Local woman on team that created nesting kayak

Stories and great ideas have several beginnings. For the Pakayak, a kayak that can be assembled and disassembled in minutes, the story begins for Milford resident Day Moore more than four years ago when her wooden kayak suffered a mishap and broke. Her friend Doug Mackro, who had a concept for a packable, easily transported kayak, asked if he could have her broken craft.

She said “yes,” and he took it and put it back together in sections: Thus the concept for the Pakayak started to evolve.

Moore is one of four partners trying to get the Pakayak off the ground, or rather in production, with a Kickstarter campaign that aims to raise just over $427,000 by July 26. With $335,000 raised as of Thursday, the group is hoping for another $100,000 in the next five days.

The partners have designed and prototyped their first product, the Bluefin 14, a hard-shell 14-foot touring kayak that can be broken down and nested within itself to a size of only 3.5 feet, the company website states. At that size, and weighing about 55 pounds, the kayak can easily be stored and transported.

Lugging a kayak to the water can be a chore, so packable kayaks have been around for some time, explained Moore, an avid kayaker. But she said other portables come with their own kind of limitation. For example, some take an hour and a half to assemble.

But the kayak that her team has created goes together fast, relying on a patented nesting and clamping system that is watertight and creates a sleek, efficient vessel, she said.

“It’s a performance kayak first, and it happens to pack down to 3.5 feet,” Moore said.

Phil Miller, another member of the team, described the design in layman’s terms. The sections of this rigid hull kayak go together sort of like nesting Russian dolls. The sections have a tongue and groove design and a silicone foam gasket. When the pieces are ‘nested’ together, and the clamps closed, the tongue is pushed down into the foam gasket that is set inside the groove, creating a waterproof connection.

The Pakayak Bluefin 14 is composed of six interconnecting sections: It has two watertight hatches, watertight bulkheads, a padded folding seat, and more, according to the company website, pakayak.com.

The kayak has gotten positive reviews from Outside Magazine and Gear Junkie.

Outside Online wrote, “Beach launches through surf are always a challenge. But the Pakayak made timing the docile waves of Diver’s Cove in SoCal’s Laguna Beach pretty easy. In fact, I had so much confidence just looking at this thing that I always expected it to work.”

From the GearJunkie review: “During my 6+ hour test on a river in Connecticut and on the choppy Long Island Sound, I kept experiencing two opposing disbeliefs: When I saw the kayak all packed up, I couldn’t believe the unit becomes an efficient, floating boat. Conversely, when I was on the water, I couldn’t believe I was paddling in a sectional kayak.”

Creating Pakayak has been a labor of love for the small team that has been working on the project since 2011.

“We wanted to build a rigid boat that was portable, light and easy to store, yet long, sleek and fast, making its performance indistinguishable from traditional, high-end kayaks,” Doug Mackro says on the Pakayak website. His wife, Zinelle, is the fourth member of the business team, and Moore credits Zinelle with encouraging her husband to pursue his idea for a packable, high performing kayak.

The company is environmentally minded, said Moore, who lives in Milford’s Point Beach. A percentage of each Pakayak sold will go to a marine conservation/protection agency. A percentage of sales of the Bluefin model will be donated to the Pew Charitable Trust for Global Tuna Conservation, which works to improve international agreements to protect Bluefin tuna.

The Pakayak is expected to be marketed directly through its website and be available at specialty canoe and kayak stores. It is expected retail for $1,695.

For information about the Kickstarter campaign click here.