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Photograph Courtesy Aribiti

Can a Canoe Be a Work of Art? Why Not?

Centuries of frontiersman got by just fine with nothing more decorative than birch, but this is a different age, where the fashion is as fun as the function is important, and a collaboration between a couple Canadian brands is injecting life into a traditionally staid product category. Natasha Wittke has been hand painting canoe paddles under the Norquay brand for the last years, and now she’s partnering with canoe outfit abitibi to create a limited edition of highly styled watercraft.

Together they’ll make just 50 of the kevlar boats, which are based on abitibi’s 15-foot Prospector model. It’s a versatile design, able to handle weeklong camping trips, be paddled solo, or carry tandem. The standard fiberglass layup weighs about 60 pounds, but the kevlar collab version spares you a couple portaging pounds at 58.

There are three versions of the custom boats, called Kipawa, Finlayson, and Chilliwack, and each are beautiful in their own way. So, how much does one of these lovelies cost? You don’t want to know. No, you really don’t. Okay, they pop for $5,499 Canadian, more than twice a traditional Prospector. Well, no one said art or fashion were cheap. But they sure are purty.