For the first time in years, I decided to take a week off to spend it with my kids over spring break. It was a great fun filled week of camping, hiking, paddling and just enjoying quality time with the brats. Just when my week off was coming to an end, I was delighted to find out that I would be representing ACK at the 2012 Hobie Dealer Conference. Unfortunately, this was partly due to the fact that we recently experienced a fire at our Houston Store resulting in ACK owners, Peter, Steve and Chris scrambling to make sure that the store continued operating so I obliged with my assigned duty.
We often receive questions about kayak colors; usually in regards to how they mix colors such as Wilderness Systems’ Camo or Ocean Kayak’s Sunrise . These colorful schemes, among others, are the result of mixing different colored plastic pellets or what they refer to as powders.
During the manufacturing process, these pellets are added to a mold and rotated in a large custom-built oven to distribute even amounts of plastic throughout the entire mold. As the plastic melts it coats the mold to form the shell of the kayak. This process is called rotational molding or “roto-molding” for short. Most people don’t realize it but the kayak’s original form is in these tiny plastic pellets.
Creating the mixed colors is simply done by adding multiple colored pellets. As those pellets melt together, they begin to create the dynamic colors you see in many kayak brands. The results can vary and may end up as striped bands, random blotches, subtle color shifts or even two halves of a kayak that are two different colors.
There is a great program on the Science Channel called “How It’s Made”. They aired an educational segment on how kayaks are molded. Look below for video or click here.