Wisdom has it that there is nothing—absolutely nothing—so much worth doing as messing around with wood boats. It has certainly proved that way for 36-year-old Kevin Fitzke. After spending his childhood in Minnesota building model boats and airplanes, he is now the master craftsman and designer behind Fitzke Wood Paddleboards, making seaworthy works of functional art.
Inspired by Prohibition-era wooden boats and airplanes, Fitzke paddleboards are all hand made, hand painted and built on a low volume production line. His vintage-style boards are made from the best marine-grade mahogany plywood, top of the line finishes and incorporates custom painted designs. Each one is built to order or is to his signature style of design, making them the true definition of one-of-a-kind.
Chairman of the Board
Kevin grew up in Apple Valley, Minnesota, an area surrounded by beautiful lakes. He took up paddleboarding a little over three years ago; it involves standing on the middle of a board with your feet shoulder-width apart, propelling yourself along with an oar. “It’s a completely different way of being on the water,”
Kevin says. “It’s like surfboarding but with more control, and without the need for any particular type of wave.”
He launched the first Bootlegger prototype in 2017 and with the production models floating out in 2018. Acclaimed for its design, it has already been featured in Vanity Fair, Bombadier Experience, Washington Post, Rolls Royce Owners Club: Strive for Perfection and many lifestyle and outdoor product publications.
The 1920’s and 30’s style comes from his fascination with the Prohibition era. “I tip my hat to the craftsmen of that time, “he says. “Boats were made with real attention to detail. I wanted to capture that timeless quality but with modern day techniques.”
The Bootlegger, which is patent pending for it’s shape and “secret” storage compartment is light and fast, but Kevin is also working on more innovative board models to debut in the near future.
There is nothing quite like these boards on the water. “My aim is for them to have nostalgic value in years to come. I want Fitzke Paddleboards to become the collectibles of the future.”