by Pascal Rohé

It’s amazing the charm of moving across the water using just your own body strength, silently gliding, using the vessel’s natural buoyancy. Just a few metres out from the shore and you’re already in another world. Tedious appointments and the stress of daily life are left behind; the reward is fresh air and the sounds of nature.


Already on my first kayak trip back in school I was seized by this fascination, and it hasn’t ever let go. But how can you follow this passion when you live in an apartment in the city? A kayak is not like a bicycle that you can just stick in your basement or put out on the balcony. Of course it’s possible to rent them at some boat rental places but then you’re limited by where you can go and for how long.


Exactly for the people faced with this dilemma, Oru Kayak from San Francisco has found the perfect solution: a kayak that you fold. This is not the typical folding boat that takes hours to assemble and weighs a tonne, but an intelligent system like high-tech origami. It’s the carry box and kayak in one.


Oru Kayak now has five single-seater models on offer, each for a different environment and performance level, and they all work on the same principle. The hull is made of a single piece of polypropylene that is tough enough to be folded 20,000 times. That’s easily enough for several thousand trips.


Thanks to Oru Kayak, I was able to realise an old dream and buy my own kayak: the Coast, to be specific, at 490cm long, extremely fast and easy to steer. And, as the name suggests, it’s seaworthy. With the Coast, I can go kayaking where I want, when I want, and the best thing is, folded up, it even fits in my closet! Every time I take it out, I’m delighted by the genius of the folding design and, of course, being out on the water, complete with the jealous looks from other people.


And you don’t need to live on the Pacific Northwest or drive hundreds of miles across country till you get to a secluded national park. It works just as great in urban surroundings. You can take the kayak with you on the bus to the nearest river or canal; in 15–20 minutes the kayak is assembled and you’re on the water. Or you can also throw it in the trunk or take it on the train and head out for a day trip to the nearest lake where there’s guaranteed not to be a boat rental. Kayaking has never been easier. I only wonder how I survived all this time without one!


Special thanks to Chris Kayaks in Brüggen, Germany, where I was able to order the Oru Coast Kayak and with fast delivery.





(Photos: Julia Zierer & Felix Seyfert for Outdoor Aesthetics)