A vintage downriver racer, HiPP Mithril / Prijon Interceptor (?)

 

 

A vintage, barn-found, downriver racing kayak will be heading to Central Virginia tomorrow from its roots in New England, (found outside of Hudson, MA.)

If anyone knows anything about the history of Mithril Kayaks, Hingham, MA  please let me know.

The “Prijon Design” sticker is still clearly visible after all these years.

She looks fast.

== Update 8/12/17==

I got her home late last night and got her out on the water today after cleaning her up a bit.

The kayak is still in amazingly good shape for how old it is.  The deck is still pliable, the hull solid, and the seams are very well done.

From what research I’ve done and information I’ve been able to find, it appears as though this boat was a  Tony Prijon design for Mithril Kayaks back in the 1970’s.  Some have suggested it is a model called the Prijon Interceptor from a company named Hyperform (hence the “HiPP”,) but I have no idea.   Somebody on Paddling.com says he thinks, ” ‘Hyper Craft’ was a parent company for High Performance Plastics (HPP?) who built both Prijon and Lettmann designs under license?  HPP morphed into Hyperform in the late 70s.”

It is very obviously a downriver racer but has a “stubby” stern.  One person described these boats as constructed of “durable fiberglass reinforced plastic,” which seems accurate to me.  The boat is not just fiberglass, for sure.

It is of very similar design to my Phoenix Match II and paddles much the same also.

I would love for anyone who knows the history of the boat or the company to contact me.

I have a weird fondness for these old-school boats and have now added a bit more kayak history to my collection.

== Update 8/17/17 ==

One of my kayaking connections in New Zealand (whom I consider an expert) has verified this is a Prijon Interceptor and says it is “the grand daddy of the multisport boats.”

I think I might have overpaid a bit, but am comforted knowing I now own a classic.

9 thoughts on “A vintage downriver racer, HiPP Mithril / Prijon Interceptor (?)

  1. I built these Kayaks in the old Hingham Shipyard back in the early 70’s. The owners were Tom Wilson and Sam I forget his last name. They were works or art and VERY hard to build without air bubbles under the gel coat. The company was called High Performance Plastics and the top of the line light ones were called Mithril’s

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for helping with the history! Tom moved on after that to Phoenix Kayaks in KY and I spoke with him just a few months ago. If you can recall Sam’s last name at some point please let me know. It would be wild if I have one of the kayaks you built. Do you have any idea what happened to the company or the old moulds?

      Like

      1. Dave, I worked for HIPP a few summers while I was going to school. First at the old shipyard and then at their newer address at the other end of town. I worked in the finish department every time. In 1972 I finished the boats for the U.S. Olympic team to compete with in Munich at the Augsburg site. Tom and Sam were both amazing chemists but cost the company a ton of dollars attempting to produce a successful boat using the rotomolding process. Tom went on to form Phoenix. No idea what happened to Sam. I believe the company was called High Performance Products (not plastics) until it was renamed Hyperform. We also sold vests and spray skirts under the HIPP label. You should be able determine the year your boat was made by looking for a series of numbers cast into the boats hull along the seam line near the stern of the boat. The design was their downriver race boat. Width was due to specs. We also built two models of slalom boats and a more all-around sort of touring boat. There were a number of layups with the Mithril being the super light versions. I do not remember what year kevlar came along but we were probably the first to use it in kayaks. Terrible to work with since no one was using the vacuum bag process at the time and it was close to impossible to wet out completely. The entire process was a dirty job. Great boats though. Pissed off the German team when the U.S. showed up with lighter boats than they had to compete!

        Like

      2. Dave, I worked for HIPP a few summers while I was going to school. First at the old shipyard and then at their newer address at the other end of town. I worked in the finish department every time. In 1972 I finished the boats for the U.S. Olympic team to compete with in Munich at the Augsburg site. Tom and Sam were both amazing chemists but cost the company a ton of dollars attempting to produce a successful boat using the rotomolding process. Tom went on to form Phoenix. No idea what happened to Sam. I believe the company was called High Performance Products (not plastics) until it was renamed Hyperform. We also sold vests and spray skirts under the HIPP label. You should be able determine the year your boat was made by looking for a series of numbers cast into the boats hull along the seam line near the stern of the boat. The design was their downriver race boat. Width was due to race specs. We also built two models of slalom boats and a more all-around sort of touring boat. There were a number of layups with the Mithril being the super light versions. I do not remember what year kevlar came along but we were probably the first to use it in kayaks. Terrible to work with since no one was using the vacuum bag process at the time and it was close to impossible to wet out completely. The entire building process was a dirty job. Great boats though. Pissed off the German team when the U.S. showed up with lighter boats than they had to compete!

        Like

  2. Hi Dave & Bohanna.
    I purchased this kayak today in Newcastle Australia. I’m keen to find out more information about it.
    Slightly different to yours but it is 14’9″ (4.5m) long and 24.4 pounds (11.1 kg).
    It has some interesting markings eg nationals, Kevlar, Kahn 2 and is no 601.
    I’m sure it’s a prijon brand of kayak.
    On another site they mention if it had Kevlar in it it would go a golden hue inside. It sure does look a golden colour.
    I can’t add a photo, if you email me I can send one.
    Regards Dave Vought
    my email is d.vought (at} bigpond.com

    Like

  3. I bought a Lettmann downriver from High Performance Plastics around 1972. I raced it in some wildwater and flatwater races for several years. My modest success boosted me into the top class where I definitely did not belong. This boat, which I still have, was not a featherweight. I think it weighs about 40 pounds. It is a very specialized design. It really rips in rollers but is very cranky in other conditions. It is the only boat I have every paddled that neither tracks nor turns well. My impression was the Prijons were better all-around racers. It has been on my rack for many years and the condition seems OK although I haven’t taken a good look. If anyone is interested I would be happy to sell/give

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s