Bellyak Play Review

RPv16i1 Bellyak gloves“High five!”

Our neoprene-mitted hands slap in the air and we slither onto our boats—stoked to be our home river from a whole new angle. Paddling head-first on the Bellyak gives a whole new perspective to a familiar run.

Bellyak designer Adam Masters made his first lay-on-top kayak by chopping a playboat in half and filling it with foam—he wanted to add challenge to class III and IV runs by paddling prone. The idea caught on. Masters says most people picking up Bellyaks are hoping to spice up their home runs or try whitewater without the fear of being trapped in a kayak.

The boat feels incredibly stable and maneuverable as I start goofing around in current, and the fresh perspective puts the fun right in front of me. The full and rockered bow protects my head from oncoming rocks.

All the usual principles of whitewater apply: get some speed, hold your angle and if you don’t tilt into your turns, you’ll bite it.

When I first flopped onto the water I wondered why the neoprene paddling mitts that come with the Bellyak don’t have stiff plastic for more water grip, but I soon learned why they’re floppy…

 

 

RPv16i1-42

Click here to continue reading this review in the free digital edition of Rapid, Spring 2014, or download our free app for Apple or Android.

 

Bellyak Play 25 / 35 / 45

Length: 6’1” / 7”7” / 7’7”
Width: 20” / 24” / 25”
Volume: 25 / 35 / 45 GAL
Weight: 22 / 25 / 30 LBS
Paddler weight: 60-110 / 70-150 / 150-250 LBS
$550 USD

 

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