability/knowledge. The frame is purposefully designed to do so. It has a jointed keel, it traditionally has bone inserts for bearings in areas designed to slip, and other unique features. The whole thing a sort of living being. Can’t do that with a hardshell.

Take a look at some frames. There are quite a few pictures of the building process and finished frames around the Internet.

SOF racing issues
Build, or train? Few have time or resources for both.

Young or old? Most of the crafty set are older and less likely to be speed freaks. More likely in it for the project itself (some sort of Winter thing? L), or a rolling boat. The seniors who do race are often good (better technique) but I’ve yet to see one interested in building skin boats. Most of the younger fitness guys won’t slow down enough to build - and don’t want to be paddling some pre-carbon cloth relic.

Go to QajaqUSA and post a racing question. I can probably tell you every comment and anecdote (if any) you’ll get - and do it in one short paragraph:

“There are races in Greenland each year. Shorter and longer. One has portages”. “Once Maligiaq used a GP on a surf ski in Miami and beat guys with wing paddles”.

Seriously, that and the Blackburn SOF are about the extent of it. Despite the fact that the Greenlanders build boats specifically to race, no one can tell you how long the Greenland competition races are, or times of finishers (but to be fair that’s largely due to the relaxed Greenland spirit where 1st, 2nd, and 3rd are still going to the same people whether you know their times and distance or not - so why would it matter?).

Do they even hold races at larger SOF get togethers like SSTIKS or Delmarva? Even casual ones for fun? Guess I’ll go ask.

I get the impression that if I posted GPS verified speeds for a SOF on QajaqUSA I’d probably get philosophically flamed for not understanding the true spirit of the Inuit or some such nonsense! L I hope to do it anyway.

I also hear John Winters has a book in the works on the performance of various native watercraft? That I’d like to see.

Anyway, a very small number or paddlers are in the grey area in between and have interest in SOF and design/building. Sing could be a candidate as he builds and actually tours in his SOF - but he’s fully surf addicted and not into racing. I am (more interested than able in both areas) - but I’m just weird. People have mentioned it would be cool to see SOFs race before - and I agree - but the only way I’m likely to see it is to be it.

Gotta get around this rib bending issue first. Initial experiments last night are not looking good.

I wonder how it flexes with alum tubing
I would imagine if Dyson built and designed it he would’ve made sure it was very close. I’d sure like some more details on that method of building. I’m a tool & die CNC machinist so I wouldn’t have any trouble making those cool looking end pieces.

I have an itch to build another boat and this one I’d like to have replace my Caribou which I use on overnight trips. An SOF with bulkheads and some volume would fit the bill nicely.

I Have Dyson’s BIG (and Expensive)
Baidarka book. Haven’t read it in couple of years. I’ll have to take a look, if it’s in there, at how the joints are done.

But in terms of metal, from my semi biking days, if I remember correctly, aluminum has more flex in it than some other metals of similar size. Titanium is supposed to be the lightest and strongest but harder on the joints because the lack of flex. Seems like a similar concept/issue around efficient energy transfer vs being gentle on the body.


This might get you going

I have a small collection of tubing
from crashing gliders over the years and it would be nice to use some of it.

Thanks Sing,

Yeah I was looking at that book last night for $65 but I’m a bit hesitant until I’m sure I’ll build one.

Good Links!
here is a pic of the Dyson alum inspired framework:

No visible keel joints. Guess there is a reliance on the flex of the long alum tubes.