Oru Kayak with a motor!

Oru Kayak + Current Drives

Among the many things we do as a company–source, manufacture, market, fulfill, and share our love of kayaking–one of the fastest growing efforts is collaborative work with likeminded outdoor brands. 

These projects span the gamut from design integrations to marketing cross-promotions, each with specific goals to help reach new customers, learn new skills, and of course add significant value for you, the end user. 

Our first collaboration of the new year was a month-long project with Current Drives, an electric motor company based in Seattle, WA. Scrappy, innovative, and water-bound, Current Drives was the perfect partner to help us push the envelope and make paddling more accessible to all. 

We dubbed the project "Go Further" and worked remotely to integrate their proprietary electric motor with our Bay kayak model. The fit was even better than we had hoped for. Setup of the entire package takes about ten minutes and once assembled, is extremely easy to carry, and a dream to paddle (or not paddle!) on the water.

After extended on-water testing, we decided to bring the combo to market. In a week we put together a bundled package and had it live on our website. The goal was to test the market for this and to get feedback from the community. The response was amazing, and continues to shape product development this spring and summer. 

How does it work?

The battery is stored behind the seat, inside the kayak. It is secured with a simple bungee and clip system. The motor slides into a fitted seating, attached to the skin with a strong adhesive. The entire system is controlled with a small remote control attached to the paddle (shown above). Waterproof, durable, and nearly silent, this combo has the potential to take you farther than you otherwise would have expected!

Quick breakdown of ElectraFin motor:

  • Fully electric
  • 5 hour battery life
  • 5 mph top speed
  • Variable speeds (forward + reverse)
  • Marine grade components (good for salt water)
  • Solar chargeable

We learned a lot from this project–our biggest takeaway were three clear groups of users that rose to the surface, expressing their interest in both this boat and future product collaborations.

  1. Fishermen. The electric motor greatly increased the ability to troll, traverse large lakes and bays, and find new remote locations to fish.

  2. Photographers + travelers + vacationers. The fin adds stability (similar to a keel) and the ability to transport larger loads [without additional effort], making it great for anyone with a heavy camera setup or bulging picnic basket.

  3. Families. The motor adds a level of safety in wind and waves, allowing groups to much easier stay together by giving everyone the ability to paddle upwind or in cross winds.

All photos by Greg Balkin