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
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
A slightly better view of the reverse shear.
I made templates and steamed and bent the ribs over the
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.
Top of Page