Wednesday, February 27, 2013

If a tree falls in the forest...can graphics make a sea kayak look even cooler?

Yesterday, on the "secret" beach (it's not always there)
on Saltspring Island.
If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one around to hear it, does it make a sound? Hmm. Can something exist if it's not perceived? A very interesting philosophical "thought experiment" indeed!

Let's try another one, and make it a little easier. If a sea kayak already looks cool, and you add graphics from "Art and Sea" in Oban, Scotland...does it look even cooler?

The answer: Yes.

Do these graphics improve the hydrodynamic and hydrostatic behaviour of the kayak hull in a variety of wave conditions? Well, I'm not an engineer but, yeah, pretty sure they do. How about kayak form coefficients? Improvement there? Of course, totally!

OK, so this little story began back last fall, in Scotland. I was trying to find a couple of good quality decals of a Celtic knot to apply to my Atlantis Spartan VI kayak. Alas, it seemed there were none to be found that were the right size and anywhere near durable enough to place on the kayak hull. After returning to Canada, I asked the question of other sea kayaking bloggers, "Any ideas?" Within hours, Sarah, from Sarah's Soggy Scenarios had the answer. She suggested checking out "Art and Sea" in Oban, on Scotland's wild, west coast. Perfect, thanks Sarah. (As it turned out, we had spent a week there but didn't think to look - too busy looking enviously out to sea as other kayakers enjoyed the magnificent local waters.)

"Maori Circle", on the bow.
After visiting the "Art and Sea" website, I knew our search was over. Leonie, a sea kayaker herself and fine arts graduate, operates the business and has already won awards from the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust - pretty impressive! As you'll find, Leonie has an amazing selection of high quality vinyl graphics at an excellent price - in lots of categories.

"Celtic Triangle Knot", on the stern.
"Celtic Waves", amidships.
A third Celtic knot on the front deck, and another small addition...
..."Bratach rìoghail na h-Alba"
Even the Royal Canadian Navy / Marine Royal Canadienne
cruised by, just to inspect the new graphics!
The crew of the Orca Patrol Craft Training Vessel 61,
gathered on deck at the stern, giving the "thumbs up"! 
Packing up...
...but back again soon.
So, can graphics on a kayak really improve hydrodynamics, hydrostatics, and form coefficients? Well maybe not, but they sure do look cool.

As for "the tree that falls in the forest", hmm, still working on that one. :)



  1. They look great! Certainly adds some personality to your kayak.
    As for the tree... I think it does. :)

  2. Glad to see the recommendation was worth it - and looks really great!

  3. Hi L, thanks for that. I thought for sure that you'd take issue with the "form coefficients" - not that I have much of a clue about what they are. Haha. D.

    Thanks again, Sarah. It's cool how these connections can make things happen. Best wishes from Joan and I.

  4. Hi D.
    The Kayak sure looks spiffy. I guess some people deck out their cars, why not kayaks too. Didn't realize you were that fussy. LOL

  5. Hi J, thanks for coming by. "Fussy" eh? "Showing excessive or anxious concern about detail". Um, yeah, sometimes...I guess. D.

  6. Hi Duncan & Joan,

    Robyn and I adorn our rides with our personal touches not only to identify them as our but to commemorate our kayak adventure. Robyn has raccoon decal footprints on her's as we woke up one morning on Portland Island to muddy little feet all over her kayak.

    They sure get lots of comments too!


  7. Hi Andy, glad you like them. As you will well imagine, the handling characteristics of the kayak are now even better with the new graphics applied. :) Nice to hear from you. D.

    Hi Mark, I've been admiring yours. We have a close connection to our boats (literally) and there's something kind of nice about them being an extension of the paddler (again, literally). Thanks for coming by and for your comment. D.