Many kayaks are built for portable transport. Some for leisurely sightseeing. Others are made for high-level performance. The Bellyak, on the other hand, creates an entirely new category — a kayak designed for riding on your stomach.
It’s not exactly a kayak. Instead, they’re calling it a “bodyboat,” since you’re supposed to ride it with your body lying horizontally with the head out front. So it’s kind of like a surfboard when you’re paddling to catch a wave, except more stable and less difficult to handle.
The Bellyak comes in two flavors: Frequency and Play. The Frequency is the starter model, with a flat hull that promotes better stability and control. Features include high side walls, foot braces and hand holds for secure performance during horizontal river runs. The Play is the shorter full-action model, allowing for fast transitions, effortless spins and a wide range of movements that take full advantage of river dynamics.
According to its creators, the bodyboat idea came after a hurricane rolled through their town, filling a small creek right up to the tree branches. The proximity made it impossible to paddle through the area with a conventional kayak, where you have to sit up, resulting in the prone position kayak design. Instead of conventional paddles, though, you maneuver through the water using a pair of webbed paddle gloves.
If you’ve been searching for a new way to enjoy the rapids, the Bellyak should provide a genuinely fresh experience. They’re currently in production, but there’s no word on pricing or actual ship dates.