Betsie Bay Kayak

Betsie Bay Kayak
P.O. Box 1706
Frankfort, MI  49635
Phone: 231-352-7774
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Recluse (19')
Manitou (18')
Aral (18')
Valkyrie (17')
Idun (16')
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Frequently Asked Questions

Why don't you offer kits or plans?
Our kayaks were originally created on a special jig system which allowed us to quickly make refinements to our hull designs over many prototypes. We now use a sophisticated molding system employing vacuum and infrared heat. Neither of these systems translates well into stitch-and-glue kits or plans. We have only two things to offer: our designs and our craftsmanship – each is greatly devalued in the absence of the other.

Also, marketing kits and plans properly requires a great deal of technical support for home builders. The major companies currently marketing kits and plans specialize in that support. We have limited resources to provide support to builders, and we specialize in what we do best.

Can I buy components from BBK to outfit my own project?
BBK does not provide components for other kayaks. Again, those whose business is serving the home builder are best set up to provide parts, materials and technical information.

Where can I try a BBK kayak?
We do free demos by appointment near our shop in Michigan. We can also often refer you to BBK owners in your area who may be willing to demo their kayak. BBK paddles are available direct or through a few select dealers. If your local paddlesports shop doesn't carry BBK paddles, ask them to contact us.

What dealers carry BBK kayaks?
We achieve the lowest prices possible to our customers by selling directly.

Are wood/epoxy kayaks really durable?
The wood/epoxy/glass construction process requires meticulous care to insure that the wood ‘core’ of the kayak is never exposed to moisture. We build every kayak with that care. Our kayaks have about the same life expectancy as a well-made fiberglass or Kevlar composite kayak. Our hulls are sheathed in fiberglass cloth, epoxy covered and finished with an extremely tough catalyzed acrylic urethane.

If damaged, are they repairable?
Absolutely. The correct materials and techniques must be used for optimum results, but a wood/epoxy/glass structure is no more difficult to repair than a comparable fiberglass one.

How long do I have to wait to get a BBK kayak?
Occasionally, we may have one of your model in stock. Please call to find out the current backlog. Caring, hand craftsmanship requires time and we will not sacrifice quality for quantity.

I have size 14 feet. Can I get comfortable in a BBK kayak?
Foot room is at a premium in any high performance, low profile Greenland design kayak. A Manitou will accommodate a paddler with size 12 feet in the proper footwear. A Recluse will fit a paddler with size 11. If footroom is a concern, we strongly suggest test paddling first.

What about delivery?
Many customers come to our shop to pick up their new kayak. We sometimes use ‘network haulers” to deliver to distant customers. These carriers specialize in canoes, kayaks and rowing shells and deliver products undamaged. Fees vary, but think in terms of a couple hundred dollars. Unstable fuel prices keep shipping costs in flux. Common carriers run on a regular schedule, but damage over 50% of all the canoes and kayaks they carry - a last resort. Call us about other available delivery options.

What options and/or features are available?
Many options offered by other manufactures are sold to enhance the appeal or performance of less-than-optimal designs. Our outfitting is based on over twenty years experience building high performance kayaks for some very demanding paddlers. Our outfitting is not based on expediency in the manufacturing process, or cost-added tack-ons, but on efficiency in use. If you have clearly defined special needs in a kayak, we are happy to discuss possible options.

What about rudders or skegs?
A properly-designed, modern Greenland Kayak does not require an add-on control device for proper handling. Inuit kayaks were intentionally designed to weathercock, ideal for hunting from downwind with spears, but not desirable in a modern touring craft.

Photo courtesy of
Kristen Hollenbeck

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2004-2022 by
Betsie Bay Kayak
ATI Consulting.

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