kayak building workshop video is online

By lisa.

Our new fantastic canoe and kayak building workshop video is online! Check it out, enjoy it and come for a workshop to Berlin or Mecklenburg.

The video was filmed in april 2019 during a workshop at kaosberlin. Thanks to all participants and especially to Timm Wille, who captured the workshop in such detail. We hope you enjoy! Spread the word :)

And here is the canoe and kayak building trailer . Check it out!

Ataqan gets Sun!

By nikola.

Season was never really over this winter, so mild it passed by. But now we make it official: last February day, a sunny, beautiful clear blue sky. Ned and me went for a stylish ride in UrbanIndian’s leanest vessels. Season is definitely open and “Inuit” and “Ataqan” went for a first sunny ride of the year.


We chose a spot at "Große Krampe" in Müggelheim as a starting point and shot off into the sun, south wise. Lots of wild geese were an amazingly early sign of a coming Spring. Nice and quiet we rolled on... The Boats are smooth and very fast and with our new paddles riding became almost effortless.


After a while we decided to have our lunch at the "corner" of Langersee and Sedinsee.


We ate nicely, had a short nap and than wandered into the woods behind us to look for eventual good pieces of wood for our paddle and other carving projects. However we found only some birch bark which will be suitable for little boxes or so. Then we went on with our ride.


Oh, how lazy it can get under such a friendly February Sun... We went on into Sedinsee, viewed lots of big time beaver activity on the shore, said Hi! to couple of white herons and went on paddling randomly, enjoying the sun. The decision was made to start the way back... it was enough for the first day of the year.


We did what we set out to do: try the new paddles. They are awesome! Under 800g, pure wood! We'll make a lot more of these for the coming season... But the sunny ride washed all business thoughts away. See you soon again. Stay tuned for our workshops and many oncoming novelties in this season! Your UrbanIndian Team:)

Kanubau Kurs und der NDR schaut zu!

By nikola.

Vom 4.-10.Juli 2016 haben wir einen wunderbaren Kanubau Workshop an der Fleether Mühle gegeben; Unsere engagierten Teilnehmer Alexander und Kester bauten ein Seekajak und einen Kanadier für 2 Personen . Nikola verfeinerte zuvor noch einmal die Zeichnung des skin on frame Kanadiers für größtmögliche Stabilität, ohne die Schnelligkeit des 5m Kanus einzubüßen. Und Alexanders Seekajak wurde genau auf sein Gewicht, seine Körpergröße und seine Schuhgröße zugeschnitten, um dem Kajakfahrer ein optimales Fahrgefühl zu ermöglichen;


Am 3.Arbeitstag kam dann ein nettes Filmteam vom NDR vorbei und blieb den ganzen Tag, um zu verfolgen, wie sich unser Kanu und Kajak entwickelte. Dabei entstand ein super Bericht über die UrbanIndian Kanubau Workshops in der Natur, den ihr in folgendem Link ansehen könnt; Ihr findet uns ab Minute 39.


Kajakbau_ Seekajakcockpitbau_Kajakbau_KursKajakbau_ Seekajak

Nach getaner Kanubau Arbeit verbrachten wir unsere Abende gemeinsam am Lagerfeuer und kochten aus einem gußeisernen Topf direkt über dem Feuer verschiedene Eintopfvarianten, wunderbar!

So erreichten wir am Freitag, dass die Holzstruktur unseres skin on frame Kanus und Kajaks fertig gebaut und geölt waren. Hier die stolzen Kanubauer samt der wunderbaren Holzstrukturen, die sie selbst erschaffen haben:


Dann gings in die letzte Runde des Kanubau Workshops: wir spannten die Baumwolle auf den Kanadier und auf das Seekajak und bestrichen unsere Haut, um sie wasserfest zu machen; Am Ende noch die Schutzleisten angebracht und fertig war das eigene Kanu und Kajak!

Am letzten Tag machte die ganze Gruppe eine phantastische 4 Seen-Kanutour von 17 km zwischen dem Rätzsee und Vilzsee als Abschluss des Kanubau Workshops und der neue Kanadier und das Seekajak ihre Jungfernfahrt!



Informiert euch hier über neue Kanubau und Kajakbau - Termine!

Eindrücke unseres Kanubau-Workshops von letzter Woche

By nikola.

Linda, Sönke, Marc und Steve bauten letzte Woche mit Nikola 2 lange offene Einsitzer, einen geschlossenen XL-Einsitzer und einen geschlossenen Doppelsitzer.

Hier ein paar Prozessbilder dieses tollen Bootsbau-Workshops in der Berliner Werkstatt von UrbanIndian.

RahmenbauHolzrahmenbau 3Herstellung des Rahmens 2Holzrahmenbau 2

Zuerst bauten die vier BootsbauerInnen das Holzskelett ihrer Doppelpaddel-Kanus.

Herstellung des RahmensHolzrahmenbau

Dann bezogen sie dieses Holzskelett mit fester Baumwolle, die dem Kanu seine äußere Form gibt.

BespannenBespannen mit Baumwolle 3Bespannen mit BaumwolleBespannen des Holzrahmens mit Baumwolle

Zuletzt wurde die Baumwolle wasserfest gemacht und dementsprechend mit einer Farbe in zwei Schritten besprichen.

Streichen der Baumwolle mit wasserfester FarbeBestreichen der Baumwolle mit wasserfester FarbeStreichen

Discovering Löcknitz!

By nikola.

What a nice day in wild nature we had! Like always we started a little late from the workshop... This time the aim was to paddle the Löcknitz from Grünheide (at the lakes Werlsee and Petzsee) westwards (because the eastern part of the river is forbidden for boats). Two years ago we already had a beautiful day walk at this tiny river with lots of serpentines, and the fary tale-forest around we kept in very good memory! So off, we went!

Löcknitz 1Löcknitz 2UrbanIndian an der Löcknitz

At first sight we already realized, that this trip will be no leisurely paddling around, because this tiny creek packs a punch: small rapids, good current and first of all trees and bushes fallen over into the river, grow into it and look dangerously out of the water. Therefore mostly steering, steering, steering, manoeuvring, action, JUHUHUHU!!!!!!!!
After some hundred meters the first big trunk over the river: the original plan was to slip underneeth elegantly, but didn´t work out at all; alternative: boats out of the water, go around and in again!

Löcknitz 3Löcknitz 4Kanu - Löcknitz

Even without leaves like yesterday this swampy landscape with high willows, oak trees, maples and beeches looked wild and beautiful!

Although paddling only 10 km in total we were the whole time busy in observing the water current and look for under water branches to go around. In the beginning we were driving two times onto a half sunk tree trunk and could free ouselfs only in seesawing back and forth. During the trip we bettered our technique by taking a good run-up before these spots, to slide over smoothly, which worked out perfectly!

One spot, where the fallen branches and trunks were quite mounted up, forming a sort of natural dam where the current was stronger, we couldn´t make, because of realistic risk to just tip over (and the water is still very cold in spite of this sunny day), so we got off and used the break for lunching and a small UrbanIndian-photo-session! And in again!

Here a tranquil spot with catamaran-paddle-construction and chill out in the boat!

Kanus auf der LöcknitzLöcknitz 10Löcknitz 5

For this time that´s all! Go there and DIY! Best greetings from the river Löcknitz!
Your UrbanIndian in the swamp

UrbanIndian goes ice-breaking in the night!

By nikola.

It was a more or less long planed weekend trip. This winter wasn't convincing temperature-wise so we decided to give it a try by the end of February. My friend Christian took couple of days off in advance and was jumping of excitement already a week before the trip.

We didn't quite know where we would go so I checked the map, looking for the parts of rivers or lakes that could be connected in order to make a round trip. There are many such possibilities here in Brandenburg but most of them depend on sluices and weirs which are, all of them, permanently closed from December to March. Not an easy task... We were a bit time-limited and didn't want to go from A to B and back because it's kind of dull (or at least I thought so).

Anyway, I found what I was looking for. Near Templin, some 80km north from Berlin, there are several lakes connected at one point. We could leave the car in the town and wherever we go we would be close to it in the end.

So, off we went!

Trip Feb 2015

The classical start! The car is full and the boats on the top of it.

The trip was nice and easy. The worst part was getting out of Berlin (took almost an hour!) but once outside we had a lots of sunshine and plenty of beautiful countryside to look at.

We finally got to Templin and found the perfect spot to get the boats in the water, at Lübbesee.

Trip Feb 2015.2

There was quite some ice on the lake as you can see on this photo (the white stripe in the rear, before the trees is also ice) but it was not thick, maybe a centimeter and a half and since I could easily crack it with my hand I said “No problems, let's go for it, piece of cake...”.                 Christian looked at me:”Are you sure?”
“Yeah, let's move because we need to find a place to camp on the other side and it's already dusk...”

Trip Feb 2015.3Trip Feb 2015.4

Silly me. It could have been a BIG mistake. Lowering the boats on the top of the ice was easy, but paddling them a completely different story. The ice may be thin but horizontally it forms a sort of one huge compact blade, supported by the water from one side and, believe me, it didn't sound nice once you rammed in it with your cotton boat. We did make it to the middle of the lake (there was not much ice on the way to that spot anyway, as you can see on the picture) and then we smartly decided to go back, pack our stuff, boats on the car and go for a bier in town while we take a look at the map again.

By the way, there was this guy, when we paddled back to the shore, who stood there and said:”I thought you guys were related to Nanook, when I saw you from afar...” So much for our ridiculous little expedition.

Once we ate and drank at a local “Gasthaus” our spirits went high again and we bent over the map. It was clear that we had to look for some running water where the ice couldn't build up by not so low temperatures at night (-1° to -2°C). We found, not so far away to the west, a nice bit of river Havel with no weirs in a 10km course so we decided to move there, find a place to camp and have a new start in the morning.

Finding a suitable place for a tent was not easy but we grilled our way to the late hours and afterwards slept happily on two mats and in two sleeping bags each, while it half rained and half snowed outside.

The next day was a really new start with sunshine and we gladly hopped into our boats and paddled off. No traces of ice this time.

Trip Feb 2015.5

We didn't load the boats with all the gear since it was a short track to paddle (20km go and comeback). Just the kitchen and the food. A bottle of wine, of course. It was a beautiful day and we were injoying the full nature kick! No-one to be seen, not a single house or other structure anywhere near. The whole of it is a protected area and we could notice it by the wildlife activity. Foxes, deers, wild boars and a huge amount of rare-to-see birds such as Cranes, Barnacle Geese (I think) and Black Woodpeckers. Unfortunately I was not prepared to “shoot” the wildlife and my camera was most of the time in a roll bag. But our greatest delight was to observe a big beaver activity.

Trip Feb 2015.6

Here's a perfect beaver nest we were able to see from quite close. Lots of fallen trees of bigger size showed quite some activity all along. Beavers themselves were nowhere to be seen since they are active at dusk and throughout the night.

Trip Feb 2015.7

The landscape of reeds is the perfect living ground for many species.

Trip Feb 2015.7

The weather was getting even nicer throughout the afternoon and Christian was enjoying his Covered Double as a single seater. And so we slowly approached the final part of our day.

Trip Feb 2015.8

At the other end of this beautiful small lake is our end of track, where we shell light up a cozy fire, eat well, drink some wine and paddle the same way back... at night.

Trip Feb 2015.9

A nice spot where we ended up.

Trip Feb 2015.10

And what a great show, what a beautiful day it was...

Making a fire was a bit of a trouble, though. After a 7th attempt it still didn't light up. Mind you, I KNOW how to make a fire pretty well, but the rain last night had damped all the wood we could find close to this spot and, although the reeds were a very good fire starter, it just didn't work. We had to go get the wood somewhere else so, while I started cooking, Christian went off bravely, with my little hatchet, to the neighboring woods to chop off some dry pine from the fallen trees. Where we were was a sort of an island at the end of the lake and he had a long walk until he reached the forest.

Finally we had a nice fire going on and it was not too late because the temperature had dropped a big chunk in an hour or so. Basically, you would start feeling not really comfortable (to put it mildly) the moment you left the fire place.

“Hey Christian, do you think this little lake could freeze up before we start our way back?”
“Noooo, surely not... it's part of the river. River flows in it at our right and out of it on the other side to the left. We are good...”

At some time the wine was finished, we packed up, put the fire out (with tons of water) and entered our boats.

All looked fine and we paddled off into the starry night with moonlight, reflected in a perfectly still water. After about a hundred meters: Crashhh-screeeeech-cracklecrackle! I had just rammed into a thin ice. Not a lovely surprise. The lake DID start to freeze up in just couple of hours! It was much thinner ice than on the other lake and we thought we could make it through so we continued carefully in front. But it soon became clear that it was building up much thicker towards the middle of the lake.

Trip Feb 2015.11

Then I remembered that it must be thinner or completely non existent on the right side of the lake, where the main river course must flow. We went slowly a bit back and then broke through towards the right side. After a while we breathed easier because I was right: there was almost no ice on that side of the lake. On we went, earnestly chopping the water, wanting to get out of the lake as soon as possible.

Almost there... couple of hundred meters more and we are in the narrow river again. But the ice had mounted up in that last part due to the current and we were aware of it soon enough. Full stop. Thick ice. What a f... are we gonna do now? We left our tent and all sleeping gear in the car, so no way of trying to spend the night somewhere here in the open. And while we sit and discuss the ice keeps building up. Well let's go in front and try our luck.

Smash-smach-crack-crack-rip-screech! We gave it all and we did well. We were in the fluent water again. I turned the torch to check the damage in the boat or see if there was any water in it. Not a single drop. The boats did just fine and proved sturdier than we thought in the beginning. Afterwards I found that a bit of paint was scratched off at the waterline on the bow but the cotton was undamaged. That was all.

Unfortunately there are no better photos than this one above, taken when everything was behind us. The rest of the trip went beautifully fine in a cold but moonlit and starry night. And for our delight and as a final prize for our persistence we had an army of beavers swimming and splashing the water all along the way. And yes, I did manage to “shoot” one:

Trip Feb 2015.12

That was it for now. Once we reached the car, we decided that it was enough adventure for one weekend and that we would prefer to sleep at home than in a tent, since it was now not more than 60km away.

Stay tuned for more trip reports on our blog. I say good bye with this last epilogue photo.

Niko from UrbanIndian

Trip Feb 2015.13

The first Canooyak in Berlin

By nikola.

Nikola had built quite some boats in Portugal with his mates, before he moved to Berlin, but the first Canooyak in this form and with this name was developed in a typical humid and dark basement in Berlin in winter 2010/2011, in which Nikola and Rouven holed up for two days and then appeared again radiant with joy: the mission was accomplished, the Cannoyak, a complete new type of boat, was born and with it the name of the new project URBAN INDIAN!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Like with all idealists, that seek to embrace changes, their doing was let by a self set up MANIFESTO:

We believe that in today’s society, where high technology reigns and all knowledge is more and more fragmented, it is important to keep track of handcraft in order to maintain the basic capacities of imaginative production and invention, practical thinking and understanding of materials. Building boats (canoes and kayaks) is a creative work that develops practical thinking, imagination, handcraft and team work. It’s one of many things that can be done to train ones imagination and capacities, but this one bears a special meaning of significance which is the symbol of “crossing boundaries”. With a boat one can cross waters and continue exploring...

Here are some impressions of this first adventure:

Canooyak 3Rouven und NikoCanooyak 4

Grab the wood and hop into the water!

By nikola.

For our amazing new website, on the blog we will pass in review the adventures and turns of UrbanIndian´s history of the last 4 years! And believe me, a lot has happened!!!!!!!!!!!! Here you can see our beautiful first flyer of 2011 for all urban indians of Berlin! Thanks again to Rouven, Annette and Silke. 

Workshop Flyer