Folding kayaks have traditionally been unwieldy and heavy, mainly because of the rib systems that are used to create the integrity of the boat. Which is why we’ve been eagerly watching the Oru, an elegant new portable kayak, come to life for the past year or so. Ever since we saw it, we were struck by its beauty and simplicity and light weight (it weighs just 25 pounds). It’s made completely out of one continuous piece of corrugated plastic.
The design cuts out the need for ribs out all together. A rigid floorboard (which doubles as the lid of the case) reinforces the structure of the cockpit, and the Oru fits standard spray skirts. Its “skin” has the creases permanently molded in, which allows you to quickly fold it down to the size of a large portfolio, like origami, so it can easily be stored behind a couch in a studio apartment or thrown into the trunk of a car.
The big question was always performance: Sure it looks and sounds cool, but how does it paddle? Well, we finally got to paddle it here at the show and … we were impressed. The boat is sturdy and rigid, and cuts cleanly through the water.