Bellyak: Laying Down and Loving It

Wait til you see the belly boof...

Most whitewater kayakers try not to swim. But not the folks at Bellyak, makers of a hybrid craft that falls somewhere between kayaking, hand paddling, and swimming that has you eye level with the water (and sometimes, fish). Their latest creation: the Play 35…

Founded by Adam Masters — son of Perception Kayaks founder Bill Masters — Bellyak maintains that its “lay on top boat” is quickly becoming an addictive sport for everyone from kayakers, to SUP lovers, and adaptive athletes. Touting it as the “next evolution of paddlesports,” the company’s watercraft are designed and made in North Carolina, letting boaters ride on their bellies through rapids on a made-in-the-USA craft without barriers to entry. And its latest creation, the Play 35, is surging forward much like its practitioners.

“It was designed and modeled after classic freestyle kayaks,” says company spokeswomen Lisa Landes. “It’s maneuverable, agile and wide open to your interpretation. Designed primarily for whitewater, this boat is also incredibly fun in the surf and a lightweight alternative for prone paddling workouts on the lake.”

Landes says it’s also their most popular boat for kids and summer camps.

Rotomolded from durable plastic and featuring an ergonomic design to alleviate neck and back pressure, the Bellyak weighs just 25 lbs., and comes in three models. “It excels at providing a unique and fun way to work upper body and core without having to be confined in the same old postures,” she says. “Plus, whether you are a hard-core competitor, a recreational surfer, or a laid-back float-on-the-river kind of individual, it’s an excellent toy for all elements.”

The company has also been able to use the craft to help an array of adaptive athletes, from those with cerebral palsy to spinal injuries. Read the story here: Info: $499;

–Tim Braun