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Local inventor keeps canoe upright



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Carl Knaus and Paula Gustafson demostrate their new outrigger-equipped canoe. Photo by Phil Custodio (click for larger version)
July 17, 2013 - One summer day on the lake last year, Clarkston-area resident Carl Knaus' girlfriend was trying to get into a canoe when she tipped over into the water.

"I told her to be careful, but then when I got in it, I tipped it over," Knaus said. "It's embarrassing. I thought, that's the last time. I'm going to figure out something about that."

An inventor and author, he started working on prototypes, taking inspiration from the Hawaiian outrigger boats he would see in movies.

"I wanted to design something inexpensive that would work on a canoe," he said.

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He worked with a local builder to design and build three prototypes made out of wood.

"The first was too small, and the second looked like crap," he said. "The third one looks good and handles beautifully."

The eight-foot unit, called the Carl Canoe Outrigger Stabilizer, includes cutouts for a cooler and extra seat and makes the boat stable enough to stand in, he said. The backseat sits on rails so it can be slid forward and back.

"Put your feet up and fish from it it's fun," said business partner Paula Gustafson. "I love it."

Their plan is to take it on the road to show to liveries and retailers.

"Paula and I would like to buy a plastic mold and make it out of fiberglass," Knaus said.

Call him at 248-330-4124.

Phil Custodio

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