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Boat Insider


ALIESHA GREVE REMEMBERS climbing in and out of all kinds of canoes when she was little, and standing around to have measurements taken for her dad’s latest project. She was seven years old and

her father, Al, an engineer and avid paddler, spent hours in the garage sanding a foam block into what he hoped would be the perfect kid-sized open ca- noe design. The idea came about one

night when Al Greve, Paul Ma- son, Andy Phillips and a hand- ful of their life-long paddling friends were sitting around a campfire. “Ever thought of making a kid

canoe?” someone asked Phil- lips, the owner of canoe manu- facturer Composite Creations. A conversation ensued about

whether or not it was worth the investment: would people buy boats their kids would grow out of? The evening ended without

coming to any conclusions, but five months later, Al arrived at Phillips’ workshop door with a sanded down chunk of foam that would turn into a mold for the Splash, a seven-foot, 11- inch long, 36-pound solo canoe. When the final design was

ready, eight-year-old Aliesha and her little sister Emily were among the first pint-sized pad- dlers to take it for a spin. Al’s work was not for waste.

After seeing kid kayakers out with their parents he wanted an OC equivalent, and today, his proud-dad praise is well war-

44 | RAPID

age—a bulbous front end facili- tates gentle surfing and avoids uncontrolled enders on a pushier wave. It’s stable and forgiving thanks to a rounded hull. It might be the mom and pop

shop feel of the Ontario-based canoe company, or the fact that the boats are custom-built, but talking to Splash owners made one thing very clear: Compos- ite Creations doesn’t just have customers, it has a community of clients who are keen to get their kids paddling. It’s the same reason Phillips sells the Splash at cost—“it’s about getting the next generation into the sport,” he says, not about making a profit. The Shawanda family has

three kids, now aged 12, 15 and 16, and their father Maheengun can’t say enough about what the Splash has done for his family. When he took an interest in

ranted. At 11, Emily was fea- tured on the cover of American Whitewater Journal running 15- foot Baby Falls on the Tellico River

in Tennessee. Aliesha,

who went on to win two ju- nior national championships in women’s C-1, is now 20 and teaching paddling courses at the Madawaska Kanu Centre (MKC) which hosts a “Splash Canoe Week” just for kids. “I learned pretty much every-

thing I know in the Splash,” says Aliesha. “I learned the essence of canoeing at a young age.” Phillips designs each Splash specifically for the family or-

dering it. He’s made one with flames and a few in a “gummi worm pattern”—a combo of bright colors dreamed up by a 10-year-old customer. “They’re temper tantrum

proof,” says Phillips of the composite hull material, which he also uses to make auto and aviation products. “A kid could throw it off a cliff and it wouldn’t hurt it.” Its built-in tanks eliminate the

need for float bags, and are cus- tom-fitted for each baby boat- er, who can weigh up to 100 pounds. The Splash’s modified rocker makes it easy to man-

canoeing himself, he picked up a Splash so the kids could learn alongside him. Six years later, his family still paddles together at every opportunity and road trips to whitewater festivals


year. When his kids outgrew the Splash, Shawanda passed it on to a new owner who he hopes will have the same experience. “It

transformed everything,”

says Shawanda. “We were learn- ing together.” EMMA DRUDGE

Composite Creations Splash LENGTH: 7’11” WIDTH: 23.5” WEIGHT: 36 LBS PADDLER WEIGHT RANGE: 60–100 LBS $1,700


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