Pimp Your Ride: Kayak Personalization | Adventure Kayak Magazine | Rapid Media
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Pimp Your Ride: Kayak Personalization Photo: Alan Hughes

Kayak builders sell self-expression on the side

The latest in sea kayak design has nothing to do with performance. Instead it takes its roots from platinum rims, subwoofers, lowrider suspension and MTV, and follows a trend set by surfers, mountain bikers and skiers.

British filmmaker and paddler Justine Curgenven was among the first to paddle a sea kayak with custom artwork. She’s become as well known for her leopard print kayak as she is for her This is the Sea series of sea kayaking films.

“I thought about different colour
schemes but couldn’t think of a combination that no one else had,” says 
Curgenven. “The leopard-skin idea just popped into my head and wouldn’t go away.”

Curgenven gave her design ideas to Scott Divine, the production manager at Nigel Dennis Kayaks (now sea kayaking UK), who eventually mixed the gel coat for the leopard-skin kayak.

Nigel Dennis was a tougher sell. “At first he threatened to draw an arsehole along with the leopard spots,” says Curgenven.
But the tide has changed. This year Dennis has teamed up with artist Richard Perkins and has made all sea kayaking UK boats available with custom paint. Dennis says the option can increase the boat’s price tag by as much as 50 per cent.


THE TREND THAT'S HERE TO STAY

Sea Kayaking USA isn’t the only British manufacturer offering custom graphics. Both P&H and Rockpool kayaks list deck art options. But Nigel Dennis is the only manufacturer with an in-house artist. The trend hasn’t taken off on this side of the pond, although Canada-based Seaward Kayaks boasts over 600,000 colour combinations, as well as splatter and fade finishes and optional airbrush graphics.

Curgenven says the only drawback of custom artwork is a few extra pounds due to extra gelcoat. She thinks the trend is here to stay. Watch for a new tiger stripe Romany in her upcoming films. 

This article on kayak personalization was published in the Summer 2007 issue of Adventure Kayak magazine.This article first appeared in the Summer 2007 issue of Adventure Kayak Magazine. For more great content, subscribe to Adventure Kayak's print and digital editions here.

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