Bellyak Kayaks - whitewater playboats,the innovative design can handle most class II and III rapids
Kayak Manufacturer - specializing in kayaks, equipment and accessories
Models are designed with a planing hull, much like a kayak, all providing a responsive ride and good maneuverability with secure riding area
All-rounder comfortable series of boats with stable hull provides an exciting and intuitive ride for beginners or experienced.
3 models 25,35 and 45 High performance hull and low volume stern boat for whitewater action, boat designed to play every feature of the river.
The Frequwncy - stable and comfortable, 170L volume @flow series kayaks for
outfitters, rental programs and new whitewater riders and Smaller 135,5 L the Play series for experianced kayakers offered in 3 models for every paddler.
Learn more about the innovative Bellyak design "the idea of bodyboating" and "a line between the sports of kayaking and riverboarding"
A New Breed of Human-Powered Whitewater
Bellyak combines kayak and riverboard into a new exciting water sport
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is for everyone
Not just the whitewater crowd, but any fitness or outdoor enthusiast looking to dip a toe into the exciting waters of a brand new sport.
That's why cre- ator Adam Masters, son of Perception Kayaks founder Bill Masters, is trying to get as many people into his boats as he can. And he's doing it now before the company's debut at this year's Outdoor Retailer Summer Market by seeding his product all around the riverways of the American southeast. But what exactly is a Bellyak?
On a Bellyak, paddlers can navigate class II and III rapids with the speed and glide of a kayak. So, the Bellyak is like a kayak. But the Bellyak isn't a kayak because the paddler is not trapped in the boat with a spray skirt and paddle and the boat doesn't take on water when overturned. On a Bellyak, paddlers tackle rapids lying face-first on their bellies. So, the Bellyak is like a riverboard. But the Bellyak isn't a riverboard because it's propelled by the arms rather than the legs. As Adam puts it: "A riverboard is rearwheel drwe whereas the Bellyak is front-wheel drive."
Part kayak and part riverboard, the Bellyak was conceived in the laboratory of Adam's bactyard creek using carved-up kayaks, sealant foam and duct tape. He wanted to create something accessible to as many people as possible while making a class II or III rapid feel like a class V thrill. So for almost two years he devoted between 20-30 hours a week on top of his regular day job to cast prototypes out of th e inside of old teyaks and tinker with various hull designs and tody-board interfaces. The work was tough but all the sweat and labor was forgotten as soon as he hit the water with the product.
"tou don't remember any of the difficulty or hard work as soon as you get a prototype in the water and paddle it down the rwer Somehow that magicalfy erases the memory of all the hard work." The thrill is due as much to rushing quite literally headbng down a rapid as it is to taking part in a brand new sport, no doubt. More than just blazing a line between the sports of kayaking and riverboarding, the Bellyak brings with it a whole new sport Adam dubs "bodyboating."
A NEW CATEGORY
Excited to usher in a new category of watersport and open whitewater up to a whole new crowd of people it's otherwise been inaccessible to, Adam takes a cue from his old man. Bill Masters grew Perception Kayaks by fostering the development of kayaking as a sport and Adam intends to act in kind with bodytoating. "My dad's idea was to develop the sport of kayaking. In helping the sport grow, the business also grew. So my plan is to grow th e awareness of the sport in order to sell my products."
Adam will start growing awareness try getting people into the Bellyak to test it out and see it in action. The plan is to seed the first 100 orso boats with dealers and paddlers in different areas. Being a hotbed of paddling, the local rwers around North Carolina are obi/bus targets, but the next step is West Virginia, Maryland and in the future points further west. The first wave of boats sent out will make appearances at kayaking schools, rental programs and local rwer events such as last month's French Broad Rwer Festwal. "We have a couple-pronged marketing approach, but our biggest one is just 'social' presence at events. It's one thing to hear about it and another to be in a place where you can see it and try it."
Indeed, the idea of bodyboating came to Adam in part from having been out on the water with his wife Anna. While he'd been a kayaker since h is wee years, sh e had not. Venturing out on the river in their kayaks he found she had trouble keeping up. In a blog Anna ad- mits to bein g intim idated by the steep learnin g curve of kayaking. & Adam resoled to create something she could enjoy, so that they could enjoy wh it ewater together. One of the big selling points of the Bellyak is precisely that it is so accessible, Adam says: "We've gone to demos where people would come up and say I want to try kayaking, but I don't want to be trapped in the boat. And they see my product and they're like oh wow and they just jump into it and have a great time." Adam is quick to point out however that the Bellyak is not meant to displace the kayak or the riverboard. "We're not trying to replace any other industry or anything like that. We're just opening up a new way of going down a rwer that makes whitewater incredibly fun." In fact, "opening up" is perhaps a very apt way to put it as he has gotten positwe response from competrtive swimmers, triathletes and all manner of others who aren't necessarily the whitewater crowd but are into fitness and the outdoors. One of the upcoming Bellyak products, the Play boat, wen has potential in coastal mar- kets with its versatility in the surf.
MAKING A DEBUT
Debuting at this year's upcoming Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, Bellyak will offer two models of boats. The all-around rwer runner version dubbed the Frequency, which Adam describes as the creekboat version of the line, and the shorter Play boat for playing in white- water or ocean surf alike. Production will be up and running and ready for orders by th en. Observing that some paddlers are already inventing new tricks, some even standing up to try to surf the Bellyak, Adam Icoks beyond th e un wersal appeal of the sport and th e product to a more technical product offering in the future.
"We're just opening up a new way of going down a river"
" I think the sky's the lim it as far as th e body interface with the boat and the hull design. I have several models already planned for the future based on testing I've already done." Adam sees body boating as being an inter- national sport. Indeed should the sport rise to meet his aspirations we may very well be seeing whitewater athletes and outdoor rec- reation ists toting Bellyak boats into the rivers of Europe, South America or Asia. But for now he boks with excitement to the OR Summer Market and to the sport's proving grounds in the bcal riverwaysof the American southeast. "Once I get it into the hands of some 20-year old adrenaline junkie who just wants to paddle all the time, the sky's the lim it."