Do you know who built your kayak?

If You Get an NC Kayak…

In a world where manufacturing is increasingly automated, each NC Kayak is hand-built in the Northwest, by just two people. We build every fiberglass part of each custom kayak by hand: we spray the gel coat, then we lay the glass using brushes, rollers and squeegees. We’re also the crew that assembles the kayak, adds the finishing touches, and even packs it for shipping if it’s heading across the country. So when you buy an NC Kayak, Travis and Mark made it – every kayak that leaves our shop was built by the two of us… and our combined decades of experience.

Lime to yellow fade with silver metal flake

We are Passionate about our Kayaks

We inspect every part we build, checking for any imperfections. Once we are satisfied with each piece of the kayak, it’s time for assembly. And we continue to inspect the kayak as it comes together. After we have completed all the finishing, we go over the kayak with a critical eye – looking for the smallest thing that seems out of place. If we find anything, we address it. We clean it, polish it, or fix it. If we can’t fix it, we build it again. We pride ourselves on quality construction and creating an outstanding finished kayak.

A custom color kayak with custom color decals

When we are building a custom kayak, we are building it for someone, not a hypothetical “someone”, but a real, live person with a name. During the build process, we refer to the kayak by the name of the person we’re building it for. This person has chosen the colors we use for the deck, seat, and coaming (and sometimes even the hull). They also selected black or white reflective decals, or sometimes opt to pay a bit extra for customized decal colors or shapes. But it’s not just that the kayak is personalized – it’s also personal to us. In the craftsman tradition, we hand-craft every aspect of the finished kayak, spending an average of 2-3 weeks on each. We know the ins-and-outs of each build, and pour ourselves into the details. We know each kayak personally.

We Don’t do One Size Fits All

I’m above average in height and weight. I’ve found that a lot of the world doesn’t work well for me. In the 1950s, the then-new US Air Force noticed an uptick in the number of pilot caused accidents in their planes. At the time, the cockpits of their planes were based on the average size of the pilots from 1926. Americans had gotten taller since then, so it was time to make a new average. Fortunately for the Air Force, a Lt. Gilbert S. Daniels showed them the Flaw of Averages. He averaged the data from 4,063 pilots and then decided to see how many were actually average, based on the 10 physical dimensions believed to be most relevant for the design of the new cockpit. The answer might surprise you… it was zero. If you want to design something for an individual human being, the average is useless.

Building a Custom Kayak

As part of the ordering process, we ask you for your dominant hand and your inseam measurement. You may wonder what we could possibly want with those pieces of information. When we’re building for an individual, it makes a difference. Our aft hatch is a hinged oval, so the lid will flip open towards the port or starboard side of the kayak. Most people prefer to use their dominant hand when loading or unloading a kayak. So we install the hatch to be the most comfortable and efficient for you. And the inseam? Our foot braces are adjustable, but have a limited range. We base their placement on your inseam measurement to position the foot braces where they will be most effective for you.

Custom Robin’s Egg Blue NC19 with an aft hatch optimized for a left-handed paddler

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Since every NC Kayak is handmade, no two are the same. If you want to paddle one of our kayaks, you can schedule a demo here. I have several kayaks that I use for demos: some for taller paddlers, some if you are not so tall. If you want to paddle a kayak that was made specifically for you, it will take a little time, but we can help with that, too.


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