The Shooting Star pictured on this page was built in September / October 2014
for a two part WoodenBoat magazine article detailing the construction process.

Part one of the article "A Strip Built Baidarka - Simple beauty in a complex and highly functional kayak"
by Rob Macks, will be in the January / February 2015 WoodenBoat magazine #242 out in mid December.

Shooting Star© is a smaller, lower volume, baidarka from Laughing Loon. The dimensions are 16' 6" long and 21" wide, The finished weight is 35 pounds. The suggested weight range is from 100 to 200 pounds. It is nimble, responsive and fast. Detail photo of the Shooting Star's bifurcated bow above.

Shooting Star is not a scaled down version of the North Star. The volume is lower, especially in the rear deck. The hull is slightly flattened to improve stability in such a narrow kayak. Though the Shooting Star is only 21" wide at the widest point at the sheer line, stability is good and secondary stability excellent. She is very responsive to paddle strokes yet tracks very well.

Shooting Star will appeal to the paddler who wants a fast responsive day boat. With all the great speed, tracking and handling characteristics of the baidarka style.

The Shooting Star© is also a baidarka for the smaller paddler, with enough storage space for extended trips. It has the forward and stern volume typical of the baidarka style which gives the Shooting Star as much storage space as many larger length kayaks.

If you are 100 to 200 pounds the Shooting Star will be a good all round kayak for someone at the lower weight range or a good day boat for someone at the the higher end of that weight range.

The Shooting Star shown here is built of western red cedar. The hardwood accents and veneers used on the deck, bow, toggle handles and cockpit are of curly maple and makore.

The recessed fore and aft hatches are held in place with rare earth magnets. Neoprene gaskets on the hatches make them waterproof. The leading edge of the cockpit coaming is recessed. There are bulkheads in front of and behind the cockpit area to create the fore and aft watertight storage compartments.

For current pricing for a finished Shooting Star follow this link.
Contact Laughing Loon for details. For building plans see kayak plans page
Shooting Star and North Star were the fastest kayaks at the year 2000, Newfound Rendezvous on Lake Winnipesaukee, NH. Cruising speeds and sprinting speeds were measured by GPS by Peter Hunt owner/designer of Lil'dubber Boats.
Shooting Star is 16" 6" long and 21" weight Finished weight is 32 pounds

For building plans see kayak plans page

Some comments, by Ken Katz

"I have been able to paddle my SS in some different conditions and am very pleased with the boat!"

"Paddling into the waves, the SS seemed to pitch less than my other boats and was drier than I expected."

"The SS tracks really well when surfing down the face of a wave.

"I didn't think it was possible to have a kayak track this well and be able to turn this easily."

"As it sits it is an excellent boat!! It not only looks fast and sleek, it shines.
Thanks again Rob for an awesome boat!! "

Follow this link to read Ken's full review.

Shooting Star Review

Built from Plans

Hello Rob,
 I am very happy to send you some pictures (photo above) of my Shooting Star. Its construction was easy and your manual I have been very helpful. Thank you for having designed such a beautiful baidarka. 

 Ivano Ziggiotti

Ivano has a video of his construction @

Andrew Elizaga's Shooting Star

"After getting home from work early I spend the afternoon on the final touches to the Shooting Star. The sky is drizzling and overcast. The wind is building. I set the kayak down by the water. I hold a bottle of champagne in one hand, and pop the cork."I hereby name you... Moonlight Dancer!" A generous splash on the bow and a little drink for myself. I squeeze in and secure my tuilik. The coaming has a very low profile. The fit is pleasantly tight around my thighs, but I have an inch or two extra footroom. She speeds me away. I put her on edge and bow rudder -- so smooth! Then a standard Greenland roll. She rolls easily and is stable on recovery. A few more rolls: reverse sweep, shoulder, butterfly, masikkut aalatsineq -- simply awesome! I've reached the end. She is finished.

"Big surprise: I can do more rolls in my strip baidarka than I can in my Greenland skin-on-frame, Misterie. Moonlight Dancer was not built to be a rolling boat. Yes, I did recess the cockpit to make laybacks easier, but the depth at the backrest is still 8 3/4 inches from the inside hull to the top of the coaming. So who knows why -- the round hull, improved "secondary stability", even deck shape might make a difference. What design features make a good rolling kayak?"

Andrew Elizaga

 Attached are some pictures of the Shooting Star I recently completed. I launched is last Thursday (6/10).  I only took a short ride but it felt like a dream. I’ve only used recreational kayaks up to now so this was a real treat to paddle.
I started building in November and just finished last week. It was a long process but I think I made is longer by doing some things “my way” rather than using some of your suggestions. I just felt move comfortable with skills I had from other woodworking rather than trying something new. Of course I’ve never been known for lightening speed when building something.
Your instructions were great. I remember several times when I thought “What the heck is going on here”  but, when I followed the instructions to completion, everything worked out.
Thanks especially for your assistance on the phone for the several times I called."
Bob Roche
Long Lake, NY

"Rob, per your request, some shots of my Shooting Star. The boat's named Chop Chop II (hence the filenames), after my dad's old Laguna Beach rowboat. Please use the shots in any way that will help your business. Just a couple of notes: the boat is fashioned after Ken Katz's to some extent. He lived near me for several years, and I visited him in his shop a number of times. The rear cockpit recess is a direct lift from his boat, as is sizing the plans at 97% to bring the finished gunwale-to-gunwale width to 21". Since he later added a drop-down skeg to his SS, I added about 1/2" extra depth to the "fixed rudder," and I have no complaints about tracking or any desire to fiddle around with a skeg. The ends come right up when you edge the boat, and that's all you need for turning; going straight, the boat stays planted and doesn't hunt with the paddle strokes. The boat weighs 34 pounds, with Redfish seat and bulkhead hatches. It just completed its sixth summer and will be headed to Mendocino with the BASK group in a couple of weeks. I love the boat for any kind of textured water, and can't wait to go. Last Halloween I paddled with John Lockwood and a BASK group to Angel Island in SF Bay. He admired the boat. Looking at the hull as we went along, he remarked that it appeared that the shape would have excellent secondary stability. Now there's a designer's eye. 

Thanks for a great design!"

--Scott Fitzgerrell
Piedmont, California

Check out this new video to get you
started stripping your Baidarka sea kayak faster

Building the Baidarka Bow and Stern

Rob Macks shows you, step by step, how he builds his baidarka bow and stern parts. This applies to the bow and stern for any of Rob's Star line of baidarkas such as the Dark Star, Shooting Star, Fire Star, North Star or Twin Star.

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