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Play 35 whitewater boat

The Bellyak

Designed with a planing hull, much like a kayak, Bellyaks glide through the water, while holding the rider securely, providing a responsive ride with excellent maneuverability. Bellyaks are approximately eight feet long and two feet wide, with a stable and secure riding area. Weighing lesss than 30 pounds, a Bellyak is easy to transport to your favorite beach, river or lake.

WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR ME?

Play 35 - top view
  • Freestyle Machine: made to surf and play every feature of the river!

  • Smaller size: high performance for experienced riders and perfect for kids and small adults

  • Great for River or Surf

Play 45 sit on top kayak boat
  • Stable ride for all size riders

  • The preferred platform for Swiftwater Rescue

  • Wide Weight Range Makes Ideal for Rental Operations

Frequency boat - top view

The Idea

When a hurricane came through SC a while back, the small creek directly in front of the cabin where Adam lived filled to its banks. It was a small, class II creek with low hanging rhododendron on the bank. With the added high water, it created a “tunnel” down the middle. Sitting in a kayak wouldn’t work, so Adam put the sprayskirt on his boat, duct taped the opening closed, laid down face first and bodyboating was born.

It was exhilarating! He felt like he was flying, and had more fun than he could have imagined on such a small creek! The first bellyak was made from a cut up kayak, 18 cans of expandable spray foam, 6 rolls of Duct tape and some plastic sheeting. It weighed 80 lbs, and quickly filled up with water, but immediately proved the concept was sound.

Meet the Team

Innovation

Developing the bellyak has been an exciting process. Each prototype gives clues to what needs to happen next. For example, after trying several displacement hulled prototypes, it was determined that a planing (flat hull) was the way to go for stability and ease of turning. Most of the early boats were were made out of foam covered in fiberglass.

We continually tested the boats after that, and went back to the drawing board to redesign…softening the edges, changing the rocker profile, adding handholds, etc. We have two designs that came out of our testing: the Frequency (riverrunner) and the Play (playboat). To read more about the details of development and making of the boats, click here for our news blog.

More Trial Than Error: A Short History

Adam made the first Bellyak out of an old Perception 3D kayak back in 2004. While running Cane Creek in the Eastatoee Valley of upstate South Carolina at flood stage, he found the only way to paddle down a certain section was to crawl on top of his boat and paddle on his belly. Thus “Bellyaking” was born.

In 2010, he came up with his idea for rapid prototyping by casting the inside of kayaks with expandable foam to create a plug he could shape, fiberglass and paddle. He did this for two years in an old meat freezer in Greenville, SC, working a few days a week and paddling his designs on the weekends.

Finally, in 2012, Adam founded Bellyak, Inc., in Asheville, NC. Along with Evan Solida, CAD driver extraordinaire, Adam digitized the best features of 24 different designs to create three models: The Frequency, Play 35 and Play 45. Each boat was cut on a CNC machine and shaped by hand. Three aluminum molds made from the models for the rotational molding process enabled production to begin.

By 2013, Bellyak had distribution deals across the US and in Europe, Canada and New Zealand. The company introduced adaptive paddling in 2014, and the following year, the American Canoe Association (ACA) adopted prone kayaking as a sport within the paddlesports curriculum.

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