Move over, Best Made Co., there's a new outdoors-inspired design company in town. Montreal-based Norquay Co., a brand "dedicated to camping vibes," has just launched with a line of vibrantly painted canoe paddles. "Founded by a camping enthusiast obsessed with the great outdoors and equally for great design," the five collections—also named after places in Canada—are sure to make a splash in the design world (albeit perhaps less so in the hardcore canoeing community).
Of course, there's no denying the paddles' resemblance to Best Made Co.'s instantly iconic axes—memorably reviewed by the New York Times' critical shopper on the occasion of the opening of their Tribeca brick-and-mortar—and Norquay will certainly face the same skepticism. Many have noted that the former simply apply their visual expertise to an existing product (the axes are made in Maine and in NYC); details on the Canadians are scant, but based on their proud declaration that "our canoe paddles are made from 100% cherry wood in New Liskeard, Northern Ontario," a quick Google search turned up a possible supplier. Shellane Woodworking is based in that very town, and although I imagine more than a couple of New Liskeard's 5,000-ish residents know the difference between an ottertail and a beavertail, it so happens that they sell unpainted canoe paddles as Teal Paddles. A not-insubstantial markup, then, goes towards "[selecting each paddle] for its unique attributes" and "hand finishing in our Montreal, Quebec workshop."
Speculation aside, there's no denying the elegance of the designs, and in fairness to Norquay, the brand does express an element of authentic heritage in its designs:NORQUAY Co. canoe paddles are varnish finished for greater durability and protection against the elements. While it is not recommended for the rigors of extended wilderness trips, they are great for cruising around the lake on day trips or gracing your cabin's wall. With the purchase of a NORQUAY Co. canoe paddle, you will receive a handmade leather paddle harness created in collaboration with oopsmark.com