HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Grand Strand is surrounded not only by the ocean, but rivers and waterways that provide the perfect atmosphere for kayaking. But there's a common problem, many people don't invest in their own kayaks because - well they're heavy – and they have no place to store them. That is until now. A local entrepreneur recognized this problem and has solution.
Dan Norton, a Conway native, came up with the idea for a foldable kayak about 12 years ago, but it wasn't until about 6 months ago that the idea became a reality.
"I just wanted a solid hard shell kayak or canoe that I would be able to somehow fold up or something and store put somewhere, the trunk of the car or something," he said.
Norton and his wife Heidi are talented artists – they've been making pottery as a full-time job for over a decade. Their garage doubles as a pottery studio and as a kayak making workshop.
So here's how it works. Norton has been working with a local plastic manufacturing company – Shamrock Plastic to develop and test prototypes. They use a 3D plastic cutter to create the folds in the high density polypropylene.
From there, the clamps, foam seat and railings are added.
"It's stable enough for a beginner to get in and use it's not very tippy but it still performs like any kayak user would want to see it perform," Norton said.
And it's perfectly safe – it passed the U.S. Coast Guard safety and manufacturing regulations with flying colors.
"We've added other safety features like the foam rails which basically make it unsinkable the latch clamps can be locked in with car pins so that if you wanted to make it double safe so they never come unlatched you can do that," Norton explained.
The kayak only weighs about 30 pounds, but can hold up to 350. It can be stored in your car or in your closet. The cost? About $300.
Tucktec officially launched next weekend at the Grand Strand Boat and Sportsman Expo at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. Norton plans to have several dozen kayaks for sale at the expo.