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Home  | Traditional Kayaks  | Inland Chukchi

 

 

The Inland Chukchi was used by the Chukchi people to hunt caribou on the lakes and

rivers of the Chukchi Peninsula. This is a replica of a specimen that was collected between

1904 and 1907. I built this kayak from lines drawn by David Zimmerly in 1975. As far as I know,

this kayak and a replica built by Harvey Golden are the only current replicas. Surprisingly,

Harvey and I built our replicas contemporaneously without knowing of the other's work.

These kayaks are interesting in that they were built with a double gunnel that helps

form the negative shear. The negative shear and the hog in the keelson make these

very challenging to paddle. They are very unstable. The paddles were fitted with

spear points to kill or maim the caribou as the people paddled around and attacked

the animals as they crossed the rivers and lakes of the Peninsula.

 

 

 

 

The finished kayak on launch day at one of our area lakes.

 

 

Note the large cockpit. It was easy to get and out but did not provide a purchase for

your legs to stabilize the kayak in the water.

 

 

The deck beams and gunwales were made out of red cedar.

 

The two piece keelson was made up of a lower piece that went full length and an

upper piece that was about three quarter of full length and lashed to the bottom

gunwale producing the negative shear.

 

Another view of the double gunnel construction showing the reverse shear.

 

A slightly better view of the reverse shear.

 

 

 I made templates and steamed and bent the ribs over the templates.

 

The hogged shape of the keelson can be seen in the temporary keelson.

 

The finished frame sans cockpit.

 

The gunwales had negative shear produced by the two piece construction and the

keelson was hogged.

 

Here is a nice view of the cockpit detail after covering with cotton duck and shrinking

it with warm water.

 

This is me trying to keep from going swimming. I would not want to paddle this very

 far. I never got comfortable in it. Note the unusual ping-pong shaped paddles. In the

original, a spear point was fitted on one of the paddles and used to stick the caribou.

 

 

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  2009 Jim Rutzick