Rock West Composites announces Quaranvent design competition winner

Winner Craig Monroe devised a 15-foot inflatable kayak that weighed only 12 pounds, and incorporated carbon fiber components.


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RWC competition winner

Source | Rock West Composites

In early April, Rock West Composites (RWC, San Diego, Calif., U.S.) announced the Quaranvent Design Competition as a way of engaging with the public during the nearly nation-wide quarantine that happened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The period for entries closed at the end of May, and the prize options included combinations of cash, RWC products, and donations to organizations working on COVID-19 relief efforts. On June 25, the company announced the winner, Craig Monroe, who designed a 15-foot inflatable kayak incorporating RWC carbon fiber components, and could be easily transported in a backpack.

The judging criteria included the innovation and uniqueness of the idea, the usefulness of the design and the potential business case for the product. Also considered was the inclusion of RWC materials and products, but this was not required. Themes around the pandemic, flattening the curve and social distancing were encouraged. RWC notes that while the selection committee was excited about the variety of designs submitted, it ultimately felt that the backpack kayak fit all the key points of the competition.

According to the committee, the winning entry kept with the theme of social distancing and engaging in healthy activities. In addition to using a combination of inflatable parts and carbon fiber structural elements to make the kayak lightweight enough—at 12 pounds or less—for hiking, the design enables the kayak to collapse into a manageable backpack size, making it easier to transport and for the user to access remote areas by foot. The easy-to-assemble structure and durable Dyneema skin added to the practicality of the design, RWC says.

“We were excited to see the entries come in over the period of the competition,” adds Dave Erickson, the general manager of RWC’s Salt Lake City operation. “When customers have shared their projects with us in the past, we were always amazed at the creativity and innovation we would see, so we knew this would be a great competition. Plus, we hoped to offer some focus and fun for our customers with the challenges of isolation during quarantine.” As part of the winner’s package, Monroe is receiving a cash prize and RWC is making a $2000 donation to Feeding America, a hunger-relief organization.

You can read more about the entry on the company’s website.