The Nunivak Island kayak isn’t something that you’d see everyday in modern recreational kayaks. For one thing, it has a big hole in the bow. In the Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America, Howard I. Chapelle notes that the hole is one of the main features that distinguished the Nunivak Island boats from the Kodiak kayaks. Figure 180, which this kayak comes from, shows the kayak with a mythological water monster painted on its side. Palriayuk, the water monster, eventually disappeared from the sides of the kayaks as missionaries influenced the thinking. Just try an Internet search to see if you can find reference to this water monster — it’s gone. Apparently, this boat can carry two passengers back-to-back. It was paddled with a single bladed paddle. Chapelle writes, “Highly regarded by all who have had contact with it, this is generally considered one of the safest and most useful of the Alaskan kayaks.”
Photo of an original Nunivak Island kayak Creative Commons Attribution by Travis S. on Flickr.
I had a good time modeling this kayak and drawing the free plans. It seemed to come together very easily. Like other drawings by Chapelle the station plans disagreed with the other views. I wonder if something was lost when scanned for the book, or, maybe, Chapelle just wasn’t that great of a draftsman. I think this would make an interesting boat.
Length: 14 feet 11.5 inches
Beam: 30 inches
Depth: 15.75 inches
Draft: 4.8 inches
Displacement: 316 lbs.
Kayak Building Books
Get a kayak building book to learn how to make a boat from these plans.
- The Strip-Built Sea Kayak: Three Rugged, Beautiful Boats You Can Build: If you only buy one book, then buy this one.
- Building Strip-Planked Boats: Contains updates to lots of the techniques found in The Strip-Built Sea Kayak.
- Consider buying The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America for more info about this kayak.
For a more in-depth list, check out my canoe and kayak building books review.
Get the Drawing Package
The drawing package includes the full-sized study plan and each station and stem drawn separately on a PDF that prints full sized on ARCH D size paper (nestings). You can cut these out and glue them to plywood to cut full-sized forms. A pdf of the electronic drawing package. is available for this kayak. You can print the file on 24- by 36-inch paper on your own.
Free Kayak Plans Downloads
The free kayak plans come as a pdf (free Adobe Reader required to view) that you can print off at photocopy stores.
- Download [pdf]: Nunivak Island Kayak Plans