NICK SCHADE grew up around canoes and kayaks. After beginning a career as an electrical engineer for the U.S. Navy specializing in low-frequency electro-magnetics, he realized he wanted to get back on the water himself. Not able to afford the kind of boat he wanted, Nick decided to design and build a “stripbuilt” kayak. While this type of construction was popular with canoes, it was not commonly adapted for kayaks. Nick worked together with his brother to develop the process, and over the years has branched out and developed innovative kayak designs using the plywood stitch-and-glue method. As his skill as a kayak paddler and boatbuilder evolved, Nick’s designs evolved to match his changing aims. The driving goal has been to maximize on-the-water performance while respecting the natural materials used to create the boat. Out of these efforts, Nick has created Guillemot Kayaks, centered on designing high-performance sea kayaks for other craftsmen interested in building their own boats. He wrote The Strip-Built Sea Kayak, an instruction book describing the strip-built method, which has helped foster a revival in the construction of wooden kayaks. Nick’s shop is currently located in Glastonbury, Connecticut, where he builds prototypes of new designs and makes a select number of custom-built kayaks. He has taught kayak construction at Mystic Seaport and the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. His work has been exhibited at the American Craft Museum, and one of his boats is in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.