Kayaking has a 5000-year history with cultures who lived by fresh or saltwater, eventually progressing from hides or bark stretched over wood or bone to composites and fiberglass construction. In the early 70s, the materials and construction of kayaks took a giant leap forward with Bill Masters.
George Sayour, a paddling expert writing for About Sports, wrote an article called “How Perception Kayaks Changed the Kayaking Industry.” The article notes that today’s kayak industry has a range of OEMs large and small, but it all began 30 years ago, with Bill Masters working on the idea of plastic roto-molded kayaks. He started Perception with $50 in Liberty, SC, a small Upstate South Carolina mill town.
As a student at Clemson, Bill accepted a broken kayak as payment for fixing a friend’s car. The repaired the kayak and his workmanship attracted the attention of other kayakers running the area’s whitewater.