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.
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 of creating a quality product. All our boats are tracked through 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.
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 honoured 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.
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.
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.
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.
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