About Us

Our Story

steve and james launch company

James and Steve ready to leave for Germany to launch the brand at the international trade fair

tootega launched in late 2010 and in that time has managed to go from brand concept through to an internationally recognised and well-regarded manufacturer of sit on top kayaks.

Now supported by a dense dealer network in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world tootega have managed to achieve the solid foundations of a major manufacturer. With 13 boats in the range, tootega has a fresh approach to the design and manufacture of sit on top kayaks.

At tootega we have a healthy respect for the roots of our sport. This is reflected in our brand name. The name tootega comes from ancient Inuit mythology. tootega was a wizened goddess who could walk on water, and was a protectorate of the Eskimo kayak fishing fleets.

At tootega we love all things to do with the water, but more than anything we have a passion for paddle sports. When we’re not busy developing new products, you’ll most likely find us out in the waves at the beach, or going for a leisurely paddle along a local backwater.

Luckily for us our passions and our work are one and the same thing, and we’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world in search of both paddling adventures and design inspiration. We’ve drawn on all our adventures and experience to create a range of products which are easy to paddle, with features exactly where you need them.

At tootega kayaks we’re rather proud of the fact that we design, develop, and manufacture all our kayaks in house in our custom built manufacturing facility nestled in the Norfolk countryside. We're never complacent - the tootega range will continue to evolve, and to ensure your enjoyment lasts as long as our famous lifetime guarantee.

Our Factory

installing akna

Installing and running Akna our oven for the first time

At tootega kayaks we’re rather proud of the fact that we design, develop, and manufacture all our kayaks in house in our custom built manufacturing facility nestled in the Norfolk countryside.

We started with a few passionate friends and as time went on we realised that we needed to create our own production facility whereby we could manufacture our boats to our own high standards.

Our location was perfect, we had a large new industrial unit with super friendly neighbours, it was this community spirit that helped us in the early days overcome any problems we faced. Slowly but surely our new oven ‘Akna’ was lovingly installed and the trappings of the factory where custom built by our in house team. Staff joined the company and we transferred production over to our new factory.

Since the early days we have managed to constantly improve our factory doubling it in size with a brand new custom outfitting and storage building, creating a mammoth warehouse and dispatch building housing boats destined for the far corners of the globe.

Luckily for us our passions and our work are one and the same thing, and we’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world in search of both paddling adventures and design inspiration. We’ve drawn on all our adventures and experience to create a range of products, which are easy to paddle, with features exactly where you need them.

Although our processes have changed and been honed to perfection our production ethos is still exactly the same. All our staff take care and pride in their work, many of them are keen kayakers themselves so understand the importance creating a quality product. All our boats are tracked thorough the facility by their individual HIN number, this record follows the boat from birth through every stage in its manufacturing. All our staff check and sign off each boat at every stage, finally each boat is given a stringent quality control check, at which point if it passes, the birthcard is filled out and embossed with its lifetime warranty seal of approval.

Our Passion

steve and james product testing

James and Steve 'Product Testing'

At tootega we love all things to do with the water, but more than anything we have a passion for paddle sports. When we’re nxot busy developing new products, you’ll most likely find us out in the waves at the beach, or going for a leisurely paddle along a local backwater.

From the early days of competitive surf kayaking and building our own boats and competing on the world stage, or traveling on adventures discovering the roots of our sport and cataloging the soon to be forgotten history passed down through generations. Our passion runs through our veins, we hope that you find this in every one of our designs and products.

We constantly strive to improve, and this comes about not only from a culture that we have developed here at tootega whereby we constantly question if everything we do is the best. But also from being out in our own products, using them as they are intended, sometimes using them as they are not intended, but hey that’s just the fun of product testing!

Being kayaker owned the whole ethos of the company is about getting out on the water and experiencing the wonders only available from being immersed in the environment your are exploring. We hope that you are inspired by our products to create your own adventures...

Steve and James

Why it’s More Than a Boat

caballitos de totora

Traditional reed kayaks - Caballitos de Totora

 Design

For thousands of years kayaks have been lovingly crafted using natural materials such as wood and reeds. These natural materials offer an even fairing effect, bending progressively to make aesthetically pleasing lines, which more importantly guide water gently through their curves creating hull forms which are as efficient as they are graceful.

This time honored craftsmanship is beautiful, but time consuming and not always perfectly symmetrical and so over time boat builders have floated away from these traditional techniques and increasingly moved towards computer aided design

CAD offers quick development times, levels of unparalleled accuracy and the ability to model how the kayak will behave - both in the water and how the kayak will actually mould during production. These appealing attributes have led to CAD very much becoming the design method of choice for boat builders worldwide, but all the convenience and accuracy comes at a cost. This cost isn’t financial, but at the loss of the smooth fairing, and graceful lines that traditional methods give. CAD is simply not capable of blending and fairing lines in the same way a simple baton of wood can.

james design

Using traditional wooden batons on lifesize drawings

At tootega our answer is to combine the best of both worlds. Our design team start any new design with a sketch pad, talking through key concepts and create an artists impression of the finished product. From these key sketches and the associated calculations of drag, centre of effort, balance, and volume distribution we then draw a full 1:1 scale model of the design on paper rolls.

During the drawing of this 1:1 model we fair all major lines with wooden batons, much the same way as our Inuit counterparts would have 1000’s of years ago. These graceful lines are then scanned at full size and imported into CAD, where we use them to build highly accurate 3D models of the finished kayak.

This fusion of techniques allows us to develop designs with the speed, efficiency, and accuracy of CAD modelling whilst still retaining all the benefits of traditional methods, and is a system that we are rightly proud of.


making a tool

Marking out the textured areas on the mould

 Making a tool

The next part of the process includes more than one trade secret that we’re not allowed to divulge, but essentially we use CNC machines to generate any prototypes that we wish to trial, and once we’re happy with the result we develop the mould tooling for the production process.

The tooling is made from cast aluminium. The aluminium is cast in chemically bonded sand from mould tool patterns made using a mixture of CNC machining and more traditional methods. The raw castings are then matched, cleaned, and polished in-house by our engineering team. We’ve tried every trick in the book to speed this process up, but in the end a great tool comes down to patience, and lots of hand sanding. Some larger, more complex tools can take in excess of 500 hours to finish.


matt working

Working on prototype production techniqes

 Beginning production

When the engineering team are close to a finished tool we usually test it to find any hidden gremlins, and only once we are totally satisfied do we produce a short run of pre-production samples.

These samples are rigorously tested, both in-house and externally to ensure everything meets our expectations, and only once completely satisfied do we commit to beginning full production.

Full production begins with extensive staff training. Our production and outfitting teams work together with the designers and engineers to ensure everyone has a complete understanding of the product and any unique features it may have

Only when everyone is completely satisfied will production be signed off, and tootega logos be added to the mould – at this point the new design is now a tootega product.


“We set out to achieve a totally modern manufacturing facility that works hand in hand with traditional methods and techniques”

Steve Childs, Director