With the wild Pacific Ocean and the relative calm of San Francisco Bay surrounding it on three sides, San Francisco, California, attracts water lovers of all sorts.
For local kayakers paddling in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, however, it can be tough to participate in their sport. After all, how do you fit a 3.6-meter sea kayak into the typical small San Francisco apartment?
An Inventive Solution
This was the question facing architect and avid kayaker Anton Willis. His solution? Origami.
That’s how Oru Kayak originated. Taking inspiration from the Japanese art of origami, Willis’s ideas soon developed into sketches and, eventually, more than 25 full-scale prototypes.
Today, Oru makes a variety of high-performance, folding kayaks that transform from box to boat in as little as 5 minutes. The Bay model weighs just 12 kilograms and folds into something like a backpack.
Setting off on a kayak outing in the bay
Inspiring Others to Kayak
Andy Cochrane and Roberto Gutierrez are the current faces – and fuel – behind Oru’s mission: to connect people to the outdoors. And in so doing, they hope to inspire more people to kayak, comparing the experience to “sitting on the Earth’s chest and feeling it breathe.”
Launched on Kickstarter in 2012, the public’s reaction to Oru Kayak was immediate and clear. It quickly achieved more than five times its funding goal. Since then, National Geographic has included Oru Kayak in its gear of the year awards, and Gizmodo featured the company’s products in its Home of the Future.
Kayaking in San Francisco Bay