5th Axis, a startup engineering, design and fabrication firm based out of Stonington, CT, was looking for a way to prove the quality of their work and gain the attention of new clients. Owner Doug Poscich and the 5th Axis team decided to design a kayak to show how fast they could turn a project around from concept to completion with their new 5-axis CNC machine. “We needed to basically run a test piece on it and see just what we can do,” says Poscich.
During the design process, Poscich and his team decided to add something extra to the traditional kayak design: built-in extendable pontoons. “I’m a fly fisherman,” says Poscich, “and some of the other guys here are fishermen, and another friend of mine is a scuba diver, and they were saying ‘We’d like something a little more stable, but we still want lightweight, compact, something that’s relatively efficient, but has a stable feature to it that allows you to more or less stand up or fly fish’.” The pontoons on the Trifly are deployed with two mechanical levers that are independently controlled and can be locked in a range of positions, either together for varying degrees of stability (they can be used like training wheels on a bike) or individually to help with docking.
5th Axis began designing the kayak in May 2006 and completed the prototype one month and two days later. The Trifly Kayak went to market in January 2007 and 5th Axis started producing it for sale and distribution.
A newer firm, 5th Axis has a solid foundation of experience, including in-house sculptural artists, experience in fiberglass and Poscich himself, a former R&D manager for Burton Snowboards. “I think a lot of people have thought about [the Trifly Kayak concept] but no one’s ever really figured out how to execute it,” says Poscich. “That’s what we’re good at, coming up with original concepts and being able to execute them in a very quick time frame because of the tools we have in house and just our history.”
Listen to our to learn more about the Trifly development process.