Sam Rizzetta Canoes

In the Boundary Waters

On this page:

  • Free canoe and kayak safety flotation and rescue information
  • Canoe and Kayak building book
  • Wasp Canoe
  • Kayoo, decked canoe/kayak


How can you improve your odds?

Safer Canoes and Kayaks, answers these questions. FREE booklet has 22 jam packed pages of extremely useful information on flotation and self-rescue, newly updated and condensed for PDF format. There is more complete information in the book below.

Canoes & Kayaks

CANOE AND KAYAK BUILDING THE LIGHT AND EASY WAY, International Marine, McGraw-Hill Publishers, is available through many bookstores and online book sellers: Sam Rizzetta at Amazon

I occasionally design and build very light weight Kevlar and carbon fiber canoes and kayaks. And I’ve developed convenient methods for do-it-yourself, at home construction which are described in this book. If you have tools and a space to work, you can make a safe, ultra light canoe. Many of the photos in the book show building Wasp and Kayoo, the decked canoes pictured below. The book also contains valuable flotation and safety information.

The personal responses I’ve gotten to the book have all been very positive. However, some online reviewers misunderstood what the book is about. To clarify, this book provides a method for do-it-yourself building of Kevlar and carbon canoes and kayaks. It is NOT about mass production, or wooden boats, or boats other than small canoes and kayaks. Nor is it about skin-on-frame boat construction. A special fabric-on-frame form is used, but that is not part of the finished boat. As listed on the front cover, there are plans for two (solo) canoes and a kayak (or decked canoe). I build and paddle small solo canoes and touring kayaks and I limit the book to those. However, there is clear information on how to modify designs to your own needs and how to use my building methods with plans for designs from other sources. Creative individuals might apply the methods to a wide range of projects.

An important part of the book is on flotation systems that allow you to save yourself and your canoe if it capsizes; this should interest everyone who paddles canoes or recreational kayaks. There is more on the flotation system below.

Wasp on Antietam Creek in winter.

Wasp is one of my favorite canoes. It is a radical design for a safer and more ergonomic solo canoe that I’ve experimented with and refined over the years. The design is called Wasp because it combines flared bouyant ends with a narrow tumblehome waist which makes it easier to paddle. Paddle strokes can be made closer to the hull centerline to provide straight tracking. But it also turns on-a-dime. A pleasant cruise speed can be maintained without much effort due to a hull that is efficient below the waterline. Wasp is especially resistant to capsizing. And, with my flotation system installed, it can be easily re-entered after a capsize, making it much safer. The ergonomic features that provide a shorter reach to the water with the paddle also make Wasp especially nice for fishing. Smaller paddlers find Wasp easy to use, but its large volume hull also carries heavy paddlers and lots of gear. The light weight Kevlar prototype has proven its efficiency, easy handling, and durability during years of hard use on a wide variety of waters.

Kayoo in the Boundary Waters.

Kayoo is a decked canoe/kayak with built-in self-rescue flotation.  Plans for both Wasp and Kayoo are included in the canoe building book. There are also plans for a small, 11′ 7″, ultra light weight, and simple to build canoe called Dragonfly. And there are chapters on making paddles, making kayaks and decked canoes, and on making a scale model canoe to learn how to use composite materials.

An important feature of the book is on flotation. My flotation system provides stability to a flooded canoe or kayak. It helps prevent capsizing but also allows a solo paddler to re-enter a capsized boat from deep water without any assistance. The flotation is light weight, inexpensive, easy to install, and has been tested on canoes and kayaks 27 inches wide and wider. It is not an outrigger; the flotation goes inside the boat and does not interfere in any way with normal paddling performance. The flotation becomes effective and very helpful if a boat becomes flooded or swamped, or if it capsizes. The book describes how to outfit existing canoes and recreational kayaks and also how to incorporate the flotation while building a new boat.