my homemade oc1

Hi guys if you haven't read my other posts I am living in south Africa and am in the process of building myself an oc1 out of an old surf ski having never actually seen an oc in real life.

Anyway I have almost finished my iako mounts on the ski and have started shaping my ama out of the foam from an old surfboard and have started making a paddle with marine ply/epoxy blade and bamboo/epoxy shaft. the iakos are also going to be made from bamboo and are bent and drying out as I type this.

I will continue to put updates on here if anyone is interested any post some pix if I can.

any suggestions are welcomed and I would like to thank all the users on here that have been so helpful so far.

I am attaching pics of the paddle so far I attached it with a filler of epoxy resin and wood flour and plan to put a layer of glass over the top when I have finished faring it.

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Submitted by mupwi on Thu, 02/19/2009 - 11:34pm

mupwi, that's pretty damn good. Are you going to put a T top on the paddle shaft, that will help you control the paddle better?

Looking forward to seeing your Oc1 complete.

Mupwi, you are following in the footsteps of many a great paddler doing what you are with a ski and an ama. I think Tommy Connors might be re-living some fond memories with a smile on his face reading about your ideas.

Keep us posted.

Cheers Rambo

#1 Thu, 02/19/2009 - 11:44pm

hey Rambo yes I am planing to put a T top on top probably tonight or tomorow I usualy padell my ski with some friends who canoe on sundays so I am hoping to have it done to test it out then in flat water even if the ama isnt finished.

I cant wait to get it out on open ocean surfing swells for mile after mile my dream is to do a trip up the east coast of Africa and maybe circumnavigate Africa on a small boat like this just beaching and camping each night I don't think the ski will cut it for carrying gear but its a step in the right direction and fun for training

#2 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 2:36am


Post picture of your OC1 in progress please !!

#3 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 4:35am


pretty exciting. you are a brave person to initiate change.

#4 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 5:47am

You might be better off if you take the old double sided surfski paddle, cut it in half and then put a t-grip on it.

I appreciate your enthusiasm and look forward to some pick of your canoe! Regarding enthusiasm, I made a plywood fishing canoe 20 years ago and the thing worked great. Not long after that some kids took it out and sunk it in Kailua bay and I never saw it again.

#5 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 6:19am

do you have any pic's of that canoe ? that wound up a offering to the canoe gods.

My first attempt at a OC1 wound up a ceiling art piece for our elders, it was a dug out. it had to be 25 feet. It was heavy. they wanted a Canoe that looked like a long boat. that was made about 15 years ago maybe longer.

keep all your attempts. I have many, and regret letting some go. I have a bin of paddles in the workshop of different styles we tried over the years.

#6 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 7:35am

What are you using for ama/iako connections ?

#7 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 7:50am

No pics of that canoe. If you see it washed up on the beach in Kailua let me know. It was orange with a hao driftwood ama. Ha ha!
25 years ago you would see these plywood flat bottom canoes pulled up on every beach. Last time I was there I don't remember seeing but a few.

#8 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 7:10pm

I love the idea of each crew making there race canoe it makes the whole thing fuller some how. but I sure do love my Hurricane. I remember my first shot at a paddle was a old oar.
this guy I paddle for in the 80's told me when he started training his crew ( Raven chief canoe club ) they were pre teenagers he made some plywood canoes 8 feet long and they would race each other. man they grew up to be fast.

I found a pic of my first shot at a OC1


#9 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 9:23pm

Thanks for sharing it, looks very nice, mulus - and fast.

#10 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 9:30pm

25 years ago you would see these plywood flat bottom canoes pulled up on every beach. Last time I was there I don’t remember seeing but a few.

Before they made the current Waianae Small Boat Harbor, there use to be a bunch of those flat bottom plywood canoes with outriggers chained to the coconut trees and sign poles near the boat ramp at Pokai Bay. They were used to get out to the boats that were tied up to the cables in the middle of the harbor. They all disappeared (or were removed if they were abandoned) after all the boats moved over to the current Waianae Small Boat Harbor.

#11 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 10:53pm

ok so I gave my paddle a bit of a stress test the other day and decided it didn't need any more reinforcing and I was itching to get it on the water to see how this huge single blade feels so ive varnished the whole thing unfortunately the wind blew and the rain bucketed down on Sunday ( my usual paddling day) so no testing was preformed my missus has a busy weekend this weekend (work commitments) and her car is stuffed so she will be using mine so no testing this coming weekend but hopefully this will mean more time finishing the ama and iakos.

The thing now is Im having doubts on the shape of my ama I dont want to have to rebuild it over and over has anyone got a plan for an oc1 ama. maybe in kayak foundry or something similar just a basic idea as I am unsure of what I see in photos what sort of displacement/length should I be looking at for in an ama.

oh and I spent a large portion of Saturday brushing up on my fiberglassing skills repairing an old long board given to me by a friend that didn't think it was worth repairing

#12 Wed, 02/25/2009 - 1:49am

Like me, it sounds like you don’t have the necessary skills to build an ama from a mold. How about a capped 4" or 10cm pvc or pva plastic pipe (thin sewer type) and some heat. You want the ama to sit on the water at the same place as your canoe seat and go up off the water from there as reserve buoyancy. If heat is applied evenly you can shape, stretch, twist and form it easy. Make sure it’s long enough so you have room in between the iato to paddle, approx. 2m long.
If not, we used to use Hao branch drift wood. (A very light but strong balsa type wood) usually shaped and unpainted.

#13 Wed, 02/25/2009 - 7:04am


If i was stuck and needed a fast solution to a ama. I would get a hole bunch of 2 litres pop bottles, and cut and put them together. and glass over top, maybe 10 once then, 1.5 mat ,then another 10 once cloth. and and if you made a banana shape you could fasten it with inner tubes.

rudamentry and bumpy maby but would work.

#14 Wed, 02/25/2009 - 11:12am

Mulus, thats one good one!!! plus he can paddle in the meantime he shape a state of the art 2020 ama design.....
what ever happend to Aquas fish tale ama?

mupwi, congratulations!!!! i can relate to what you been through and as soon as you are in the water with your own home made oc-1 you will be a happy man, not that the prosses is not a blast....but to be in the water after years of dreaming it!!!!

this is a ling to a pic of my own oc-1 kanu down here in argentina, i been riding her for a year now and i love her deeply!!!

aloha hoe!

#15 Wed, 02/25/2009 - 11:41am

Nice pic, Mariano, good to hear from you, bro! That canoe is a real beauty!

#16 Wed, 02/25/2009 - 12:07pm

what ever happend to Aquas fish tale ama?

I think a shark ate it.

#17 Wed, 02/25/2009 - 12:18pm


Thanks it the best I could come up with on short notice. necessity is the mother of invention. man you made a nice canoe. it sure doesn't look home made.


For club trainers. we got a hold of a very old Vaa mold and made a couple with maybe 400$ per canoe on materials. on average its three or four seconds difference on 500 meters compared to out top of the market canoes over seas canoes. that could be another way to go. if you get that opportunity.

#18 Wed, 02/25/2009 - 5:50pm

Mupwi. Let see some pics as this thing progresses into a reality.

#19 Wed, 02/25/2009 - 8:34pm

I am quite confident in my skills to build it just the shape I am warring about as from the pic I have seen im getting confused some pics ive seen seem very straight and in contact with the water like mulus's pic of the wooden looking boat above then others look like only about one third of the ama is in contact with the water most of the time like in the link mariano posted also I am not sure on what the displacement should be. my thinking so far is in chopy water or for surfing ect the type like mariano posted I would think would be better from my calculations about a 20lb displacement about 8ft long and a beam of about 6" basicaly thin canoe with a very upturned bow attached is what I was thinking of

#20 Wed, 02/25/2009 - 8:51pm

Mipwi the yak file can only be viewed by people with the Kayak foundry software installed. Try taking a screen shot and save as jpg like i have.

I have modified the ama for you and saved it as Yak2 attachment below, play around with it but it should work better. Try taking some more beam out of the rear above the waterline and maybe reducing the overall length.

Cheers Rambo

Image Hosted by

#21 Wed, 02/25/2009 - 9:46pm

Don't forget the waterline is adjustable up and down if you click on it.


#22 Wed, 02/25/2009 - 9:52pm

thanks Rambo but is my thinking on the right track re upturned bow and general dimensions other than overall length? what would you suggest for the length 2m as suggested above?

#23 Wed, 02/25/2009 - 9:57pm

I shouldn't say it, but the easiest way to design an ama with this software is to profile an existing Ama, enter the dimensions in the program and print the stations. You get a clone that way.

Not nice but there are lots of old ama's to choose from for your personal use.

Yes 2 - 2.1 metres is plenty. Your surf ski has heeps of stability so your ama could be rigged lite and in close so that it skims the water and lessens the drag.

Good luck.

#24 Thu, 02/26/2009 - 2:14am

I think ill go for the bent pvc pipe idea for now to get on the water a bit faster and look at building a more hightech one like above at a later stage thanks for all the input guys

#25 Thu, 02/26/2009 - 12:38am

Mulus gave you an awesome feedback, just make a fast ama with what you get on hand, and eventually, as you paddle happy, you will find the time to shape your own design.

i did both, shape a plug for the hull, and then the plug for the AMA, it took me long years, to make it cherry, but now after i build the molds and build 9 0c-1 out of it it a great feeling, plus more people get the chance to enjoy it.

just go for it, i wasted to much time with the details....and at the end, all it matters is to work it, spend the time and the money and before you know you in da waters!!!

Jim, mahalos for the complements
Mulus, for real is home made, i have pics of the hole precces if you like see. she is my baby girl!!!!
Rambo witness and helped plenty through the years aswell!!
check out my wifes one, i borrowed one winter morning....wetsuits and all

aloha gange!!

#26 Thu, 02/26/2009 - 6:36am

I have only made a couple of ama's but I was thinking about this video I seen on Kayaks and maybe it would work the same for ama's and your canoe would ride steadier with a ama that goes through the wave. Maybe?

#27 Thu, 02/26/2009 - 6:34am

I remember watching on this site as you were making it . and what I admire is you made your own design . that's great also expensive. we had a mold made for our dugout solo's, so I can appreciate the cost .

#28 Thu, 02/26/2009 - 7:05am

hi guys due to work being hectic the last few weeks there have been no now advances on this project although I did gt a chance to take my ski out for a paddle yesterday morning in the river and tested out my paddle pictured above the results where much better than I ever expected I have not yet added the t top but it was still very easy to control the acceleration was awesome compared to my fathers carbon double blade paddle I normally use and paddling felt quite comfortable I was expecting to be a bit unbalanced not having the outrigger but this was not the case. it actually felt more balanced than normal one observation it it did get a couple of dings in the edges but I think a strip of fiberglass and some epoxy will solve this problem as at the moment it is only varnished.
I do feel for this method of paddling it would suit a bit higher seating position but I am sure this will easily be corrected buy a foam seat pad. All in all I give this paddle a thumbs up

#29 Sun, 03/08/2009 - 10:29pm

hi all an update
unfortunatly no progress as I am moving at the moment good news is the new place has more space for this project and I have just bee geven a raise so will have more resources to throw at it. I am going to have a go at the high tech ama and have come up with a new way to rapid prototype it we will see if it works in about 2 weeks when I have finished moving and have settled down

#30 Mon, 03/16/2009 - 9:17pm

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