The year was 1968. Richard Nixon was elected president of the United States. Apollo 8 launched the first American manned mission to the moon. The Beatles’ “White” album hit number one and a gallon of gasoline cost just 34 cents. It was also the year that the company that would quickly become the industry leader in boating innovation was born.
From its inception as Eskay Plastics, the young company focused on developing innovative, quality watercraft at affordable prices. In 1970, the company introduced the world’s first plastic pedal boat, followed by the first plastic canoe the following year. But this was just the beginning for the company, whose name was changed to Pelican International in 1978.
The company continued to develop new materials and manufacturing techniques that quickly set new industry standards in performance, safety, comfort and durability.
In 1995 the current owners purchased the company from their father. The company began a decade of aggressive growth and quickly outgrew its existing location. In 2001, Pelican built a 200,000 square foot factory in Laval, Quebec. At the same time, the company began to invest in state of the art twin-sheet thermoforming machinery and shortly thereafter, the first Pelican Kayak was launched.
In 2005, as Pelican continued to expand its operations, the company once again outgrew its facilities and another 100,000 square feet were added to its plant, for a current total of 300,000 square feet.
Never content to stand on its laurels, at Pelican, the innovation never stops. In 2009, the company introduced its mid-to-high end Elie kayak line. The Lavika line of accessories followed in 2010. In 2011, Pelican’s Elie Strait 140 XE was named ‘Best Boat” by Outside Magazine. Most recently, the company expanded its market segments by introducing a line of kayaks specially proportioned for younger paddlers, a complete line of stand-up paddleboards, as well a line of highly advanced kayak models equipped with features for more sophisticated paddlers. In 2012, the company’s launched its impressive Pulse series, a line of affordable kayaks that has made it possible for more paddlers than ever to get on the water.
To date, Pelican has sold over 1.7 million boats in over 25 countries and is now the largest manufacturer of small plastic boats worldwide. The company continues to innovate and invest in the state-of-the-art technology that enables it produce durable, quality products at affordable prices.
Logo courtesy Pelican International