Belgium-based company ONAK has launched a Kickstarter campaign to improve upon one of its unique products – a composite-made canoe that folds like origami and can fit in a large suitcase. Once folded, it is no bigger than 47 x 15 x 10 inches and can be assembled in ten minutes.
Otto Van De Steene, along with engineer Thomas Weyn (ONAK co-founder and engineer), spent more than two years building prototypes. According to Van de Steene, it took a long time to find the right materials. The canoe is made out of a custom developed honeycomb-Curv™ composite material, which is 10 times stronger than a normal polypropylene. The canoe itself is only 37 pounds total.
“With the EconCore technology and the honeycomb curve composite, we put the final piece into the puzzle,” said Van de Steene.
The honeycomb composite material, which the designers are in the process of patenting, is also completely recyclable and durable.
“You need a boat that lasts and is tough enough to handle life, because what’s the point of a boat that is maybe slightly better—recyclable—but not as strong so you have to make more boats?” says Van De Steene.
Weyn says the aim was to make canoeing accessible to everyone.
“We wanted people to be able to experience canoeing wherever they are, even in the city. When folded, the canoe is no bigger than a suitcase, so you can just take it with you regardless of your transportation method,” Weyn explained.
ONAK’s composite hull material will be produced in Germany and Belgium. The pressing of the hulls and the end assembly of their canoes will be done Europe. The pressing will be done on a huge, custom made heated press, which is expensive, hence the Kickstarter page.