stronger, sometimes turns up in soundboards like sitka spruce. I can pick out real long lengths of straight-grained douglas fir "2x2" at local suppliers. Maybe your people can get it and rip it for you. It should surface harden with epoxy or even just quality varnish.
I had sitka spruce gunwales on a 13' Mad River. Stiffer than ash, light, pretty. They did split some in a really bad sloping ledge incident, but I was able to epoxy them back together. On the other hand, sitka and "doug" are not rot resistant, and take more watchful care than ash. Of course, cedar or cypress resist rot much better. But I've not seen clear, straight cypress in such lengths, and it might take some hunting to find it, even around Louisiana.
Recreational Kayak Paddle
Hardshell Kayak Sail Rigs
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