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CHOOSING A BOAT
ABOUT US
 
 


About our Wood Kayaks and Boat Kits



 

How do our boat kits compare to fiberglass and plastic?

 

Thousands of people world wide are owners of beautiful, wooden, ultra-light Pygmy boats. John Lockwood's computer designed boats have received outstanding reviews from the world's most ambitious paddlers and industry publications. Pygmy has been voted the "Best Wooden Kayak" and "Best Kayak Kit" on the market (see Reviews). Magazine articles, Boat Reviews and our own customer's feedback all highly praise the elegance and sea-worthiness of Pygmy designs. In addition to great performance, you can paddle a Pygmy boat for one-third the price of a fiberglass boat!

 

Fiberglass:
The combination of Pygmy's wood, fiberglass cloth and epoxy produces a composite hull that is lighter, stiffer and more rigid than fiberglass alone. The wood component of the composite provides the high compression strength while the fiberglass and epoxy provide high tensile strength. In the end you get the beauty of wood, the durability of glass, the strength of a composite in a boat that weighs between 25%-30% less than fiberglass alone. Only Kevlar is comparable in weight. Kevlar kayak prices begin around $2600.
Fiberglass boats are much cheaper to mass produce, but are not available as kits. They start at around $1800.

 

Plastic:
Pygmy boats are much lighter and much stiffer than plastic boats. Plastic rotomolded kayaks tend to flex. This flex translates into extra effort on every stroke. The rigidity and lightness of Pygmy boats allow you to efficiently glide across the water. The lightness of Pygmy boats also becomes an asset when moving between your vehicle and the water! Plastic is the abrasion champion, best for whitewater river boats. Plastic boats are the cheapest to mass produce as finished product but are more expensive than building from a boat kit.

 

Boat Kits versus Plans:
Unless you have access to all materials at competitive prices, building from plans may not save you any money. And it will definitely take you more time. The pre-cut parts that come in our kits are cut to .004" accuracy; that's hard to beat. For a full discussion see our Kits versus Plans page.

When researching a kayak, shop around! Get the opinions of local sea kayak instructors, read objective reviews (see Paddling.net). Ultimately, choose a boat which fits your height, weight, shoe size, experience, and intended use. If you have questions regarding which boat is right for you, call us: 360-385-6143. We train our staff to listen to your needs and help determine which boat is right for you. We take great pride in our customer service and encourage phone calls.


Leader in the Field: When you select a Pygmy Kit or Plans, you purchase a boat from the innovator in the field, John Lockwood. In 1986, he was the first person, ever, to computerize the process of hull design. In '86, John sold the first precision pre-cut CAD/CAM designed boat kit ever created. (For the story see "A Byte At Tradition", Wooden Boat Magazine #87, December, 1987).


Years of Wilderness Paddling Experience: When you choose a Pygmy, you get a boat designed by the world's leading plywood kayak designer who is also an avid wilderness paddler of 35 years. John's sea kayaking experience infuses every millimeter of his designs. There's no substitute for experience. Pygmy extensively tests each design before kit production begins. If a prototype does not match John's exacting standards for seaworthiness, ruggedness and ease of construction, he refines and redesigns.


Time Tested:
Our rugged and lovely kayaks have stood the test of time. Years of hard usage by expert paddlers prove Pygmy quality can carry folks to adventure in the Arctic (see Paddling to Seattle), Southeast Alaska, Baja, the Great Lakes, the South Pacific, Indonesia and the Caribbean (to mention a few). Whether you long for remote adventure, or soothing day paddles on calm water, you can trust a Pygmy boat's durability and seaworthiness, should conditions get rough.


Multi-Panel Decks: The innovative decks on our patented lines of kayaks extend the possibilities of stitch and glue construction. John designs the deck chine right over your toes to provide the maximum foot room possible. These chines also function as structural angles which greatly stiffen and strengthen the deck. The beveled deck falls away from the cockpit enabling a paddler to take very low, relaxed strokes or high, close power strokes. No knuckle-banging on these superbly crafted beauties! Plus, our shop crew carefully matches wood grain in your deck panels when we precision pre-cut your boat. You simply stitch it together, the same way as the hull. The entire length of the sheer is precisely defined with no flat spots or wows in the lines. There is no excess to trim... just stitch and glue! See our kit construction page for more info.
 
Put The Weight Where it Counts: Pygmy's kayak decks are glass encapsulated. The resulting decks and hulls are much stronger than either wood or fiberglass alone. The high tensile surface and high compression core of a composite combine to make a vastly superior product. Composites are extensively used in aero/space and other high performance applications because of their added strength and ultra light weight. Under average usage, as well as in extreme conditions, the strength pays off. Glassing your deck gives it extra abrasion resistance, protecting your wood from the common knocks and dings of regular paddling.

 

Get the Best...Get a Pygmy!
Although much imitated, Pygmy continues to be the largest & oldest manufacturer of pre-cut boat kits in North America. Our new boats define the state of the art in the field and we use extensive sea trials before releasing a new design. Pygmy made a commitment to top quality 27 years ago and we continue to value quality in all that we do. Cheaper imitations won't perform the same. Get the originals. Don't just take our word for it. Pygmy boats have received rave reviews and numerous kudos from objective, expert paddlers. (see the Magazine Reviews, and be sure to check out our user's reviews on Paddling.net). You get the BEST when you get a PYGMY.

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If you have unanswered questions please feel free to call us 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday, 10am-5pm (Pacific Standard Time): 360-385-6143. Or email us at: info@pygmyboats.com

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