It was invented by Roy Grabenauer in 1968 after years of experimenting with various designs and technologies, although Tim Niemier is credited as having popularized the craft with the rotomold process. Grabenauer and his wife experimented with innertubes and surfboards as their platform until his wife developed back problems, and needed an alternative for them to continue with the sport.
Grabenauer worked as a chief electrical engineer for the SacramentoDepartment of Motor Vehicles and began experimenting with a boat fabricated from an airplane wing tank. The result was a torpedo-shaped craft that, to quote an article in National Fisherman from April, 1978 "...resembles a topless kayak going backwards."
The Royak is a hybrid kayak, with features of sit-inside and sit-on-top kayaks. It is designed to be low and stable, with an open cockpit.