Nova Craft
Credit: Nova Craft

Mild panic definitely set in when canoe manufacturers lost the ability to use laminated ABS material (Royalex) to build their sturdy whitewater boats.

Some companies had this ABS/vinyl (Royalex) material bringing in close to 80 per cent of their business. Without it, some could close up shop for good. That’s why it sent everyone scrambling to find a replacement.

Tim Miller, owner of Nova Craft (London, Ontario) experimented with something he called Tuff Stuff.” It’s a composite made from basalt cloth (layers of woven rock fibres) and a specialized plastic. He abused (tested) the material by smashing it with a sledgehammer, stood on top and did jumping jacks and even dropped it off a 30-metre-tall building. Next, he handed it over to some hyped-up youth from MEC. They paddled it down foam and froth, scraping it over jagged rocks and wrapping it around large boulders. The damage was only slight—the new material was a success.

Tuff StuffNova Craft

TuffStuff is 20 per cent lighter than ABS—weighing at 26.7 kg (59 pounds) in a 16-foot canoe. I got the lighter version at 24.5 kg (54 pounds). Kinda like the lighter version of ABS called R-lite.

I ended up testing mine out while visiting owner of Badger Paddles, Mike Ramsay. Check out the video. At the end of the day it only suffered a mild inside crack—easily fixed with a glop of Gorilla Glue.

Watch the Video Here:

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