Kayaks, Canoes and Rowing
Many athletes at the 2016 Olympics will spend their days skimming across the water in CFRP hulled boats. Rowing boats will seat one, two, four or nine competitors in a lightweight CFRP hull aerodynamically designed to cut smoothly through the water. In the canoe slalom, competitors will navigate whitewater rapids in one or two-person kayaks or canoes, while canoe sprints competitors will race across calm waters in one, two or four-person kayaks or canoes. Athletic skill combined with advanced composite technology will help teams earn Olympic Gold.
Manufacturers report using variations of pre-impregnated fiberglass, carbon fiber cloths and custom-braided graphite around honeycomb and syntactic cores to create lightweight, stiff, strong and durable kayaks, canoes and racing shells. Light and stiff are critical qualities for racing shells, says Ted Van Dusen, a naval architect and president of Composite Engineering in Concord, Mass.