Oru Kayak Inc. is dedicated to sharing the wonder of the great outdoors—especially for city dwellers. Putting the Oru folding kayak together the first time was a bit of a learning curve. I’m Michelle, founder of this little slice of the universe. Anton Willis, CDO at Oru Kayak, moved to the Bay Area in 2002 and immediately encountered the struggle of getting outside while living in a large metropolitan city. ", "Thank you for creating this. A: The fundamental problem it solves is that boats are large, and that limits where you can take them. A: The material we use now is a close relative of what we started with, but custom made to our specs so it’s heavier duty. The earlier kayaks were more like accordions, and now there’s this more complex motion where the whole thing kind of snaps together. Oru. A: There was a moment when I asked myself the question, “Could a kayak fold up like a piece of paper?” The middle part could be figured out but I didn’t know how the ends would work. ### What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea? At times it has been an issue — we’ve gotten bad batches from the manufacturer that suddenly started cracking when we’re building the kayaks in the factory, which is not good for something that can leak. In 2008, a move into a small San Francisco apartment forced his fiberglass kayak into storage. We’re certain 2020 will go down as a pivotal year in world history, but it has been one of growth and trial for outdoor industry as well. Operating Status of Organization e.g. Review: Oru’s Newest Foldable Kayak Is Their Best Yet, for Amateurs, These Are the Most Innovative Outdoor Products Coming in 2018, These Are the Most Innovative Outdoor Products Coming in 2019, 27 Innovative Products from Europe’s Most Important Outdoor Gear Show, 9 Innovative Products from Germany’s OutDoor Show. It has a padded foam seat and can support up to 300 pounds. Photo by Oru via Facebook. That’s why, shortly after reading that article in The New Yorker, Willis started making kayaks out of folded paper. Oru Kayak is a San Francisco based startup that manufactures high-performance, folding kayaks. Oru kayaks are easy to transport and store, letting you explore like never before. We caught Willis in a rare moment of free time and chatted about the challenges he faced and the insights he gained while creating the folding vessel that’s redefined paddling. Manufacturer of origami kayaks intended to change how people connect with the water. ### What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea? Willis found a partner, moved the prototype shop from his buddy’s garage to a maker space in San Francisco, raised nearly half a million dollars in what was the biggest crowdfunding campaign for an outdoor product at the time, and locked down a manufacturer to build the first run of folding kayaks. After earning an MBA in Design Strategy from California College of the Arts in 2012, Ardy helped launched Oru Kayak via Kickstarter with his two co-founders. All images courtesy Oru Kayak. Founders of the organization. It's refreshing to see how real founders grow their business. Postal Service tote boxes (Oru kayaks are still made from a similar material). Paddling solved that problem, but only until San Francisco rent prices forced him to move into a studio apartment — an ill-suited home for a sixteen-foot kayak. Oru Founder Anton Willis came up with the idea after moving to San Francisco and realising his apartment was too small to fit his kayak. The Delphin had a bamboo frame with a sailcloth hull stretched over it. We sell a backpack that goes with it that’s fully ergonomic and can be used for hiking, so you can hike into a mountain lake that’s not accessible by road and paddle in places where no one has ever paddled before. It’s a very remote section of river. Best Folding Kayak Brands Oru. Founder Pravda Capital s.r.o., Pravda Capital Trading s.r.o. However, to achieve the specifications of the Inlet, Anton Willis, Founder + CDO, spent 2yrs inventing an entirely new origami folding pattern that prioritizes spatial efficiency and elimination of floating parts. I grew up in the rural backwoods of Northern California. A: About 25. A: My favorite is a river trip on the Eel River in northern California, which is where I grew up. Our revenues are around $5 million per year. Heurich paddled his creation on the Isar River near Munich and took out a patent on the design, called the Delphin (German: Dolphin), the following year. He brought subsequent prototypes to barbecues where friends took turns paddling around (one of these acquaintances asked if the boats were for sale and later became one of Oru’s first backers on Kickstarter). He had a hard time keeping a kayak … I’ve seen it on the backs of motorcycles, there’s a lot of places it can go. I’m Anton Willis of Oru Kayak. Photo by Oru via Facebook. Whether an Organization is for profit or non-profit. But my go-to these days from the Bay Area is Tomales Bay, which is about an hour north of San Francisco. Anton Willis Founder, Chief Design Officer at Oru Kayak San Francisco Bay Area 253 connections After moving to a small San Francisco apartment, architect Anton Willis was sadly forced to put his fiberglass kayak into storage. He was also a keen paddler, but after moving to the San Francisco bay area in 2002 he faced the difficulty of getting to the outdoors from a large congested city, let alone storing a large kayak in his apartment. Oru Kayak designs high-performance, folding kayaks for all types of paddlers. “The first kayak was made out of one sheet duct taped together and I took it down to the Berkeley Marina, got in, made a few paddle strokes and sunk after about 30 seconds.”. He was an ocean kayaker, but he didn’t have any place to keep his kayak in his San Francisco studio apartment. The piece profiled Dr. Robert J. Lang, a physicist who became obsessed with the art of origami and eventually quit his fiber optics job in order to pursue it full time. In the late summer, it’s bioluminescent, so it can be really spectacular. A: The biggest one was figuring out how to make the case and boat work at the same time. As a kid, I had two overwhelmi... Full access to case studies, filters, and business ideas database, All access pass: All courses & guides to start your business, "An amazing network of founders that truly want to help each other grow their business. In 2008, a move into a small San Francisco apartment forced his fiberglass kayak into storage. 2012, with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign, Oru started selling their now-famous foldable kayaks. Easier said than done of course. Company founder Anton Willis described Vancouver as the ideal environment for the Oru Kayak. For many years this was how most folding kayaks were made too. Designer and founder Anton Willis grew up in rural Mendocino County, with easy access to rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Nobody goes into detail like this. Dr. Lang folded everything from anatomically correct paper insects to a NASA space telescope lens. Oru Kayak The Inlet: $764 with code “BLACKFRIDAY” (was $899), orukayak.com Oru Kayak The Haven (tandem): $1,699 with code “BLACKFRIDAY” (was $1,999), orukayak.com This article was originally published in September 2020; it was updated … They're back with new models, the Coast and Coast+, that are 16' long For a while I lived with that, but then I had the idea that it could actually become a box that would be more self contained, would look okay, and that you could put other accessories into. ### What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea? Q: What fundamental problem does the Oru Kayak solve? 2002 – do současnosti 18 let. Despite the failure, Willis persevered with his folding. Sketches, models and prototypes led to the successful launch of their first origami style, folding kayak on Kickstarter in 2012. I grew up in the rural backwoods of Northern California. Date the Organization was founded. May 18, 2017. We make origami kayaks that fold up into a portable box. The early prototypes just kind of folded up into this crazy bundle of loose plastic. Oru Kayak General Information Description. Willis, the developer of Oru, the Origami Kayak, first came up with the idea for a collapsible kayak after moving into a small apartment in San Francisco, where he had to put his standard kayak in storage after each trip out on the water. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission. Inspired by an article on new advances in the art and science of origami, he sketched a few ideas for a folding kayak. Designer and Oru Kayak founder Anton Willis grew up in rural Mendocino County, with easy access to rivers, lakes, and the ocean. This year has been something. He decided on the latter. I’m Anton Willis of Oru Kayak. Q: Did materials influence or guide the design process? ", "I found Starter Story a few months ago, and I fell in love with the case studies. Oru Kayak Inc. 2020 DESIGNED & ENGINEERED IN CALIFORNIA Use left/right arrows to navigate the slideshow or swipe left/right if using a mobile device. Active, Closed. Yugen Adventure was born out of my search to find a kayak that could fit into my “shoebox sized” apartment. Oru Kayak In 2012, Anton Willis launched a Kickstarter campaign that would change the way he did business and the way people think about kayaking. The inventor and founder of Oru Kayak, Anton Willis, had a fascination with origami, the Japanese art of folding paper into three dimensional shapes and figures. Since you’re here, I’d love to take this opportunity to fill you in on what we’re all about. The Oru Kayak is an elegant, robust, 12’ long boat—that quickly folds up into a compact, easily portable case. We make origami kayaks that fold up into a portable box. Inspired by origami, Oru Kayak founder Anton Willis has successfully developed an all- plastic boat that’s fully recyclable, extremely durable, and able to be folded into its carrying case that can be stored in a closet or under the bed. “The inspiration behind the Oru Kayak is to enable urban, apartment dwellers to have a kayak that is easily storable and transportable. Our revenues are around $5 million per year. I had this idea in my head and took a business card out of my wallet and folded it up, and that’s how the ends still work. Every product is carefully selected by our editors. Q: Do you have a favorite spot to paddle? However, Oru founder and designer Anton Willis figured there must be a better way to make a light, portable, foldable kayak. Q: How many iterations did you go through before the first consumer-ready kayak was done? Oru Kayak began on Kickstarter. Its design utilizes principles of origami to derive incredible structural strength from simple, lightweight materials. The founder, Anton Willis, had spent years growing up hiking, and when he moved to the Bay area, he found that kayaking was his way to escape into nature. Soon he was confronted with a choice: leave the folding kayak as a side project or admit he was becoming a businessman and attempt to bring the boat to market. Before the launch of the Inlet, Oru kayaks were iterations of an original folding pattern that Willis had developed when Oru launched in 2012. ", How We Started A $400K/Month Origami Folding Kayaks Business. After he designed a prototype, he got $500,000 in funding from Kickstarter in 2012. The only problem? This company has built a reputable kayaking presence and offers the top three most sought-after folding vessels in … I grew up in the rural backwoods of Northern California. Our revenues are around $5 million per year. Anton Willis, CDO at Oru Kayak, moved to the Bay Area in 2002 and immediately encountered the struggle of getting outside while living in a large metropolitan city. SolidSmack Sessions | Interview with Oru Kayak Founder and Designer Anton Willis. Paddling solved that problem, but only until San Francisco rent prices forced him to move into a studio apartment — an ill-suited home for a sixteen-foot kayak. The Oru Kayak. Founder Pravda Capital ... Investor and a director of Oru Kayak. The Bay Oru Kayak folds up into a self-containing 33″ x 12″ x 29″ box, so the fact there was a kayak in there was pretty amazing. That was a really exciting idea, but figuring out how to go from one to the other took a lot of doing. Q: Was there a specific moment after reading the origami article when you thought about building a kayak? Oru Kayaks are now spotted regularly around the San Francisco Bay–as well as much farther-flung waters, from Norway to the Andaman Islands. For me, it was originally about being able to store a kayak in my apartment closet. The Best Everyday Gadget Gift Ideas Under $50, The Best Gifts for Every Woman in Your Life, The Gifts Gear Patrol Staffers Want This Year, This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. That was kind of the first folding test and the first design challenge that was solved, probably a day or two after I read the article. The Oru Kayak Beach LT also has an adjustable footrest, backrest, and carrying handles for easy maneuverability. Oru Kayak uploaded and added to Oru Kayak University: Paddling 101 8 months ago 9:52 Oru Kayak How To: Sweep and Draw Strokes - Duration: 9 minutes, 52 seconds. We make origami kayaks that fold up into a portable box. The Oru Kayak Beach LT folding kayak measures 12 feet by 28 inches and weighs approximately 25 pounds. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io, This EDC Flashlight Offers Ultimate Protection, One of the Most Anticipated Hiking Boots Is Here, Get 15 Percent Off This Must-Have Pocket Knife, For Your Next Trip, Upgrade Your Bags with Thule, This Fancy Camp Gear Is Nearly Idiot-Proof, Our Most-Shopped Outdoor Gear Guides of 2020, Enter to Win Cannondale's Fastest Road Bike. Lists Featuring This Company. Willis was leafing through the pages of The New Yorker five years later and came across an interesting article. At the same time, I would take it on the subway and put it in the trunk of my small sedan. The event is open to the public and attendees will be able to test paddle the Oru Kayak. Founded in 2012, Oru Kayak is a leading innovator in the kayaking industry and the first to bring a foldable kayak to market utilizing the principles of origami. Oru’s Beach LT kayak. Founded over ten years, Oru is a brick-and-mortar brand that offers the most durable and high-performing folding kayaks for beginners to advanced kayakers. Oru Kayak started when designer and founder Anton Willis had to put his fiberglass kayak into storage. Founded in 2012, Oru Kayak is a foldable kayak and is Anton Willis’ answer to the struggle of getting outdoors when living in a large, busy and crowded urban area. Gear Patrol participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. Beyond the functionality of its engineering, the Oru Kayak stands apart from the competition for its superb on the water performance, durability, easy assembly, and stylish design. People have come up with some other interesting things: They have put them on prop planes and float planes to fly into remote lakes or fjords. I believe in this great product and the mission of the company which is: "Transform the way people enjoy outdoors". The first workable folding kayak was built by Alfred Heurich in 1905, a German architectural student. In the fall of 2012, I wrote about a new product I had designed, and the company I founded to produce it. But I just stood back and let our sons (who … That took a complete re-engineering of all the box folds. He began with printer paper, then moved on to cardboard, and finally to that same corrugated plastic used to make lawn signs and U.S. Q: What was the biggest roadblock that came up in the design process? Paacked away and ready for transport. Inspired by an article on new advances in the art and science of origami, Willis sketched a few ideas for a folding kayak. Anton Willis, the founder of Oru, got the idea for a folding kayak after he saw a story in The New Yorker about origami. I’m Anton Willis of Oru Kayak. 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