George Dyson sent me a fascinating newspaper clipping about the Fullerton Kayak Club. Members of the kayak club were building beautiful and highly accurate replicas of an Alaskan skin-on-frame kayak, and paddling them through the surf along the Southern California coast — 80 years ago! It seems that traditional skin-on-frame kayaks are “rediscovered” every few generations.
Part of the article has been cropped from the image, but most of it is readable and I have reconstructed as best as I could below. I think the phrase "looping-the-loop" may be a reference to rolling.
Christian Science Monitor, Boston, October 9, 1934
Kayak Paddlers of California Showing Eskimos “a Few Tricks”
Youth Taking Kindly to Arctic Water Transportation Methods and Looping-the-Loop Through the Surf Is No Uncommon Occurrence
FULLERTON, Calif — Young California has brought from the frigid arctic its newest thrill, which it has found in the kayak, the Eskimos’ means of water transportation.
But in some regards young California has out-Eskimoed the Eskimo, according to Mr. Rollin A. Marsden, junior college shop instructor here. Mr. Marsden is responsible for the organization or the Fullerton Kayak Club, now boasting 27 boys, each of whom has built his own kayak. He expects the club to reach a membership of 50 during the new school year.
Mr. Marsden was able to obtain a native kayak for a pattern when he began the work here a year ago. He claims this to be the only attempt made to model the native craft exactly, and he contends the little boats built to the exact lines of the native kayak outperforms any other model.
Shaped to Sharp Point
Careful measurements of the native boat revealed it to be exactly 15 feet long and 24 1/4 inches on the beam. Both ends are shaped to a sharp point and the entire framework of the boat is covered with a waterproofed canvass, except for the cockpit in which the rider seats himself. The draft, even with a heavy person aboard, rarely exceeds 5 inches.
The native kayak used for a model was constructed with a framework of willows. The ribs are believed to have been bent into bow shapes after steaming. These ribs, or stations, were placed one foot ...
…as many as three times in rapid succession and come up with very little water in the hulls.
Riding the Breakers
The real thrill of kayak riding comes from passing through the breakers. Here is where skill is required, for the rider who is not adept often finds his frail craft tossed upside down in the swirling water. A little practice, however, reveals the kayak to be a very seaworthy craft regardless of its lightness and apparent frailty. Once the rider gains confidence he travels far out to sea.
Kayak racing has been introduced into the sport this year, 50 boats having been entered in one race at Redondo, Calif. During the contest the flashing paddles looked like 50 gleaming windmills all in motion.
Fullerton is situated more than … miles from the sea. and yet its kayak club members find their interest this new water sport gaining rapidly. Mr. Marsden finds that it costs about $15 for the material for a kayak, and many of the boys have spent their odd time during the past summer earning funds with which to finance a boat.
One of the next major projects planned for Mr. Marsden’s shop will be the construction of an outrigger canoe similar to those used by the Polynesian. The instructor thus far has been unable to find a model without sending to the Hawaiian Islands.