The Bellyak: How a Highdea Became an Actual InventionRae LlandOctober 25, 2017
With a background like that, it’s easy to see how the Bellyak was born. Part kayak, part immersive water experience, the Bellyak is the latest invention in watersports—but what is it exactly?
“It’s a kayak you ride on your belly!” says Masters in his thick North Carolina accent; his enthusiasm for his product is infectious. Beyond that, it’s a highdea turned patented invention that proves high dreams really do come true.
A Product for the Adventurous Stoner
The Bellyak is kayak-like in design, except the user lies prone with their legs outstretched behind them and their arms in the water to propel themselves forward. Unlike a boogie board, where one’s legs are in the water, or a kayak where you must sit above the water, the Bellyak cradles the user and offers an entirely new perspective of being one with the river. “It feels like flying,” says Masters. “You’re feeling the current across your whole body, you have a lot of feedback from the river, lake, or whatever you’re in. You’re not sitting in a boat, feeling it on your bottom, or standing on a paddle board feeling it through your feet, you’re feeling it through your whole body. It gives you a lot of sensory input.”
This sensory experience is one of the reasons Masters thinks the Bellyak is so well-suited for the adventurous stoner—who doesn’t like to feel at one with their surroundings after a dab or doobie?
“You’re very much immersed in nature,” he explains. “The [Bellyak] becomes like an interface between you and the water. [It’s not] this separate clunky thing that you have to figure out how to navigate; very quickly it becomes part of the experience. I think that’s why, for me, it’s such a fun experience when using cannabis.”
However, that’s not the only connection the Bellyak has with cannabis, and Masters is ready to tell the real story of just how the Bellyak was invented.
High in a Hurricane: How the Bellyak Came About
“I was living by a little lake in South Carolina,” Masters recalls, “and on that particular day I was super stoned because a buddy of mine had grown some strong weed. It was during Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and the water had come up and it was raging … I remember being like, I have got to get down that creek!”
There was just one problem: The creek had rhododendrons growing all around it, and with the water so high, the flower bushes were overhanging too much for Masters to sit up in his kayak or use his paddle. Thanks to the creative boost of the cannabis, though, he came up with a solution: Just lie prone.
“In my state of self-induced THC [intoxication],” Masters chuckles, “I laid on top of my kayak, put hand paddles on, and I shot down this creek like a rocket while laying prone. The experience was exhilarating.”
Thus, the idea for the Bellyak was born.
From Highdea to Prototype
Creative and innovative ideas while stoned are nothing new—cannabis has a way of feeding the flame of creativity—but it’s probably fair to say that most stoned revelations are met with momentary bursts of excitement and murmurings of agreement from friends before fading into memory (or forgetfulness).
But as Masters glided down that river, experiencing the water in a brand new way, he knew he couldn’t let this go. He went to his father with the idea, and the two of them set to work to create his first prototype from the bones of an old kayak. Over the next few years, Masters continued to tweak and develop his prototype—again, and again, and again.
“I’ve always been a super active stoner,” says Masters. “I can’t stand to smoke and sit still … I want to create things and do things. So [developing the Bellyak] was the perfect application because not only was I taking the inspiration from being stoned, but I was doing a task.”
Five years after he created the first Bellyak, a friend who struggled to master kayaking gave his prototype a shot, and after seeing how much fun he had, Masters knew he needed to bring the Bellyak to the world.
From Prototype to Patented Product
Today, Masters has successfully launched the Bellyak to the public and has several models available for purchase from select retailers or on his website. He says getting one is as easy as lighting up and logging on, and you can expect to receive your Bellyak in just a few days. For cannabis enthusiasts, Masters recommends the Frequency model, which comes with a watertight hatch perfect for storing your herb.
The Bellyak can be used on rivers, lakes, and in the ocean for some gentle surfing. Although it’s also suitable for intense white-water rafting, Masters recommends elevated users stick to the smoother waters, saying those environments are what makes the Bellyak such a perfect pursuit to pair with cannabis.
“The experience is so exhilarating … being stoned and paddling with your hands in the water, there’s nothing scary about it, you know?” Masters asserts. “So it’s the perfect combination, the perfect environment to be stoned in.”
Have a highdea you’d love to turn into a product? Share it in the comments!