Aleutian baidarka

The first Europeans who came to Alaska were the Russians. They called the kayaks they saw there "baidarka", which is Russian for "little skin boat". Today we also rather call them "iqyax" - which is the Alaskan native (Unangan) language's word for "kayak". The types we build here are typical of the kayaks used on the Aleutian Islands. They're good all-around travel kayaks with a large volume that makes them well suited for long trips. Some people dislike their appearance, but the more one gets to know its abilities, the more beautiful it seems. It's seaworthy, stable and fast. Additionally, it has lots of space for packing equipment, good surfing abilities and a high top speed. The latter is due to features such as the long waterline.

The special stern of the baidarka is a traditional detail. They help to increase the waterline length with a sharp beginning and end. At the same time, both the bow and the stern have enough updraft to avoid being weighed too far down. The bow can be split or whole. The appearance will be different but without any noticeable change in the kayak's behaviour. Both variants are known from the original kayaks. The weight is low and can be even lower if it is covered with nylon/polyester fabric. The cockpit size varies, and will always be tailored to the person who is going to use the kayak. They can be tiny or really large or the needed size in between.

Hatches are a good option if you wish to do kayak touring and need to bring luggage. However, luggage can also be stowed through the cockpit. If you take a building class, hatches will be an option you can choose. Hatches can also be added later if the demand should arise. I always recommend standard deck rigging. That will enable you to do easy self-rescues with your paddles as outriggers. If you want to paddle on deep water, the sea sock is mandatory. It makes your kayak stay afloat if you exit it after a capsize. Even better than bulkheads do in modern sea kayaks. Rigging and sea sock are always included in custom-built kayaks and are also included in the kayak building classes.