maanantai 15. kesäkuuta 2015

Birth of a Kolibri

I was lucky to be part of a birth of a new canoe. And not just any canoe. This is the first ever production model C1 canoe made in Finland. It was designed by Mr Ari Holmi at Welhonpesa company. Welhonpesa is an old paddling company, reseller, importer and they have had their own kayak & C2 production for years here in Finland.

I am open canoe paddler and I am a graphic designer too.This was also my first canoe, which I had the opportunity to design the logo and coloring.

Let's look at some pictures.

First strokes with No Name -canoe.
It was easy to paddle, felt fast to its size, tracked well and turned on a dime.
It felt too good to be true.
We were lucky the winter was late, so we could test the prototype quite thoroughly at sea.
Sliding seat was not needed, mid section felt inch or two too low. Otherwise No Name was very promising. We even liked the robust look and gray colour. It was like an army canoe.
The first production model was introduced at Helsinki Boat Show.
Before the introductory paddle at the the fair's pool I hurried to the Stockmann's department store and bought some Finnish flag stickers to tell the news! You can see the flags at the bow.
After the fair we took No Name to river tests.
It was supposed to handle well in moderate, class I to II rapids.
We had very little snow in Helsinki, so the river was quite dry.
But we had a good chance to see, how the hull materials took the punishment from the stones.
It did well. Beacuse of the flexible epoxy used, it behaved like a Royalex canoe.
It was tough and slid flexibly over the stones.
Next I took the canoe to my home and started thinking a name to this beauty.
It came quite easy: tracks well, goes easily and accurately where you want it to go, is light and lively.
It is Kolibri. Hummingbird written the Finnish way with a K.
Testing designs on the real thing.
Next test was to take Kolibri to the Vohandu Marathon.
The marathon is very close the largest paddling event in the Continental Europe with over 700 competitors.
The task is to paddle 100 km long Vohandu river in the Southern Estonia within 24 hours.
If you are pro, you take long and narrow double kayak. If you want to find out, if the canoe is easy to paddle all day, you take C1 to Vohandu. Kolibri has given me the impression it can keep nice speed with little effort.
I wanted to take this test with Kolibri.
The river helps you, but there are several portages and wiers to slow you down.
After 50 km my average speed moving was 7,7 km/h! That is pretty nice for a 13' 6" (412 cm) canoe.
This was the third time I was in Vohandu and I paddled almost an hour faster than last year.
My time was 14:32:28,1, and overall position was 284 of 472 finished paddlers.
Classes are from canoes to kayaks to rafts and SUPs. Kolibri passed this test with flying colours.
After Vohandu Kolibri was tested by several paddlers in different parts of Finland.
It got good grades every time.
Ari Holmi has designed several kayaks, he seems to know, how to make an easy moving canoe.
Production widened to different materials and skin designs.
From Glas/Diolen/Basalt hybrid to Hardcore Expedition and Carbon tech hulls.
I still waited for my coloring design to the hull been made.
Finally a friend of mine ordered the first Design Kolibri.
He really liked the looks and the behaviour.
Thank you Jukka for choosing pink and sending me nice pictures.
My idea of the Kolibri hand made Colouring is, that every boat is individual.
You can order what colour you like and still the design shows you have a Kolibri.



The purpose of this story of Kolibri is honestly to sell it a lot. With moderate price and tuff materials, clubs should buy Kolibris in pairs. This boat is very easy to novices and still gives a lot to a more experienced paddlers.
Lenght: 412cm 13'6 - Width: 76cm / 30in
Weight: Glas/Diolen/Basalt hybrid, weight. appox. 17kg
Also Hardcore Expedition and Carbon Tech hull

Just order yours from Welhonpesa or contact Ari Holmi (welhonpesä at gmail.com). Say high from me. I thank Ari Holmi & Welhonpesa, it has been very interesting to be part of this process. :)


Off-Road -melonnan äänenkannattaja.
The Voice of Off Road Paddling.

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