Tom Derrer began actively kayaking in 1966 when he was first introduced to white water kayaking. He became a governing member of the well-established Washington Kayak club and organized races, pool practice of kayaking skills and became a key member of the paddling group that helped develop the sport in the sixties and seventies.
Tom began building whitewater kayaks for himself and friends in the late sixties, and opened Eddyline in 1971 in Boulder, Colorado. In 1973 he moved the tiny company to Seattle and began building kayaks designed by Werner Furrer Sr., during which time he became involved with Sea Kayaking, then in its very infancy. He built a reputation for himself by bringing advanced laminating technologies into the traditional fiberglass world. He was the first person to apply aerospace technologies such as vacuum bagging to the commercial construction of kayaks.
In the late seventies Tom immersed himself in kayak design and continued to develop and re-fresh the Eddyline product line.
Each Eddyline Kayak represents numerous innovations in hull design and accessory features. Tom is now an internationally recognized leader in the Sea Kayak industry with some of the “finest” boats and paddles available today: finest in terms of originality, quality and sophistication of construction, superiority in performance, refinement of overall features and aesthetic appearance.
As well as designing all of the products currently manufactured by Eddyline, Tom has designed numerous kayaks for other major manufacturers.
He has been deeply involved in the industry from the beginning of the sport; helping to form a trade association now called TAPS (Trade Association of Paddle Sports). He designed the format still used at the annual “West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium” held at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend. Tom was the one of the originators of that event, and served three years as president of TAPS (Then TASK), which sponsors the event. He also helped develop the safety video “Before You Go” released by TAPS in the nineties and still in use today
Throughout our 43 year history, Tom’s focus at Eddyline has been to bring advanced technology to the design and construction of kayaks and paddles. Starting with vacuum bag technology in 1971, we have introduced the H-channel seam, the four way adjustable backrest, spring-loaded rudders, flexible bulkheads, flush hatches and numerous other features. Tom was first to apply computer-aided design and use computer machined originals, vastly improving hull symmetry and performance over hand lofted hulls and decks.
Eddyline deliberately avoided the plunge into roto-molded Polyethylene that so many manufacturers have made, chasing higher profits. The profits were there, but not the quality that Eddyline stands for. Instead Tom waited for a more advanced material and a more appropriate technology. In 1994 we found the high performance thermoplastic we named Carbonlite 2000. The advantages over other plastics being used became obvious: dimensional stability (no warping, melting or spontaneous re-design), high heat distortion temperatures, hard glossy finishes, easy repair-ability, good UV resistance and lighter weights.
Again, Eddyline and Tom Derrer have forged a path that others will follow.
Four decades later, by choice, we remain a family company, focused on quality rather than quantity. Tom still designs all our kayaks with Lisa working by his side. The Eddyline staff, who work with us daily, have become a part of our family. But the Eddyline family is bigger than just us. Our small size enables us to treat our customers as family too, allowing us to communicate personally with them. And in return, their passion for paddling continues to educate and inspire us.
The Eddyline family continues to grow, and we invite you to join it.
Tom and Lisa Derrer