Since introducing its first folding kayak in 2012, San Francisco startup Oru Kayak has been growing its lineup with modestly evolving origami-inspired kayaks like the Bay+. Its latest is the all-new Beach, a 12-foot (3.7-m) model designed for super-quick set-up and stable paddling.
Given that folding kayaks date back about as far as commercial recreational kayaks in general, Oru didn't innovate the idea. However, its slick pre-folded, self-packing design has earned plenty of attention and acclaim since its introduction, including 2014 ISPO Product of the Year and BrandNew honors.
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Like the Bay+, the newly introduced Beach is a very modest update of the original Oru design. The Beach is designed for beginners and offers a wider, 28-in (71 cm, vs the 25-in/64-cm Bay) beam for added stability. It also includes an extra-large cockpit, and Oru says that the Beach sets up quicker than the standard Bay, taking about three minutes to go from bag to boat.
"In the last few years, customers have requested a more stable, casual usage kayak," explains Oru founder and chief designer Anton Willis. "In thinking about how to accomplish this, I went back to where it all started and my first origami paper models – they were so pure and simple in their design. The Beach is pure origami. Lots of the solid parts on our previous model have been stripped away, and we refined the details to be as clean and elegant as possible."
As a not-particularly-graceful paddler who has firsthand experience with the balance plight of the kayaking noob, I can say without reservation that extra stability should be a welcome addition to any entry level kayak.
The Oru Beach will officially hit the market on March 1 and is currently being offered for preorder on REI. With an US$1,175 MSRP, it's $100 cheaper than the Bay.
Since the last time we looked at Oru, the company has also launched the 16-foot (4.9-m) Coast and Coast+ models aimed at sea touring. It also offers kayak packages with ElectraFin motor drives, giving urban paddlers yet another option when enjoying the water.
Source: Oru KayakView gallery - 4 images