What you’re looking at here is a pretty novel outdoor sporting concept called the Kahuna – a lightweight composite-bodied outrigger kayak that’s ready at a moment’s to put you up for the night when you’re way, way off the grid.
The Kahuna was a Hobie Kayaks design project with industrial designer Mario Weiss, and was nominated for a James Dyson innovation award back in 2009, so there was obviously some brainpower behind the design. For his part, Weiss was inspired old Polynesian outrigger canoes, and developed the Kahuna “camping kayak” concept for use in a number environments and climates, with an eye on marketing the Kahuna to rental agencies and serious outdoor/camping/fishing enthusiasts.
You can check out some of Mario’s design and fabrication process in these photos …
… and get a sense of the finished prototype at the bottom of this page.
As far as the Kahuna kayak’s specifications are go, the main drive of the Kahuna is Hobie’s Mirage Drive, a highly efficient pedal/crank mechanism that allows kayakers to gain forward momentum by pedaling the boat forward and “steering” with the paddle. According to Hobie, even inexperienced kayakers tend to adapt to the system quickly enough, and set-up for camping is equally straight-forward: a screen cloth is mounted between the outriggers to serve as base for the tent, and the easy-to-use frame tubes go into the fabric and into their posts. Done!
In addition to being functional, human-powered, and getting its users out to see nature, the Kahuna’s designer took one more step to make the camping kayak concept even more green: the kayak’s hull is made of natural fibre materials, which are lighter than conventional fiberglas and, when cured with the right resins, can even be biodegradable. Not bad at all, then – too bad Hobie doesn’t sell the things (yet!).