Thanks for making so many smile!

Nigel Dennis invented the keyhole cockpit and made many paddlers smile. Previously the British favored ocean cockpit allowed great boat contact and control and the American favored oval cockpit allowed easy entry for the surf zone but poor control.  Nigel invented the keyhole and all is right with the best of both systems!

Thanks Nigel!


  1. 'small' correction: ... invented the [Sea-kayak] keyhole cockpit ...

    In the mid 80's, when I first got into paddling, I picked up a used Prijon T-Slalom (ww-kayak) [history snippet: one of the/if not the 1st ww-kayak with keyhole design - to allow paddlers to escape entrapment].
    In '86 bought my 1st sea-kayak (Aquaterra Chinook), the next year, a Valley Nordkapp (ocean cockpit).
    After paddling the Nordkapp around L Superior a couple of times, my knees were getting sore.
    In '91, I bought another Nordkapp with a large cockpit - but with a 'pitifull' 'flange' used to brace against the thighs.
    In '93, I paddled up the east coast of Australia in a Caffyn designed (Nordkappish) Arctic Raider (ocean cockpit). Again, I missed being able to bend my knees (I generally stay in 'yak all day - no landings).
    When I returned from that trip, I went up to Maine and attended the Bean sysmposium.
    Nigel was showing off his new 'Romany'. Before even sitting/paddling it, what I noticed 1st was the keyhole cockpit.
    As soon as I could, I purchased one, and have been paddling one ever since (Romany or Explorer) (though am very dissapointed that the Brits 'refuse' to build an 'ultra' lightweight boat, I custom ordered a Romany LV - promised 36lbs, came in at 46lbs (I now have a 29lb Sterling IceKap) )

  2. What a great Correction and comment! I learned a lot! I did not know the Arctic Raider was designed by Caffyn. I think it now comes with an almost keyhole cockpit these days. I think ocean cockpits are dying out and will only be preferred by traditionalists in the future. It looks like quite a trick to get out of one quickly after a surf landing. Which seems funny because for me ocean paddling implies there will be lots of surf landings.