PITTARAK – The Story

Fitting Out The Kayak

Written by Larry Gray


The external bilge hand pump has proven time and time again to be the most reliable and useful system. Firstly, one or more people during a rescue can operate it, it can be operated while sitting in or on top of the kayak and it has no batteries or wiring problems as with electric pumps. It can be operated in all paddling conditions.The hand pump is designed to remove general paddling slops throughout the day . Once the simple rolling techniques are mastered- pumps become very secondary any way. The more a kayaker relies on tricky secondary bailing systems, the more likely a novice will feel a false sense of security to venture further off shore in dangerous conditions. The hatches are recessed to reduce water hammer, which can lift a hatch cover or cause leakage.
Both rear hatches are accessible while paddling. The large one is less recessed but has a water foil to deflect water impact. This maintains easier access for loading and unloading a full boat. The seat is off the hull to allow water slops to pass beneath and not slosh up on to the kayaks crutch but pool at the bilge pump intake pipe. The outer sides of the seat become storage pockets. The entire seat is slung from the deck to allow some hull flex rather than a hull snap

during extremes. The paddler’s weight slung from the deckholds the kayak at the bulkhead under compression, reducing hull and rear bulkhead stresses which may lead to leaks. The seats combing (where the splash cover hooks over) is curved to increase the sealing surface area and gives positive contact between cover and kayak.

There is a rear back support comfortably positioned for long journeys. This has the secondary purpose of assisting in bow steering and also supports a diagonal body brace. It’s a position that allows great control and balance in executing pivot turns and maneuvers that work in combination with the small cockpit .The cockpit is designed small for positive yet variable knee and thigh- bracing options that do not exist with large cockpits.

Higher deck strength is also achieved with a small cockpit design .The deck grab ropes are fully recessed, removable if necessary, locked off with whipping twine and heat shrink to protect the ends. The ropes are separate front and back. This is a safety feature designed to allow the kayaker a clean escape if the kayak were to fold and snap in two in wild surf. He or she wouldn’t be trapped within the two halves like jaws of death. It has happened! The cord on the front carry handle is designed to swing forward and clear the nose to assist in dragging the kayak when heavily laden.

The rudder is designed for easy removal and is not part of the kayak but is attached to a sock. This again is a safety feature. It is designed to give way on impact, leaving the kayak itself intact. There are a few Pittaraks—Model Expedition Mark 1– that were fitted with the integral rudder design that is fixed and part of the kayak. Pittarak introduced this style of rudder in 1987. The range was discontinued due to its vulnerability.
The foot rest rudder controls are mounted as two separate units, designed to create leg space between them for stretching out during long journeys. The space between also allows for one leg to lie flat while the other in brace when performing side on

maneuvers. There are three generations of Pittarak kayaks available The Expeditioner, a secondary stability design, the Nautilus, the initial stability design, and Pittarak Explorer, a combination of both. Each model has totally different handling characteristics and deck layouts.