Richard Whitton

Owned and run by Richard Whitton. Previously known as Kayak Centre, which was founded in 1973 by esteemed South African boat builder Gordon Rowe. Gordon built up a well deserved reputation of being the top kayak manufacturer in South Africa. He produced quality craft, designed and constructed to withstand the rigorous demands of the South African river racing conditions.

In 1986 Richard, who had been Gordon’s protege since 1974, took over the company. He brought his passion, dedication and experience from over a decade of competing on the local rivers to maintain the excellent standards Kayak Centre was already known. With the subsequent re-inclusion of South Africa in the International racing scene, much research and development was undertaken to encompass the latest international sprint and marathon construction methods. Ken Holden became a partner in 1998 after working for the company for several years. When the ICF rules regarding boat specifications changed during that year, further research and development into kayak designs was needed to ensure that Kayak Centre remained at the forefront of the industry in both domestic and international markets.

Clive Whitton, Richard’s son, became a partner at the end of 2012, following the departure of Ken Holden. Clive grew up in the canoeing community, competing in multiple disciplines. He worked at Kayak Centre for nearly 10 years before moving to London to compete more regularly at international Canoe Polo events, and work for Canoe England.

In 2019 Kayak Centre had to close due to the financial climate. Richard purchased Kayak Centres assets and opened Kayak Craft.

In order to stay at the leading edge of the industry, Kayak Craft draws on the experience of our athletes to continually improve our products, as well as drawing on the expertise of world leaders in the composite and fibreglass industry. Since 2005 we have used Computer Aided Design (CAD) Technology to create our original shapes, which are then cut on a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machine to ensure 100% accuracy. This combined with new-age design philosophy, personal attention to detail, and Richard’s experience as a manufacturer and paddler ensures that all products are of the highest standard possible.

Each Kayak Craft product is hand finished by Richard to ensure it meets your individual specifications.