Chris Mitchell, founder of KeelEazy, tells how KeelEazy got started:
“In 2009, I was spending a great deal of time teaching surfing and hanging out at the ocean. Up here in Washington we have fewer choices than many places around the world, but my favorite is Hobuck Beach at the NW corner of Washington State. It is a beach break but a very gradual slope. At low tide the water line can be as much as a quarter mile from camp. With poly boats most people just pick up the stern and drag the bow on the fine sand. I tried it with a new composite boat (a heavy sea kayak) that I was testing. I stopped after about 25 yards and inspected the hull. I was amazed to find the gelcoat gone where it had contacted the sand.
“I spent the rest of that summer trying all the kinds of tapes, films, and rubber strips that I could find to see if I could come up with a way to resolve this problem. It made no sense to me to add a fiberglass keel strip to the keel to protect it from the same material the boat was made of. I finally found a PVC material that could be mated with mechanical adhesive that worked great. With a few refinements, that is the KeelEazy we sell today. We have expanded the product line to include other specialty cuts to solve other abrasion problems.”
Chris has retired from KeelEazy, but remains a resource for the company with his vast kayaking experience. Paulette Bergh now operates KeelEazy out of Bellingham, WA where she also rows, sails, kayaks and Stand Up Paddle-boards as often as she can. Her friend Dave does the shipping, and her son Sam and daughter Emilia help out as needed with various tasks. They all love recreating outside when they’re not working.