Mitrich Paddleboards: Crafting Dreams from Wood and Waves

By Kailani Wetherell for Sustainable Surf, 02 July 2024. 

Since high school, Dmitry Zhenya has balanced his time between being a weekend hang glider pilot, an occasional cyclist, and an outdoor camper. A jack of many trades, he spent at least 40 hours a week in the office until January 2018 when he broke free from the ordinary and started his own paddleboard shop.

The Spark of Inspiration

On a snowy November day in 2017, Dmitry stumbled upon a picture of a wooden strip-built kayak while browsing the web. This image ignited a spark within him, combining everything he loved: craftsmanship, art, aesthetics, and adventure. From that moment, Dmitry knew what he wanted to pursue in the coming years.

As he delved deeper into his newfound passion, he discovered hollow wooden paddleboards, sharing the same techniques and values and perfectly suited for the Urals, often called the land of a thousand lakes. Six months after Dmitry started his small workshop, his friend and ex-coworker Zhenya visited. Impressed by the fishbone frame of the first paddleboard, Zhenya joined Dmitry in the Mitrich Paddleboards journey two weeks later.

A Passion Project Turned Full-Time Job

Mitrich is a passion project, but it didn’t come without hard work. For Dmitry, the eco-friendly nature of their boards completes their essence. These boards are not just adventure companions but memory keepers and collectible artworks. Plastic simply doesn’t align with their philosophy. They use the well-known strip-planking technique, building a wooden hull around the fishbone frame and laminating it with fiberglass and epoxy resin. Mitrich uses only plantation-grown and reclaimed wood and certified bio-based resins.

Most of their lineup consists of flatwater boards for racing, touring, and leisure paddling. Now, having moved to Portugal, they’re venturing into wave boards, despite the local experts being far more experienced. They embrace the challenge with enthusiasm.

Eco-Friendly and Aesthetic

Mitrich Paddleboards keep the exterior of their boards simple, showcasing the wood texture and using contrast inserts to accentuate natural colors. Dmitry eagerly applied for the Eco-board project, confident in their compatibility with the Gold level badge. Drawing inspiration from other builders’ dedication, they aim to prove that high-quality, aesthetically pleasing, and high-performance products can be made sustainably. They hope to inspire others in the industry to adopt similar practices, amplifying the overall positive environmental impact.

Looking Ahead

In the future, Mitrich plans to expand their product line to include more wave boards, leveraging Portugal’s prime surfing location. They also aim to engage more with the paddleboarding community through workshops, events, and collaborations, promoting values of craftsmanship, adventure, and environmental responsibility. Inspired by fellow craftsmen, they hope to occasionally be an inspiration themselves, demonstrating that pursuing what you love can lead to amazing and fulfilling journeys. From the snowy beginnings in Russia to the sunlit waves of Portugal, their journey is a testament to the magic that happens when sustainable waves are chased and crafted into reality.

Ready to blend the world of wood and waves? Follow along @mitrich_boatsandboards as they continue to share their story of dedication and passion.