Kirton Kayaks is a third generation family-business based in the UK, directed by Ben Turner and Matt Cockram. We specialise in making hand-made kayaks to market leading standards.
In fact, our boats are renowned for being incredibly rugged and long-lasting, which is why they’re the number one choice for club use around the UK. They are lightweight too, and our K1 racing kayaks rarely clock in over 12kg, even if you opt for our cheapest Economy constructions.
A brief history
We’ve been in the game for over 50-years, so have unchallenged knowledge when it comes to designing, building and repairing laminated boats. With our factory and office situated in the UK, manned throughout the week, our after-sales service is also the best you’ll find. If you need any advice on your Kirton at any point, get in touch and we’ll do our best to put you on the right path. As far as guarantees go, if the fault is ours, then we’ll fix it free of charge and you can’t say fairer than that.
Historically, we’ve always been an ambitious and innovative company. In the early years of fibreglass, our work on improving laminates paved the way for the modern constructions you see today. Our work was so successful, we became the only company trusted enough to manufacturer the famous wooden Struer boats under license. You can learn more about our old models and ways on the History pages.
Skipping forward though the years, Kirton was the first canoe manufacturer in Europe to use vacuum bagging techniques too, for elite, ultra-light, ultra-rigid sandwich constructions. We’ve even taught others how it’s done.
Our boats have won more medals in the DW (Devizes to Westminster) marathon than anyone else, across the classes, which is a testament to their quality. We’re also holders for all current time records.
Our racing boat constructions are cutting-edge and we offer light-weight marathon and super stiff sprint builds, using vac bag and seamless technologies. All our top-end boats are heat cured for extra strength and weather resistance.
Our sea kayaks benefit from out racing focus, and alongside our durable traditional hand-lay constructions we can offer tough, and stiff sea kayak special layups which are truly something special and fit for even expedition use.
Most of our boats have been designed, historically by late great ‘Grandpa’ David Green (below), one of the founding members of the company. Grandsons Ben and Matt apprenticed to him for over a decade to learn the craft and things have moved on from traditional pen and paper drafting, with new models now being fully designed in CAD and CNC cut using our in-house routers, but we have the fall back of the traditional ways when it’s the best tool fro the job.
It has always been our aim to have a wide range boats available, so there is a boat for everyone no matter their abilities and we’re proud to be able to offer truly original designs. We’re constantly working on new deigns so keep checking back to see what’s in the pipe-line.
It’s not all about Sprint and Marathon Kayaks, though. We also work closely with Rob Feloy, designer of many sea kayaks including the popular C-Trek. Together we’ve created formidable custom adventure craft. One of our greatest achievements came in seeing Peter Bray safely across the North Atlantic on the first ever solo unassisted kayak crossing.
Being based in Devon, we are very close to nature – that’s one of the reasons we’re situated where we are after all. Everyone here genuinely cares about the environmental issues surrounding manufacturing and consumption. We’re a small team, but we do what we can to keep our impact to a minimum and invest what we can in the development of better and cleaner processes. In short, we want to do more than simply paying lip service to the problem.
A word up front though, this is a complex issue and the solutions are not simple, it’s about the complete cycle. However, one of the easy wins is to have a product that has a good lifespan and is readily repairable. On this front we are more than confident in our products, and are always looking for ways to improve durability as it’s better for the environment, and better for you. We also offer a repair service on all of our boats old and new, so get in touch if you need a hand getting your Kirton back on the water.
As far as energy goes, we now use 100% renewable electricity in the curing and making of our kayaks and, of course, we recycle everything we can including some of our vacuum consumables.
We’re also actively investigating natural sustainable reinforcement for use in the construction of our boats, some of which we already use on a weekly basis. We have made many boats with a high-performance resin too, that is partly derived from bio-based chemistry – it works a treat. Some of these technologies are too expensive right now for everyone, but if you want a boat that has better green credentials, then please challenge us and we’ll see what we can do for you.
Get in touch
We’ll be happy to assist with any request you have, big or small, so drop us a line and we’ll see what we can do to help.