To flow inside the spiral tide; To drown my eyes like a blind ride. And to cross the perils of black water - It waits for me like mother and daughter. -blue oyster cult
I finally got a day to visit the Rockpool workshop. An enlightening experience. I’m not sure what I expected, but I guess something a little more “automated”. It’s not. It’s more like an artist’s studio. In the end you get one of these beautiful, unique craft. This particular one in the above photo kept me alive throughout my time in Wales. I’ll have a special affection for it.
I spent a good amount of time trying to just stay out of the way as Mike Webb and his team worked. On average Rockpool can turn out 1 kayak every 4 days. Each step done by hand with particular attention to detail. Like artwork.
This slow craftsman’s approach is what allows for the funky designs which are actually embedded right into the gelcoat. These are not stickers or “paint” but gel coat art work. The upside of course is that your designs will not “wear”.
Above is the Menai which is now in production. It’s a “big” boat. LOL! But growing more popular as an expedition kayak. This boat has the 5th hatch on the front deck that has become sort of trendy recently. At this point Mike had the two halves clamped together and was preparing to put in the seam tape. I job that required cramming your head into a toxic smelling hull while at the same time being meticulous to get the seam tape straight with the use of a long roller.
I came about my Rockpool sponsorship in a strange way right before the company went through it’s recent changes. I felt it was important to stay with Mike (Webby as he’s known round these parts. . LOL!) Yet, I had not paddled the kayak and had not seen them up-close. Not always the best choice when planning an expedition! But I leave Wales feeling very good about the way things worked out. The Alaw Bach is an almost perfect kayak for my style of paddling. It handles rough conditions without worry and offers enough adjustment to fit perfectly. Like I’ve told everyone here, “I won’t have to rip out the seat!!,” Mike is a great guy and very focused. An artist and a down to earth craftsman. I know my new boat with be without issues. In fact it will have the sort of attention to detail almost no fiberglass kayaks can get these days. I can trust the care that goes into each boat, and know that the hands that make it, do it with pride. How often can you say that??