hypothetical sea kayak

I’m thinking of an ultra cheap roto sea kayak.

16 ft x 22 inches or whatever. We can figure out specs later.

Ultra spartan: no bulkheads, no hatch covers, no seat, no deck rigging, no deck fittings, no skeg, no rudder, no foot pegs…

I mean, many folks remove/replace all that stuff themselves on high end models anyway.

This is a totally DIY outfitted boat so that all you are paying for a hunk of plastic.

So, like, you get this thing shipped to you direct from the mold and you cut out the cockpit and dial in the outfitting however you want with whatver you want.

The main thing is it costs something like $500

I like the sound of this.

You would get the deck and hull as two separate pieces (easy to work on the insides, but then you have to do the seam yourself) or already joined (opposite tradeoff)?


roto one piece
Rotomolded boats have no seam (except a sort of false seam where the mold comes together).

Personally I think there would be a very very small market for a boat that requires that much work. And I wonder if it would even be much cheaper to finish it yourself after you bought all the outfitting and rigging. The manufacturers probably pay a lot less than you or I per unit for 10,000 deck fittings, 10,000 feet of bungee, 1000 seats, minicell foam, etc.

I like doing things myself, but sometimes it doesn’t make sense. This might be one of those times.

Why not just build a boat?
You can choose a stitch-&-glue or strip design that you like or make a skin-on-frame boat to fit you. Either way, it’s considerably cheaper than your $500 target and you’ll end up with a better boat.

Sell 500 of them and you might recoup the cost of the mold.

Just build a boat …or go used.
If price is your object just go buy a used plastic boat.

By the time you finish and outfit a plastic shell you are going to spend a fair amount of money, also the bulkheads in a plastic boat give the boat stiffness and support, a plastic shell would collapse easily unless you put in internal bracing which is going to drive the weight and the cost up. Cutting and finishing a cockpit is not going to work for the rim to seat a skirt.

I wonder if you could build a 16’ boat using the foam and glass and dissolve method. It works on 8’ surf boats, you would have to buy a lot of acetone and foam for 16’, so the cost would be high once you buy the epoxy and glass.

good suggestions
Cost-wise; like i said this is hypothetical. This wouldn’t be profitable for some time, and maybe never.

Yes, of course the market for this is tiny; DIY paddlers who have the will and resources for the job.

Personally i’d be psyched! I’d carve out a foam seat, throw some float bags in there and let er rip. I’ve got all kinds of cord and bungy lying around. I’d take the foot pegs off an old boat i don’t use anymore… you see where i’m going with this.

I envision this as a fun day play boat for experienced paddlers. Surfing, day paddling, rock gardens, rolling, trashing. Hence the plastic construction.

Call it the Pnut special.

Pnut shells

whoooooo! yes!

what about the variables
LV? HV? rockered? hard or soft chined? etc…

would be hard to produce just one hull that would satisfy many

how about a used boat… good deals are out there, check this one out:



Not sure it’s a savings
Dealing with plastic, that is adding rigging and figuring bulkheads, rigging, gets you into maybe plastic welding or a at least epoxy work that might be pretty time consuming and require fussy materials. Building a stitch and glue can be done with a process that is already well worked out, the boat is lighter, and can be better customized.

So - I am not sure where there are advantages to this idea.

ok ok
How about you choose your items a la carte.

Oh, you want a seat? Sure another $100

And what’s that? Some deck rigging? Ok $50.

We’ll ship em to you in a bag and you bolt em on.

We’ll work some LV and HV models in there as we go.

So maybe we morph from ultra cheap to middle of the road price for a fully outfitted boat but you save money by installing everything yourself.

more appealing?

Could happen…
If you lived near a kayak injection mold plant. They might sell you a shell. They just wouldn’t want to ship it since they sell to dealers.

You would need to know the hull and like the one that’s available and near enough for you to make the drive.

BTW: I know that most 1st time kayak buyers buy based on cockpit comfort more than anything. If the seat hurts, they are not buying it. That’s why dealers spend so much time adjusting things for them.

2nd an 3rd time buyers want the boat to perform as they want - plus comfort if possible.

cool, didn’t know that
So I guess I’m missing something, but how do they install the fittings that are way down near the ends?


let me clarify
I’m talking about this as an idea for a kayak manufacturer. I don’t need to buy a boat for myself right now.

I’m in my early thirties and after fifteen years paddling and in the kayak biz i get little ideas on how to do things differently.

If I was going to blow $500
I wouldn’t spend it on a boat I had to outfit myself.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for this. Couple of things, one roto molds are wildly expensive, if there’s not at least a reasonable demand no one will invest that amount of money in it. Kidding yourself that you’ll pay for the mold with 500 boats. Also any decent builder isn’t going to sell you a pile of parts with no control about how they are assembled, get some hack that puts it together sloppy and runs around and shows everyone what the builder’s boats are like, not happening.

Bill H.

what you’re suggesting
is a hypothetical business model that won’t make the business any money because people who want a kayak buy a kayak and people who want to build a kayak will build a kayak. Getting a partially built rotomolded kayak is like going to a restaurant and the server moving you to the alley near the kitchen where you can cook and eat your meal at half price.

What you want is a used Wilderness Systems Alto for $300.

What is wrong with the old Perception Dancer? - it is exactly what OP has in mind - no bulkheads, no hatches, no rigging, outfitting that only a true DIY-er would love. Oh, it also handles like nothing being sold today, so there is the “boutique” approach that someone might go for.