Bob Hellman remembers being fascinated by canoes and kayaks from the time he was a young boy. It was part of his personal life experience from a young age, and it eventually grew to become his life’s passion.
“My dad is a fisherman so we were paddling canoes when we were quite young, and I was always fascinated by canoes and boats,” says Hellman. “And then I joined a club in Brandon, Manitoba where we really got into white water canoeing and canoe tripping so that’s where I learned a lot of it,” he explains. “I came up to BC and became a canoe instructor and master canoe instructor.”
In 1991, Hellman left Manitoba to start his own canoe building company in British Columbia. And that’s when Hellman Canoe & Kayak was established. Although the passion started with canoes and kayaks, the business has become so much more than that.
“We build canoes but we also sell kayaks, paddleboards and accessories. We teach lessons, run tours, and we have a substantial rental business too. We’re quite an involved paddling store.”
Hellman Canoe & Kayak specializes in building canoes that can withstand the roughest white water adventures. And part of their unique build process includesEcoPoxy products. Hellman explains just how EcoPoxy is used in the building of his sturdy canoes.
“The way you manufacture canoes is you have a mold, and you spray a coating into the mold. The coating we use is made of EcoPoxy Gel Coat. Once the coating is cured and hard, we lay layers of cloth into the boat and soak them in EcoPoxy Resin,” Hellman describes. “Once the resin hardens, we can pull the boat from the mold and that becomes the hull of the boat.”
Hellman finds many advantages to working with EcoPoxy’s certified green line of products.
“EcoPoxy is, above all else, very non-toxic, it doesn’t have a strong smell, and it doesn’t have a high toxicity,” he explains. “The workers in the shop like it a lot because they don’t develop allergies like they would from other epoxy resins which are notorious for causing allergies. Other resins can also be carcinogenic but EcoPoxy is not,” Hellman says. “Another reason we use it is because it’s environmentally friendly. It’s made of oils from grains instead of oil from petroleum-based products.”
While it’s important to Hellman that EcoPoxy is less hazardous to people and the environment, at the end of the day, it needs to build a canoe the lasts. “The end results are great too because it’s a very tough, very resilient resin system that withstands the abuse that you find in canoeing.”
EcoPoxy has had a long-standing relationship with Hellman Canoe & Kayak because they really try to understand what their clients need out of their products.
“A while ago I told Jack (at EcoPoxy) that I needed a really good tough coating for my canoes because there wasn’t much on the market that was compatible with epoxy boats so I started developing an epoxy gel coat. He took the product and developed it to a point where he’s worked out all the kinks and it’s become a very sellable product,” he says. “We work very well together.”