This Engineering Student Built His Kayak From Scratch—Here’s How (Video)

The recipe for success? Paper, plastic and some serious perseverance

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Engineering student Konrad Van Varseveld has never shied away from a good ol’ DIY challenge. After recently building a hydrospeed (a whitewater riverboard) out of an old whitewater creek boat shell, he decided to upcycle the kayak outfitting too. “I figured I could probably build a new kayak to put the outfitting in,” he said.

Determined to not let the idea fall into the draw of winter-projects-I’ll-never-get-to, the 20-something boater let these leftover, odd bits serve as kindling for his next upcycled creation.

Paying close attention to edge and rocker design, he assembled multiple paper prototypes until the pieces fit together seamlessly. Once he had found the winning combination, he traced the outlines onto high density polyethylene (HDPE) sheets before cutting them out and beginning the welding process. He then transplanted the cockpit rim from the dismantled creeker.

Van Varseveld took the new kayak for a test ride down his local class III run. He bumped a few rocks, hit a few boofs, and yet the homemade kayak endured. “My first kayak project went well, but after hiking five laps of the pink mountain wave without catching it, I decided to build a faster boat.

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