-- Last Updated: Apr-26-13 8:15 AM EST --

Can somebody tell me that Gun Whale in Kayak really exist?If you do, tell me why it is called Gun whale if I'm not mistaken. My lecturer told me to find out how Gun Whale got it name. In Malaysia, we call gun whale, that represent the line at the side of Kayak. Share your opinion. Thank you.

gun wale
It is actually gunwale rather than gunwhale which some contract to “gunnel”.

A wale was a term used for a plank or board and a gun wale was a platform used to mount guns on the side of an open boat or deck of a ship.

The closest thing to a gunwale on a conventional kayak would be the structural element surrounding the open cockpit, but that is called the coaming.

Some kayaks have a gunwale like strip of wood running along the seam between the deck and the hull, but that is typically called a rub rail.

useless trivia …
“wale” or “waler” is still used in the shoring biz to describe longitudinal strengthening members

On a traditional skin-on-frame, the “gunwale boards” are the main structural element of the kayak, forming the upper sides of the kayak. The boards are usually canted at an angle, and this causes the ends of the kayak to rise once the boards are spread apart. The deck beams attach near the top of the gunwales and the ribs attach beneath.

On a composite kayak, the gunwale refers to the same area of the kayak (just beneath the deck seam), but other than some tape for the deck seam, there is usually not a separate structural element.

Greg Stamer