T wo years ago, we reviewed the original Oru Kayak, an award-winning marvel of engineering from California architect, designer and paddler Anton Willis and partner Ardy Sobhani.
The name Oru comes from origami, the traditional Japanese art form that inspired this novel folding kayak’s design. Launched in 2012 through a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, the Oru was funded in its first day on the popular crowdfunding site. The pair ultimately went on to pre-sell more than 500 boats, raising $444,000 towards their production facility near San Francisco Bay. Less than three years later, they were at it again with a new Kickstarter sensation: the Coast, a 16-foot model aimed at avid touring kayakers.
Like its predecessor, the Coast exceeded its $40,000 fundraising goal in the first eight hours, and garnered over $356,000 before the campaign closed. The new boat hit the water late last year, with its model upgrade, the Coast+, shipping early 2016. Together with the original, 12-foot Oru—rebranded as the Bay and premium Bay+—and the new Beach, a stable recreational kayak aimed at beginners, the Oru range now includes five distinct models.
Practice assembly and disassembly at home before hitting the trail. Deciphering the origami can be confusing for first-timers and requires a specific sequence that penalizes missed steps with back-to-the-beginning frustrations.
After a few practice runs, we had assembly down to the advertised 10 minutes. This also helps wear in the creases—they develop memory from repeated folding, so set-up and teardown become easier with use.
Use bow and stern flotation bags (or pack the ends with dry bags) when heading into open water. Oru’s bulkheads only provide rigidity to the hull, they don’t seal out water.
Length: 16 ft
Width: 25 in
Weight: 31 lbs
Max. Capacity: 400 lbs
Price: $1,975 www.orukayak.com
This article was originally published in Adventure Kayak, Volume 16 • Issue 3. Read this issue.