Tim Niemier

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Tim Niemier
Tim Niemier headshot - March 2012.jpg
Born (1951-03-25)March 25, 1951
Malibu, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Known for Introducing sit-on-top kayak design

Tim Niemier is a designer of watercraft, currently focusing on kayaks and stand up paddleboards. Niemier is credited with introducing the sit-on-top (SOT) kayak design. In January 1988, Tim founded kayak manufacturing and sales company, Ocean Kayak, to produce these unique kayaks using polyethylene. Ocean Kayak was producing upwards of 200 kayaks per day when its assets were purchased in 1997 by Johnson Worldwide Associates, now Johnson Outdoors, Inc.[1]

Since selling Ocean Kayak, Niemier has been providing custom design services and creating new lines of stand up paddleboards and other watercraft for manufacturers and individuals.[2]


Niemier grew up in Malibu, California and loved being out on the water in spite of his fear of it. His expertise with watercraft started early, spending much of his spare time as a youth paddling along the coast and out to dive sites. He learned about their design dynamics and began testing designs of his own.

In 1971, Niemier designed and produced his first kayak using fiberglass molding. While taking it to the beach to test he was asked how much it cost. Not expecting anyone to buy it, Niemier offered to sell it at three times his production cost. The price was accepted and, fresh out of high school, Niemier had sold his first kayak.[3]

In the years following, Niemier set up shop in Malibu selling personally-designed kayaks to customers on a small stretch of beach near home. From this success, he realized the potential for much bigger sales volumes in larger markets.

Ocean Kayak[edit]

After years of successful design and sales, Niemier launched Ocean Kayak in Ferndale, Washington in 1988. Adopting rotational molding as the preferred production process, enabled producing kayaks in far greater quantities than possible with fiberglass molds. This supported the success they were having in the marketplace.

In 1997, Johnson Worldwide Associates, now Johnson Outdoors, Inc., purchased the assets of Ocean Kayak. The terms of the purchase were not made public.


Niemier now lives in Bellingham, Washington where he continues creating new kayak and stand up paddleboard designs, provide business consulting services and speaking. Niemier’s personal goal remains the same, “To put a billion butts in boats.[4]


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