No Paddle Needed for ‘Body-Boat’ Whitewater Vessel

Treading murky waters between a surfboard and a whitewater kayak, the just-announced “Bellyak” boat offers a new way to move downstream. The company, based in Asheville, N.C., calls its invention a “bodyboat,” and the thick-hull creation essentially looks like a kayak with its top chopped off.

Lie down and ‘paddle’ with your hands

You lie down on your belly (as per the name) or kneel on the boat as it courses through rapids or skims on ocean waves. The company touts the unit as combining “the full body fitness of swimming” with the purported “feeling of flying on the water.”

We have yet to try a Bellyak, but to us it appears to be a beefy riverboard that Frankensteins on a few extras from the whitewater kayaking world. There’s handholds and toe braces for control. A front hatch offers a waterproof compartment for storing your goods.

Bellyak model

The company will debut its first bodyboat, the Frequency model, at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in August. It weighs 32 lbs and is 8’7” long. Price is $849, which in our heads places the vessel more toward the “boat” category than something made for riverboarding or surf.

—Stephen Regenold

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Stephen Regenold is Founder and Editor-In-Chief of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for nearly two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of four small kids, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.