On July 4th 2014 a craft departed from Lee’s Ferry to travel downstream through the Grand Canyon. Normally this event would not warrant a dedicated post on our fair blog at CeibaAdventures.com but this was no ordinary craft; this was ‘Shawk-kinah’. A rig unique in many ways unto itself, home-grown here in Flagstaff, Arizona by our very own John Beamer.
John Spent 8 years designing and building every aspect of his boat, it was, as he says, a part-time job. The influence came from a number of places, including existing Grand Canyon rigs, Snake and Salmon River jet boats, and the array of crafts on Lake Powell. The materials came from an even wider diversity of sources, including parts from car washes, weight machines, wheel chairs, snowmobiles, truck parts, old gas station equipment from the local Shell stations that he owns with his brother.
The project started as John wanting to build a kitchen boat that was capable in both flat and whitewater. It became much more than that though, and now includes a hydraulic motor lift and electric starter all controlled, along with the throttle and steering, from the captain’s chair, situated at the bow of the boat like Idaho jet boats. The kitchen is fully on board along with a cooler and plenty of boxes and tons of shade.
On the river the boat performed as well as hoped and the runs were as smooth as one could ask for on a Grand Canyon trip. No trip would be complete without a couple hang-ups though, and ‘Shawk-Kinah’ found hers in MNA (Museum of Northern Arizona) rapid. She ended up high on a rock, but not to worry; out came the high-lift truck jack and minutes later she was back in the water and headed downstream.
You don’t see something like Shawk-Kinah on the river everyday, but there was a time when S-rigs were an innovation as well. So, who knows, ten years from now John Beamer’s B-rig may be the new standard kitchen boat in Grand Canyon.
When I asked John what it took to build the boat the first thing he said was he had to not listen to anybody and to take what he could get and make it stronger. This seems to be a rule throughout the history of Grand Canyon boat design from the very beginning. We hope to see Shawk-Kinah on the water again along with more innovative crafts and equipment!