The first Europeans who came to Alaska were the Russians. They called the kayaks they saw there "baidarka", which is Russian for "little skin boat".
The types we build here are typical of the kayaks used on the Aleutian islands. They're good all-round travel kayaks with a large volume that makes them well suited for long trips. Some people dislike their appearance, but the more one gets to know their abilities, the more beautiful they seem.
It's seaworthy, stable and fast. Additionally, it has lots of space for packing equipment, good surfing abilities and a high top speed. The latter is due to features such as the long waterline.
The special stern of the baidarka is a traditional detail. It helps to increase the waterline length with a sharp beginning and end. At the same time, both the bow and the stern have enough updrift to avoid being weighed too far down. The bow can be split or whole. The appearance will be different, but without any noticeable change in the kayak's behavior. Both variants are known from the original kayaks.
Jan Pedersen from Stockholm writes after a baidarka building course:
On Saturday I had my first paddling trip with the baidarka. What a wonderful experience and what a fantastic kayak to paddle. It was very easy to turn by leaning, and it went like a spear with excellent contact with the water. It behaved almost like a Greenland kayak. I also tried to paddle it against the wind and in larger waves, and it was such a baidarka with all its characteristics and clearly outclassed my fiberglass kayak (Greenland model) even though it's not yet sanded or painted (which I'm working on now).
Baidarkas may look different, according to historical periods and local variations. The Baidarka below is a replica of an Aleutian baidarka from 1850.
A new apprentice!
This is the blog of my new apprentice: Here:
A video clip from last summers great baidarka adventure:here
A video from a kayak building class this winter:here
The course calendar has been updated. Check out this year's kayak building classes:here
New, and well illustrated presentation of our beautiful new paddle types! More.