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Montana Made: Adipose Boatworks of Helena

Posted at 10:09 AM, Feb 21, 2017
and last updated 2018-08-31 10:09:14-04

A couple of fly fishermen with a vast knowledge of the sport and a desire to create the best drift boat came together in 2009 and Adipose Boatworks was born.

Reporter Melissa Jensen takes us behind the scenes to learn more about the Helena company and the boats in this Montana Made report.

The first steps in creating an Adipose drift boat begin with a team of four people working in synchronization to complete each fine-tuned step in the process of what will — after about five days time — become the boat of someone’s dreams.

"There’s no motor. The idea is that you have a rower in the middle that rows you down the river. And you have an angler in the front and the back," said Adipose Boatworks general manager Justin Waayenberg.

The company got started when a couple of fly fishermen put their collective experience together to build a boat specifically for the sport. The Adipose Flow was born and the first one was finished in June 2010.

"Our flow model is kind of a hybrid-skiff design, so definitely good for tailwaters and then up to Low Class 3 rapids and some High Class 3 depending on the water," Waayenberg said.

Waayenberg himself has built more than 200 of the boats, since coming on board the summer of 2010. He’s now general manager of Adipose Boatworks.

In the company’s early days it took about a month to make one start to finish — but growth over the last six years puts that time down to less than a week. 75 boats are made each year, and they’re sent all over the country.

"The farthest we’ve shipped would be all the way up to northern Maine, down to Georgia, different parts of California. Any state that has flowing water we’ve probably sent at least one boat there," said Waayenberg.

The company’s growth continues, as they prepare to unveil a new model: the Adipose Runoff.

"The new Runoff is our high-sided model that’s really made to handle big water, a lot of the Pacific Northwest rivers, Colorado, Utah, Yellowstone at high water, some of the big rivers in Montana and just anyone who wants a little extra safety," explained Waayenberg.

He told MTN News that Adipose drift boats are a Montana product made by Montana people. But it’s also a company that brings people to the state since many of the customers come here in person to pick up their boat in person.

"We’re employing people in Montana, building something that we’re proud of to be in Montana, but also we’re bringing in a ton of people to Montana that are going to come fish here, buy fishing licenses, buy gear, get lodging — everything," Waayenberg said.

Watch the videos to learn more about the two men who founded Adipose Boatworks and the company’s role in supporting Project Healing Waters.

Web extras:

Video: How it all began

Video: Helping Project Healing Waters