Canoe made of Hemp and Corn

It is touted as being made of hemp, corn, and fiberglass. But without even looking at the Mad River Malecite ECO canoe, I knew there was something wrong with the boat: Namely, it’s not for sale.

The South Carolina canoe maker decided to flex its “green” boat-making skills to create a super, Earth-friendly concept canoe made from mostly renewable resources. But it teases people with its existence.

Mad River ECO canoe.jpg

Mad River Malecite ECO concept canoe

The concept canoe contains a layer of non-“green” fiberglass to make it stronger. There are a couple layers of hemp fabric to form the hull shape and provide more rigidity, according to the company. Another layer of fiberglass adds strength and prevents water absorption, and a low-VOC (volatile organic chemical), corn-based clear coat is a final touch.

The Malecite ECO is based on the design of the Malecite, the original canoe that launched the Mad River brand 1971. It is a versatile, shallow-vee flat-bottom canoe. The concept canoe has ash gunwales, seat frames and trusses. There are beech wood decks, cane seat panels, and recyclable stainless steel fasteners.

Mad River ECO canoe seat.jpg

Cane seat panels add a classic touch

As if canoeing wasn’t “green” enough, Mad River just thought it would tease you with its non-production concept canoe. According to the company, it is available in a limited run of one canoe, and the price tag is $0. (“It’s not for sale, it’s for inspiration,” the company press release says.)

—Ryan Dionne

Posted by Brook - 09/01/2009 09:36 AM

From the folks at Mad River:
Glad to see you’re as excited about the Malecite ECO as we are. While paddling itself is an eco-friendly activity, contemporary boat making has room for improvement to become as sustainable and environmentally-friendly as the actual sport. That’s why we built the Malecite ECO: to take the next step. With consideration for materials and production, our goal was to make the most environmentally-sound canoe we could, without compromising contemporary performance or ease of use. We’re very proud of the result. It’s buoyed our belief that a “green” canoe can be made with contemporary materials and technologies; and that the canoe can be affordable. So here’s why we aren’t releasing this first version of the Malecite ECO: after going through this process, we believe there is more that can be done. Whether that means fiberglass alternatives or carbon offsets for production of shipping, it’s a work in progress. We’re definitely looking forward to the journey. If you have any questions or suggestions, visit

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