Artist: A Playful Sea Kayak

ArtistThe Artist is a boat I designed for ease of rolling, surfing, carving tight turns and other playful on-the-water freestyle paddling arts.  It is 15' 10" long and 22.5" wide, shallow-arch shaped hull and substantial rocker.  

It is my own design, but heavily influenced by  Valley Sea Kayaks' Avocet and Nigel Dennis' Romany.  The Artist is  2" shorter than the Avocet and Romany, though it has an identical waterline length.  The length was reduced 2" by having a less extreme pointy bow, but it still has plenty of reserve buoyancy.  The Artist is also 1/2" wider than the Avocet.  The extra width increases the volume at the sides, so that when edged the bow and stern pick up out of the water even more, helping it to spin easier.  

Captain John in the Artist; First trip out!
Great secondary stability.The designed displacement is approximately 210 pounds, so it performs well with a paddler and gear weight between 140 and 200 pounds.

It has a lot of reserve buoyancy in the bow and stern.

All the comforts!The sheer line give an idea of the rockerThe interior of the cockpit is outfitted with under-deck shock cords to hold a pump or gear bag, surface-mounted Yakima footbraces, a shock cord loop to hold a sponge on the side near my thigh, and foam.

A simple, effective backrest.The backrest is made 1/8" thin hobby plywood backed by a layer of carbon and fiberglass.  It is mounted using only one strap to the hip plates and a shock cord loop to the underside of the deck behind the cockpit.   Several of my kayaks have evolved to this simple backrest design that leans back easy for rolling, and does not get in the way during on-the-water reentries.

The deck rigging includes a paddle park on the side of the cockpit.  Shock cords on deck are attached through simple tight holes in front of the cockpit, and webbing loops on the stern deck.


After paddling this kayak twice on open water, I decided to add a maneuverable skeg to help tracking in high winds.  After extensively  searching the web and looking at a few friends' boats and searching the web, I built a skeg as detailed on my Skeg Page.

I was pleased to see that a 2-piece euro-style paddle still fits inside the stern hatch, with one paddle blade on each side of the skeg box! 

The finished weight of this kayak is 37 pounds.

My Second Artist Kayak

I make mistakes and see possible improvements on every kayak.  After paddling my Artist for a while, I wished I had lowered the front of the cockpit and front deck cockpit area one more inch to increase the "Greenland" look and allow lower paddling strokes, and made the tracking slightly stronger while retaining the  playful feel.  In early 2008 I built a second 'Artist' with these changes.  Here are a few photos of the refined Artist.  It is an awesome rough water play boat!

Artist Carves Turns Nicely
On Caddo Lake Julie
Top View Moderate Rocker

To see how I incorporated design concepts from existing kayaks, I invite you to check out my page  Taking Lines from Existing Kayaks.   


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Created January 25, 2007