The Ladies' Kayak Project

Monday, 25 July 2011
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Kayak Pose

I just heard about a very interesting project called The Ladies’ Kayak Project that I would encourage you to support.

The Ladies’ Kayak Project is a fundraising effort to help pay the class materials and lab fees for Carnegie Mellon University engineering students to look at how kayaks can be better designed specifically for woman paddlers.

[blockquote]Nearly all kayaks today are designed by men. Not surprisingly, most models also perform better for men than for women, due to several physiological differences. While some paddling schools report equal or greater numbers of women in beginner classes, the male/female ratio among those who stick with it is 3 or more to 1. There are many reasons for this attrition, but I believe one relates to the design of today’s kayaks.

Newer models have reduced this gender inequity tremendously – produced in several sizes, and outfitted to accommodate multiple body shapes. However, one fundamental difference in the anatomy of men and women has not been addressed in kayak designs – the difference in their respective center of gravity (CG). Kayaks that do not take this difference into account contribute to the perception of many women that they are less able to learn basic skills, have fun as a recreational enthusiast and excel as an elite athlete than men.[/blockquote]

The goal of the The Ladies’ Kayak Project is to raise $7000 over the next couple of weeks. I love the fact that they are quite upfront about what you will get out of the project as a donor:

[blockquote]“You are not donating to a non-profit charity, and you are not purchasing a discount on a boat ‘if it comes out.’ You won’t see the $ again, though you will be part of a movement, whether the specific project succeeds or simply creates awesome awareness about the issue.”[/blockquote]

You can find more about this really cool idea by visiting The Ladies’ Kayak Project website.

Creative commons licence: Kayak Pose by Let Ideas Compete  - CC BY-NC-ND 2.00

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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