Seat and Paddle

Sitting directly on the bottom of the bidarka is pretty comfortable, but I’ve only tested that for periods up to 2 hours. The Skin Boat School provides a small cell foam seat that can be sanded to a very thin dimension (without sanding, the seat sat a little high, in my opinion). The seat is very comfortable and I do like the hip braces. I don’t know how much it will contribute to comfort for all-day paddles.

The seat can be sanded to provide a thinner bottom.

The seat fit is snug, so you don’t need any restraints. If the seat is optional, the backrest is not, in my opinion. You want to sit 2″ or so away from the coaming.

The school provides paddle blanks for those who would like to have an authentic paddle to go with the bidarka. These blanks are made with various laminates of light wood–mine is white Alaskan Cedar, red American Cedar, and Cherry. The outline of the blank paddle is close to the finished outline, but the edges all have to be planed and sanded to achieve their final contours. One of the features of this paddle is the chine down the center of the faces on one side–this shape provides for a more powerful bite when you want it.

241 cm long

Paddle Shape























The advantage of this thin blade is that it purportedly allows a paddler to go long distances. I have had one chance so far to try this theory out and it seems to be true. I paddled over a measured course with this paddle and then a day later with my Sawyer V-Lam Orca and found I was in much better shape at the end with the Aleut paddle, at a slight cost in top speed. I look forward to a real excursion where I can put it to a more thorough test.

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