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Skin-on-Frame Surfyak ('sofistry') - Design / Build


Paddler & Moderator
May 15, 2005
I indulge myself by sketching about this kayaking hobby as I commute to work each day. It is a real true and personal adventure for me to come up with an idea and then sometimes to see if it really can work out to something that I enjoy to touch, look at and use.

One of the skin on frame kayaks that I have come back to sketching every now and again over the past few years is a surf specific kayak. A specific type anything has tightish specifications and so the real challenge here is to see if generally traditional skin on frame techniques combined with some strong aesthetic desires combined with a tight program can be entwined to produce some sort of a powerful result.


A process of sorts will be documented in the Boat/Accessory Building section ( http://www.westcoastpaddler.com/buildin ... .php?cat=2 ) for you to sequentially follow along the disjointed path. If you have questions or comments, feel free to post them in this thread – but I cannot promise that acceptable replies will or can be given as I sure do not know all the answers yet!

But there is purpose, and there is drive and there is vision. And there surely is an intention to have some fun along the way . . . . .


Heya Mick,
Not only are you an artist and visionary but it would seem you are a wordsmith as well 8O :D

Good luck mate, I am real interested in this one and will be following you progress closely.
actually hairy, as in all things, i think it is really all your fault!

your great work ethic of getting results in a short time, cannot help but be inspiring. so sewing together a few sticks and some fabric has just gotta be achievable!

Heya Mick,

Is there a particular reason you are going skin on frame with this one.

Looking at your deck lines, I thin it would be achievable in S&G or even better, as a stripper.

I have played in the surf all my life and something like this has got me real interested.

What does the bottom look like?
Is there a particular reason you are going skin on frame

yes - because it is an unlikely and difficult method and has never been done before to achieve this result. The starting point is skin on frame - everything else flows from there.

I think it would be achievable in S&G or even better, as a stripper

undoubtedly true. here's an example of a s&g surfing kayak that i recently built a model (1/4 size) of:


the sof bottom is dead flat (as can be with 5 stringers plus 2 rails) - wide at the back, getting more rounded to the front.
8O 8O

I love the hard rails at the back. Are ya running & turning on the rails or relying on a fin/skeg arrangement.

Is there enough volume in the stern? Certainly enough when playing on a wave, just wondering about paddle-ability.
which kayak? - heh heh

surfeit has enough tail volume to float the way i want it with me on board - but as drawn and modelled there will surely be difficulty getting out thru waves - will get flipped backward all the time. i like the lines, but the 1st modification would be to add some volume back there.

and both of them have hard rails (for surfeit - the 'lr' stands for 'long rail' - implying 'mr' and 'sr') but will have differing fin/skeg arrangements. no further comment on surfeit, but the 1st run at sofistry will be one fin ea side.
on retractable skeg/fin.......

i've had a thought about how to make a retractable, internal skeg box that i think has some merit.

there would be two boxes for each skeg. an outer casing into which the actual skeg box fits, with the skin between the two. like this, the outer casing is hard mounted to the inside surface of the rail. after skinning, but before sealing, the skin is cut and turned up and attached to the inside of the lower edge of the outer casing. the skin is then sealed. after curing the actual skeg box slides up into the casing and is anchored in place (somehow). this would allow for removal of the entire skeg box for service/repair.

on retractable skeg/fin.......

interesting ideas. but 2 or 4 retractables might get a little complicated and difficult.

i think we gotta go with a simple butt insertion on the water approach. that way, more scope.
Just checked out the recent photos/drawings -- very cool stuff Mick. I can hardly wait to see the construction photos.

Thanks Dan, I'm just having too much fun looking at the swooping rails on the forms! - but i'll try to put a few pics up tonite or tomorrow.

oh oh!! getting wwaaay too careless with clamping incorrectly results in an unwelcome split in the bow block!!


there is space for the block to be quite a bit thicker - i should have put it in from the start, but will add it now. (I'll glue up the split and see if it seems ok)

Wow, that's one very interesting looking boat you have there Mick. And quite an interesting read through your progress. Thanks.
thanks, iwanna . . .

i just completed laying up the 2nd stringer #3 tonite. I musta spent about 15 minutes after clampup just looking an laughing at the interesting shapes that this kayak has become. Tomorrow, i'll strip off the clamps and take a progress pic for all- i am stoked.