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Nantahala Racing Club Inherits Dagger Racing Molds

Variety of Wildwater and Slalom racing hulls available to "garage" boat builders

by Chris Hipgrave
USAWildwater K-1
Treasurer, US Wildwater Committee

October 9, 2002 -- Bryson City, NC

The Nantahala Racing Club took possession of the Dagger race boat molds this month after an exclusive agreement was made between Watermark Inc, (the owners of Dagger Inc.) and the N.R.C. of Bryson City, NC. The announcement offers a silver lining to the news that Dagger would end race boat production earlier this year.

Dagger stopped building race boats following about a decade of racing leadership, begun when they acquired Valley Mill Boat Works and moved then owner and Wildwater legend Andy Bridge to Tennessee to manage Dagger Composites. The division continues to manufacture sea kayaks, which carries a far higher profit margin for the company than race boats could.

"We really enjoyed doing the racing thing with the composite boats," said Mike Steck of Dagger. "It takes a significant amount of time to create new boats that gave racers that split-second advantage, and with the growth in our other divisions, it became more of a challenge for us to dedicate the necessary resources to composite race boat development. It was a really difficult decision given the history and the level of commitment we've had in the past. I really wish we could carry on, but we would lose a lot of ground."

The agreement, which took several months to negotiate, allows the designs to move into the public domain where anyone can borrow a mold and construct a boat. In racing circles there are many garage boat makers capable of making top quality boats.

More important, these molds will allow the the construction of inexpensive boats for beginners, juniors and those not looking to race at the National level, rather than opting for the expensive prospect of importing boats from Europe.

In addition to a multitude of the slalom K1 and C1 molds, including all the Scott Shipley designs, the following wildwater molds are available for use.

Tip-Top C1 - A stable, user-friendly C1 still used by a number of racers across the world.
SuperStar K1 - Probably the best entry level K1 available. Stable and user friendly.
Kesako K1 - Super fast but really hard to paddle in whitewater.
Esox K1 - Still used internationally, this is a fast boat that also works in the rough.

To find out more, or to arrange use of a boat mold, contact the Nantahala Racing Club at 828-488-2175 extension 108 or Chris Hipgrave at

Chris Hipgrave is Tresurer of the U.S. Wildwater Committee and a K-1 Wildwater racer living near Bryson City, NC. Reach him at