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This Eco-Friendly Kayak Is Made From More Than 60 Pounds of Recycled Plastic

Ellen Gutoskey
Glamour shots of the Reprisal kayak.
Glamour shots of the Reprisal kayak. / (Kayak) Robert Turner/Osiris Outdoor; (Background) sebastian-julian/iStock via Getty Images
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For eco-friendly adventurers, it’s a great modern quandary that outdoor activities often require products made from materials that contribute to environmental harm—namely, plastics.

Opting for items manufactured from recycled plastics can help. To that end, Osiris Outdoor co-founders Robert Turner and Wes Smith designed a sit-on-top kayak that fits the bill, comprising some 60 pounds of recycled Polyethylene plastic and nothing else.

Turner and Smith are both outdoor enthusiasts with engineering degrees from North Carolina State University and full-time jobs in the industry (Turner works in civil design; Smith in manufacturing). The idea to develop a sustainable kayak came not only from their own love of “getting out on the water,” as Turner tells Mental Floss, but also because they’re “acutely aware of the overabundance of discarded plastic in America.” Even much of what’s conscientiously tossed into recycling bins never actually gets recycled

“One of the driving reasons behind that is there simply isn’t a great enough demand to incentivize manufacturers to buy and use recycled plastic over its cheaper, easier to source, virgin counterpart,” Turner says. “Wes and I wanted to help change that narrative by creating a quality, modern, and popular product from recycled plastics that would have a lifetime of use ahead of it.”

The Reprisal kayak seems to be well on its way to ticking all three boxes. Within 12 hours of launching their Kickstarter campaign, Turner and Smith had reached their goal of raising $20,000 to bring the boat to market. As for quality: The recycled plastic used to make it underwent strength and impact tests at NC State’s Materials Science and Engineering labs, where it performed as well as (or, in some cases, even better than) other non-recycled plastics. 

osiris outdoor founders with reprisal kayak
Turner (left) and Smith (right) with the Reprisal. / Robert Turner/Osiris Outdoor

With its matte black finish, which Turner says adds "an element of ‘stealth’ to it,” the Reprisal certainly looks modern; and it boasts a number of features meant to appeal to kayakers of all kinds. There are fishing rod holders, adjustable foot braces, multiple storage compartments—including a watertight hatch ideal for your phone—and more. The 10-foot-long, 65-pound vessel is also pontoon-like in its resistance to capsizing.

“You can practically touch your shoulder to the water without flipping over,” Turner says. “This makes it really easy to paddle, fish, and even stand up in our kayak without fear of tipping.”

reprisal kayak from osiris outdoor
The Reprisal in action. / Robert Turner/Osiris Outdoor

Right now, interested parties can reserve a Reprisal from the first manufacturing round (set for delivery this July) by pledging $649 or more through Kickstarter. A $1349-or-more pledge will earn you two kayaks from the second batch, with an estimated delivery date in October. There are also a handful of smaller sums attached to hats, shirts, and other Osiris Outdoor-branded apparel made from recycled materials. 

If all goes according to plan with the company’s flagship product, the co-founders hope to expand their kayak collection. “We envision the company hosting a full line of boats with differing feature packages to intrigue every style of paddler,” Turner says. Beyond that, anything that falls under the umbrella of “outdoor sporting goods” is pretty much still on the table.

reprisal kayak by osiris outdoor
Another action shot of Reprisal users. / Robert Turner/Osiris Outdoor

“We’ve discussed the ideas of paddle boards and coolers,” Turner says, “but [we] also want to hear ideas from our supporters to see what they think should be our next big product line made from recycled plastic!”

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