November 26, 2011 in Washington Voices

Boating specialist Kurtz is floating a new idea

Custom wood paddleboards ‘art’
J. Bart Rayniak photoBuy this photo

After craftsman Mitch Santos custom-builds the hollow wood stand-up paddleboards, Scott Kurtz finishes them using fiberglass and resin coating.
(Full-size photo)

At a glance

What: Contemporary Fiberglass and Marine, 10907 E. Marietta Ave.

Call: (509) 995-6239

Longtime boating enthusiast and Spokane Valley businessman Scott Kurtz is peddling a new water toy.

He recently joined forces with woodworker Mitch Santos, of St. Maries, to create custom stand-up paddleboards.

Stand-up paddleboarding is a fast-growing sport across the country – an individual sport in which a person stands on the board and uses a long-handled paddle to glide across the water. It’s been a sport and mode of travel for decades, mainly in islands across the globe.

Now, as an individual sport, it has become a favorite cross-training activity for skiers and other athletes as well as a sport for water enthusiasts who enjoy the calm.

“It’s incredibly relaxing,” said Kurtz, whether you choose to go a few feet off shore or farther. “It’s easy to learn, and it’s anything but boring.”

Kurtz owns Contemporary Fiberglass and Marine and is known worldwide for the custom extended swim platforms he has been making for boaters for the past eight years. That business along with boat repair keeps him busy, but he said he was drawn to both paddleboarding and the fine work of Santos when he first saw both earlier this year.

Santos delivers his custom hollow, wooden pieces to Kurtz, who finishes the product with fiberglass and resin. They look a lot like surfboards, but at about $2,800 each, customers will want to save these boards for calmer waters.

The finished product is a smooth and balanced piece of equipment. They are lightweight, about 35 pounds each, because they are made without interior foam filler, and the custom wood designs, along with wood-burning artwork by Santos, makes each board a showpiece.

“It’s like a floating piece of art, and they are more expensive (than manufactured foam boards),” Kurtz said. “These should last a lifetime. They are the ones you can pass from generation to generation.”

Kurtz said the paddleboards will be on display at Spokane’s annual boat show in January.

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