Clear Blue Hawaii Napali Kayak, 2003

Clear Blue Hawaii

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Click above to view the full-size image

Clear Blue Hawaii’s Napali kayak, the only transparent, foldable kayak in the world, enables users to skim the ocean’s surface like sea mammals. Designed in 2003 by New Zealander Murray Broom, it was voted one of the top twenty-five products by Fortune and one of the coolest inventions by Time magazine.

The Napali is a superb example of the integration of aesthetics and function. The complete transparency of the body allows the single user unprecedented intimacy with a normally concealed world. Instead of sliding through the water oblivious to what lies beneath, the kayaker coexists in two visible ecological systems at once.

The idea evolved out of a shallow-water military surveillance project in May 2000. Made of military-grade, transparent urethane casing with a Kevlar® frame, the Napali is corrosion-resistant, lightweight, and durable, and its narrow hull enables greater speed and less drag. The whole kayak weighs only twenty-six pounds, and, when folded, is small enough to fit into a backpack. The Napali is designed to be used by intermediate and experienced kayakers.

Clear Blue Hawaii, based in Honolulu, represents several designers of water-sports equipment. In 2004, it diversified into travel bags and gear, including the Blue Sun Solarpac, which features a six-watt removable solar panel and can charge a cell phone in two hours. The company’s research and development team continues to develop prototypes of innovative adventure and sports gear.