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Kittiwake Economic Development Corporation

The eKubator Project

A Knife on the Cutting Edge - Lindy Rideout's sea kayaks are built for North Atlantic
August 3, 2001
{Author: eBerg Staff}


  World class, or not at all. With an iron-cast allegiance to this motto, you can begin to understand the vision of Lindy Rideout's approach to business.

  "I'm not a perfectionist," he insists. "I like to do things right. In this business, that means paying attention to detail - stainless steel fittings to protect against salt water, durable fiberglass, fine lines and a smooth finished product."

  Mr. Rideout, an educator from Cottlesville, is the man behind Sea Knife Kayaks - a new line of kayaks produced especially for Newfoundland and Labrador's rugged coastline.

  Mr. Rideout built his first kayak, nicknamed "the Iceberg", from plywood five years ago.

  "I wanted a kayak and they were not readily available. The Iceberg paddled well but it was ugly and way too heavy," he laughs. "But I believed that Newfoundlanders are a breed of people who can do anything as well or better then anyone else in the world. Secondly, Newfoundland has a boat building culture, so why are we buying boats from other countries?"

  Mr. Rideout took up the challenge of producing an affordable, world-class sea kayak.

  "I studied every kayak design that I could find in magazines, online, and even on parking lots," he said.

  Since then he has been credited with building the first all-fiberglass single and double sea kayak in Newfoundland and Labrador.

  Kayak design, Mr. Rideout intones, is a combination of Art and Science. One scientific challenge was to cut the weight without compromising the strength. He has realized his goal of 56 pounds - quite a drop from the mammoth 215-pound Iceberg.

  A sea kayak tailor-made for Newfoundland waters carried certain challenges - challenges Mr. Rideout is confident he has overcome.

  "When I first took the kayak out, it cut so well through the water I called it Sea Knife," he explained. "After many trials, errors and remakes, the Sea Knife 17 emerged. This boat is very fast, stable, tracks well and is strong - perfect for Newfoundland conditions. This is a very rugged and seaworthy craft, designed especially for the North Atlantic. She's got a high-sheared bow which makes for a dryer deck and excellent entry in waves."

  In June, Sea Knife unveiled its first two-man kayak - the SK 19-2. The sleek 19-foot craft is "near impossible to tip, very comfortable, has tremendous storage space, and is almost indestructible," Mr. Rideout explained.

  In July, Mr. Rideout inked a one-year provincial distributorship deal with Wiseman's Sales and Services Ltd. of Shoal Harbour to distribute
the Sea Knife in Newfoundland.

  Sea Kayaking is one of the most popular activities in the world's fastest growing tourism industry - eco-tourism. Where there are sea kayakers, there are people looking for superior design, performance, and comfort, Mr. Rideout said.

  "Sea kayaking is definitely a growth sector," he said. "With interest in adventure tourism, fitness, relaxation and environmental concerns, it's becoming very popular both in Newfoundland and worldwide. Newfoundland, with sheltered bays and coves and wildlife, is a very natural place for kayakers."

  Mr. Rideout is hoping to eventually capture five per cent of the Newfoundland sea kayak market for and also explore the North American market. As it stands, his estimated capacity of kayaks per year is approximately 700, given the labour-intensive process demanded to make the Sea Knife.

  "There are still many obstacles, but we are confident that we have proved we will overcome them and employ even more local workers."

  Visit Mr. Rideout's webpage at www.seaknife.com