HIKE 48.com is run by a husband and wife team from Dundas, Ontario. Veronika and Eric discovered Gumotex boats while river rafting in Europe and were impressed by their durability over the rocky sections of water during the 3-day tour. After looking into buying a couple of boats to bring back to North America, they discovered that no one was distributing them in Canada. And together with Veronika’s brother Martin, decided to give people the opportunity to discover the brand themselves. “At first we let friends rent them because we have so many natural wonders around us here in Ontario and I like to say - life is better on the water”, says Veronika, the company’s customer support mainstay. “ But after using the kayaks, transporting them in backpacks instead of having to tie them onto car roofs or trailers and seeing their quality, they wanted to buy them. Going out river kayaking with a bunch of our friends and their kids has become summer tradition”.
The couple along with their 3 kids and dog are now out on the water as much as possible. “We have a couple of rivers we love coming back to but finding new gems to visit is always part of the plan. We even took 2 boats with us to Cuba in the spring. They’re light, they fit into a suitcase and having them in the warm ocean with the kids snorkelling beside us was amazing”, explains Eric. “Enjoying nature with the kids is the best. Plus it keeps them off the electronics which is a double bonus. And it provides a good lesson about caring for your environment with sustainable products”.
The boats are still manufactured in the Czech Republic as they have been for over 70 years. Each boat is hand-crafted and takes at least 6 weeks to make. “When we first visited the factory it was amazing to see that these boats actually start off as a wheel-sized hunk of natural rubber. Being eco-friendly, not made of plastic or PVC, nor being made in China really impressed me as much as their quality so we went from bringing 2 boats home to bringing 20”. And canoboat.ca was born.