Mike Neckar is quietly paddling U.S. retail waters again

Mike Neckar, the Czech-born founder of Necky Kayaks (owned by Johnson Outdoors), is quietly making a foray into the U.S. paddling market again, SNEWS® has learned.
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Mike Neckar, the Czech-born founder of Necky Kayaks (owned by Johnson Outdoors), is quietly making a foray into the U.S. paddling market again, SNEWS® has learned.

Neckar, who is still manufacturing boats for Johnson Outdoors in Europe, told us that he’s not going to be put any other paddling manufacturers out of business with his new boat.

“I’m just looking to keep a few people employed,” Neckar told us, adding that he’s likely not even going to generate even so much as a glance from his competitors since he only wants to work with a select group of U.S. retailers -- no more than 15.

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His new boat, which looks like a roomier version of the very popular but more high-performance Necky Elaho, is the Nifty, built by and for his Canadian company, Delsyk.

The Nifty is 14 feet long and comes with either a drop skeg or an all-aluminum rudder. It also has two bulkheads and flush-fitting hatches. With a wedge located under the seat, the user can change the angle of the seat along with the angle of the backrest. Retail is around $1,400.

What else is Neckar up to besides building boats? The man who some have dubbed an engineering genius is now into greenhouses too. Though he doesn’t yet have a product catalog, his Abbotsford, British Columbia, factory will soon be turning out rotomolded greenhouse kits that, he told us, “Anyone can put together” and will “still look good after 15 years.”

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SNEWS® View: OK, we know that greenhouses are not outdoor products other than the fact they are used, well, outdoors, but trust us on this one -- if photos don’t lie, these have to be some of the most beautiful and well-built greenhouses we’ve ever seen. Shouldn’t surprise anyone really. Neckar has a design history of looking at a product, and then coming out with something he feels will perform better and be more user-friendly. It’s nice to also see him back dabbling in U.S. waters with a new boat. While we will agree he’s not likely to make a splash large enough for any other manufacturer to worry about, our bet is there will be a line of specialty retailers who remember Neckar’s quality and design chops sufficiently to want to carry the Nifty. And, we suspect, the number will be greater than 15.

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