Unlike most canoe manufacturers, the end of production of Royalex, the thermoformed plastic used for decades in whitewater and tripping canoes, caused no grief for New Hampshire’s John Kazimierczyk. “Kaz”, as he’s known in the canoe community, is the man behind Millbrook Boats, one of the longest standing—and lesser known—whitewater canoe manufacturers in North America. In 2014, while other brands stockpiled sheets of Royalex, raised prices, and brainstormed various replacements, Millbrook carried on, business as usual.
Millbrook has always paddled against the currents of mainstream canoe design. Founder John Berry started building radical whitewater canoes in 1958. Originally known as “Mad River Canoes and Kayaks”, the late Berry pushed the envelope of open- and closed-deck designs, working exclusively in composite materials. A key player in the early days of competitive whitewater canoeing, the majority of Berry’s canoes were conceived for his own personal use.