search.noResults

search.searching

note.createNoteMessage

search.noResults

search.searching

orderForm.title

orderForm.productCode
orderForm.description
orderForm.quantity
orderForm.itemPrice
orderForm.price
orderForm.totalPrice
orderForm.deliveryDetails.billingAddress
orderForm.deliveryDetails.deliveryAddress
orderForm.noItems
FEATHERWEIGHT KAYAKS BEN FRASER


IF THE HAND-DRAWN, custom art decorating the bottom of the boat doesn’t give away a FeatherWeight kayak, the amount of air between the boat and the water will. The kayaks are designed, built and tested in the Ottawa Valley, where owner Ben Fraser often takes his lunch break at Buseater. When the bright blue Marlin on the bottom of his boat is visible, it means his session is going well. FeatherWeight’s origin story is simple. “Basically, it’s just a couple dudes who


love to kayak. We wanted our own boats to be the best they could be and peo- ple liked them. There was demand so we started making them,” says Fraser. Ottawa Valley local and freestyle authority, Dave Nieuwenhuis, and Fraser


worked side by side to combine the characteristics they liked from different boats. “I missed the edges from my O-Fish but loved the forgiving rides of the Superstar,” Fraser says. The two paddlers created a Frankenstein prototype that had the whole package. Nieuwenhuis is no longer a part of the hands- on production but is still the creative genius behind the brand’s hand-drawn artwork. FeatherWeight boats currently come out of an unlikely location: a small, 10-


by 10-foot shop in an ordinary south Ottawa neighborhood. The long hallway leading into the workspace is lined with molds piled up along the wall. A single workstation occupies the center of the room and boats, molds and materials lean against the walls and sit stacked in corners. Past workshop locations have included garages and the Nieuwenhuis family barn near the Ottawa River, but this suburban shop is much warmer during Canadian winters. Fraser has always been self-employed, so the transition from carpentry to boat


builder was a fluid one. “It wasn’t so much a one-time investment as a cumulative investment and putting in lots and lots of time,” say Fraser, who now works full- time on boats. Fraser takes home money for the labor of each kayak but admits it’s sometimes a struggle to finance large purchases like rolls of carbon fiber cloth. “When I can afford to build another mold I do,” he says. “I’ve managed to feed


myself and keep a roof over my head. It’s starting to feel quite successful.” Despite FeatherWeight’s growing popularity, each boat is built with impec-


cable attention to detail. Six FeatherWeight boats were flying high on Garbora- tor during the Freestyle World Championships in 2015. Materials and design are key to FeatherWeight performance. “I think


WE WANTED OUR OWN BOATS TO BE THE BEST THEY COULD BE.





THERE WAS DEMAND. SO WE STARTED MAKING THEM.”


both the construction—aerospace grade carbon with premium epoxy—as well as the design of the boat itself, sets us apart,” he says. “And, of course, the custom artwork.” A fully outfitted FeatherWeight goes for $3,200 CAD. Over the last year FeatherWeight has sold 30 boats. Fraser compares paddling a carbon boat to riding a top-of-the-line mountain


bike. The all-round performance translates to a better experience. It’s easier to catch the wave, and easier to get a good bounce, which translates to easier airtime because you have a lighter boat over your head. Positive feedback from paddlers fuels Fraser during those long days and


nights in the shop. He loves seeing others having great surfs and epic days on the water. “For me, the most rewarding part is seeing so many people having their best boating days ever.” —Carmen Kuntz


www.rapidmag.com | 37


PHOTO: BEN FRASER


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68