China Manufacturing

Just a link to some photos.

The appeal of making canoes in China usually comes down to cost. Enjoy your blue ocean while you still can. No regulations, no rules, no workers rights, no conscience.

Sure hope that "cheaper" boat is worth it...

Submitted by goto on Thu, 11/05/2009 - 6:57am

This goes far beyond canoes, and unfortunately while many people say they don't want products made in China, they vote with their wallets when confronted with the greater price of "made in the USA". Buying a Hawaiian built canoe has minimal effect if you're shopping at Walmart/Costco etc. day in and day out.
When people are willing to spend the bucks everyday to support the American worker, that's when change will happen.

#1 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 7:29am

$10,000 hawaiian made canoes, or grow the sport. Take your pick but there is a negative side to everything. Thanks for pointing it out to us though!

#2 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 7:30am

Who's selling $10K hawaiian-built canoes? I see 'em made for under $4K every day. Sure, it's a little more $$ than a China boat, but like Jibofo said, you gotta vote with your wallet. It's more than just saving the environment though, (or at least slowing the polluting of it) it's about supporting the canoe builders and workers that you paddle with here in Hawai'i.

Just to save a few bucks.

#3 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 7:37am

I agree with you 100%. But, if there were no china made canoes, the waiting lists for hawaiian made canoes would get even longer which would eventually drive the prices sky high ( I was only using 10k figuratively). And it will only be another 2 or 3 years before there are no more 3500 hawaiian canoes either.

#4 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 7:48am

I agree that's a possible scenario. It's also possible that more people in Hawai'i, (or even on the mainland) would start making canoes, or that already established companies would expand their operations, creating more American jobs. Sweet!
As for there not being anymore $4K canoes soon, well, inflation is a whole other topic... new thread anyone?

#5 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 7:53am

There are other places in the world other than china to make canoes! Tahiti and NZ have seemed to grow the sport nicely - as with Canada. I agree with the sentiment by Goto- but that is not going to change this dynamic - because we are part of whole Chinese manufacturing - supply and demand for cheaper goods problem.

#6 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 7:55am


Are you saying that all of the materials used (epoxy, resin, carbon fiber, fiberglass, paint, steel, etc.) at Kaimanu are coming from environmental safe factories in USA only? I imagine many of those materials at Kaimanu are coming from China or Mexico in factories polluting the environment greatly. I don't know for sure.

Some of the cost saving in China is about not having to ship building materials and labor of course.

#7 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 8:04am

Good points pullingwater. Tahiti, NZ, and Australia too! China's offenses won't stop just over canoes. Everyone should be conscious about ALL of their choices as consumers. It can be a pain in the ass, but isn't it worth it? And if you don't do it, who will?

#8 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 8:06am

Im always for supporting local first but on the environmental side, there probably really isnt a huge difference in the overall environmental impact between a China made canoe versus one made here. Our rubbish all ends up somewhere to sad to say.

#9 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 8:29am

kind of a defeatist attitude you have if you think changing one thing in your life won't make a difference. If that's the case, then no one should ever change since everyone else isn't doing it. If enough people make a small change it makes a big difference. little things like inflating your tires on your car or changing to CFL bulbs can all help. i like to imagine all the things i do at least help cancel out one hummer or something. probably silly of me to think so. but it keeps me going.

#10 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 8:50am

Yes, yes, our rubbish all ends up someplace, but we have regulations that at least provide some fairly reasonable deterrents to just dumping waste materials straight into our waterways, landfills, oceans, and air. Most of these deterrents (such as the Clean Water Act) have been in place for a majority of our lives. This is a good thing and has lessened the impacts of pollution. These regulations have not solved all of the problems associated with pollution, but they have had a net positive impact.

China has none of these types of regulations, or if they do have them they are not enforced. Similar problems face India and other upcoming industrial nations.

Kona J said:

Are you saying that all of the materials used (epoxy, resin, carbon fiber, fiberglass, paint, steel, etc.) at Kaimanu [sic] are coming from environmental safe factories in USA only?

I'd actually be pretty intrigued in seeing what the environmental footprint of a typical OC-1 is. How bad are the resins, solvents, and other materials used. Are there more environmental and human health friendly alternatives?

I think I actually saw this company linked off of Hiro's blog: Imagine Surfboards. I was interested in one of their stand up boards and the pricing is competitive with other manufacturers (at least from my quick search online), so reducing environmental impact doesn't necessarily mean a higher cost.

#11 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 8:53am

All im saying is that trying to argue getting an oc1 made in Hawaii because its better for the environment probably isnt all that true. Do it because its a better canoe and your supporting your local builder/economy.

#12 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 8:57am


#13 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 9:03am

If there was a big difference in pricing for the consumer I think the issue might get a bit more reflection from me, but for the consumer, the price points for a chinese boat haven't given us much of a reason to camp on one side of the fence or another on this issue. The Chinese price is pretty similar to the local price. I'd like to buy a Hawaiian, US, or tahitian made canoe for a decent price. If however the price point for decent build quality drops below $2700 from a foreign factory, the market forces may speak for themselves. Right now though, the vendors seem to be holding a line on price throughout the market no matter where the canoe is manufactured so I don't feel as if considering a chinese OR a local boat on price a big deal. Surely the margins are not the same though. The wait time for a build is probably the biggest thing a consumer is considering when buying local or not. It's no coincidence to me that this thread has arrived as folks are beginning to gear up for upcoming oc-1 season in Hawaii. I hope the local guys are able to keep up with the demand.

#14 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 9:12am

jpi92109 said:

All im saying is that trying to argue getting an oc1 made in Hawaii because its better for the environment probably isnt all that true.

And I'm arguing it probably is true. There is going to be waste associated with building a canoe, surfski, or surfboard, where ever it is built. That waste has a far better chance of being disposed of and handled properly in Hawai'i, the mainland, Australia or New Zealand than in China. This would be true regardless of where the raw materials are manufactured.

#15 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 9:16am

In my opinion, building boats in china has far more benefits for the builders than the consumers for sure. I was a "victim"of a china boat of the poorest quality so I know first hand but I think the boats currently being made are far superior to the boats im talking about. At least they are now safe and reliable. I scraped and saved and cut a lot of corners to buy a new hawaiian made boat but the difference is over $1000 for most boats made in china versus hawaii and for a lot of folks thats just too much of a difference to pass up.

I do agree that guys like kamanu and hopefully others minimize their waste and recycle to the max but the reality is that the places they send their chemical waste and other non recycleables dont just make it all disappear.

#16 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 9:31am

Goto, that was pure propaganda.

#17 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 11:53am

fuze, I've seen your facebook page. I'm very familiar with your socio-economic leanings. So I'll consider your last post a compliment. Thank you :)

#18 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 2:53pm


#19 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 2:33pm


#20 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 2:53pm


I apologize completely. I agree with everything you say. You are right.

Since you are a founding member of the OCPM, I must have lost my mind for a minute.

Please restore my status!

#21 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 3:14pm

Haha - he didnt mean you, he meant me. I lost my mind for a short minute but its ok and has been found and returned - not that im gonna use it.

#22 Thu, 11/05/2009 - 3:26pm

Rediculous! if you want to help stop Chinese polluting then quit buying any Chinese products . Or help them to clean up thier act. Badmouthing Chinese built outrigger canoes is just plain rediculous.

All are welcome to visit my facebook page and comment.

#23 Fri, 11/06/2009 - 4:25am

Sadly, I’m going to have to agree with Fuzerider here. China’s economic development is at a horribly high cost to its own people and the global environment, but the most effective way to get them to stop their behavior is to not purchase the products they make with exploitative labor and environmental destruction. Good on you jpi92109 for supporting a local business. At absolute minimum your decision did not waste the fossil fuel of shipping raw materials to China and then shipping the finished boat back across the Pacific. You also did not support the use of child labor or hazardous work conditions. And you supported the proper disposal of any hazardous waste.
Fuze, as for your facebook page: Bobby Jindal? Really?

#24 Fri, 11/06/2009 - 5:22am

Fuzerider, if we follow your advice, we shouldn't buy an OC-1 made in China because as a product made in China, it causes pollution. But, we also shouldn't bad mouth that same OC-1 made in China because it's ridiculous to do so, but why it is ridiculous isn't made clear (other than potentially being against your political/social beliefs). I'm a little confused by what you're saying with these two statements as they seem contradictory.

#25 Fri, 11/06/2009 - 5:23am

Like Zebignu I find myself in the unenviable position of agreeing with fuze. While buying a canoe built here supports our local economy (which is a good thing), in the big picture, canoes are less than insignificant with regards to our trade imbalance. The problem is the stuff that we buy day in, day out, year after year, that mount up to way more than even the most rabid paddler spends on canoes.
As far as goto's questioning the build quality of China versus local. For sure Kai, Karel, or the boys at Kaimanu can build a lighter canoe (if you want) than a stock China one but it will be more fragile. The quality of the current China built Outrigger Connection, Kai Wa'a, and Hurricanes is impressive.
And knowing Michael Giblin (a bit) who builds his Hurricanes and Kai's canoes in his China factory, I'm pretty sure that he's not using child labor, prison labor, or polluting the environment anymore than when he works on a canoe on Maui.
Goto is right though that fuze's facebook is truly bizzarro right wing.

#26 Fri, 11/06/2009 - 6:13am

This is an interesting thread, I think it's important to be honest about several of the issues discussed here. First, companies manufacturing products in China are not doing so to provide savings to the American consumer. Those companies are making products there in order to increase their own profits while exploiting the cheap labor and lack of environmental standards. I worked a number of years as a manufacturer's rep selling an array of sports related products, one of them being running shoes. The company I repped assembled their shoes in the US while competing with Nike, Reebok, Addidas etc who wholly manufacture in China and other third world locales. The company for whom I repped sold shoes at all the same price points as their competitors; this company still made a profit on their shoes with higher labor costs. However, their competitors by manufacturing in these locations where making much more generous returns by manufacturing there. These company's could sell their products cheaper but they choose not to.

I don't necessarily have a beef about companies wanting to make more money, I do have a beef with the misinformation of how they do so. Secondly, it's important to understand that most of the manufacturing going on in China stems from multinational corporations setting up contract agreements with manufacturing concerns over there. These corporations have done this with the full knowledge that these contractors would often times run these factories as sweat shops, using child labor etc. They also know that these contractors don't follow any environmental standards or minimal ones at best. These multinational corporations could demand that these contractors follow standards found in the US or Europe but they don't. So, let's be clear when laying blame in regards to environmental degradation in China or elsewhere, these corporations are most wholly to blame. Yes, the Chinese government has some responsibilty but these practices have been used by major manufacturers since the beginning of the industrial age. It's typically American to blame someone else for our bad behavior and employing our bad policies. Those corporations are completely complicit.

Lastly, one day America and these corporations very well could pay for industrializing a country such as China. Their short term grab for profits could very well lead to their demise as China begins to make comparable or better products selling them for less, eventually eating away at their market share. Maybe they will come out with a quality, more affordable OC1.

#27 Fri, 11/06/2009 - 6:48am

I know it off the topic of canoe, but it was brought up again

now what do we do?

#28 Fri, 11/06/2009 - 8:25am

JPI, there is a HUGE difference between throwing waste in the nearest river/body of water opposed to in a properly regulated land fill. HUGE. Much of the waste produce by Chinese factories are dumped directly into the nearest body of water. DIRECTLY. People swim, wash their clothes/dishes, play, and live around these bodies of water. So unless you and your family are playing touch football in a muddy landfill everyday for your whole life then you're a tiny bit off with your statement.

Added: JPI I think if you lived in China near these industrial plants for a while you'd think there was a big difference...

#29 Fri, 11/06/2009 - 11:32am

I know I only wrote about Chinese built one-mans, but I really do mean everything made in China... whether it's from an American co. or not.

#30 Fri, 11/06/2009 - 9:46am

Goto, lets be at least a little bit honest here ; I think you started this thread to help promote the "pristinely built"
, totally "green" Hawaiian Pueo.

#31 Fri, 11/06/2009 - 10:26am

Not really... I just saw those pics, and was disgusted by them - propaganda or not. There IS a connection to Chinese industry and the paddling world, however insignificant.

And to tell you the truth, I don't even know how "green" our materials/processes are at Kamanu.

#32 Fri, 11/06/2009 - 11:43am

I agree with goto's general point about conditions in china- I think it is indisputable. But in relation to OC1's, I think it's important to be clear whether the OC1 manufacturers are part of that problem- could be but no evidence or news about that. Do they take advantage of lax environmental regs to dump waste? Or spray with no type of protection, or spew fumes? They most certainly take advantage of lower labor costs.
And of course it's always better to support local workers and homegrown companies, no doubt.

Fuzer, i agree with everyone that your facebook page is raging cauldron of right wing bile.. if you took out your (former) vested interest with outrigger connection, i'd be curious if you would feel the same way about chinese imports vs. american products? maybe, since you probably oppose environmental or labor regulations period- WWARD- (what would ayn rand do)

#33 Fri, 11/06/2009 - 11:49am

We live in a capitalist world, the only way to save the planet is for someone to work out how to make a $ doing it.

Until then I'm going for a paddle!


#34 Fri, 11/06/2009 - 6:17pm

That`s exactly right Colin !! The marxists among us will find out just how capitalist the world needs to be to function properly when they run out of businesses to tax.

Read Atlas Shrugged if you haven`t already.

#35 Sat, 11/07/2009 - 2:52am

I'm sorry folks, but the true Capitalists of the world are the Chinese. We are in hock to them. Everything I own and buy everyday are made in China. So, so what if my surfski, one-man, and SUP are made there? Par for the course. Even the low interest rate on my mortgage and the boom and bust prices of real estate are due to them. They finance our economy period. Wonder why your kids can't get into the top colleges anymore? They're being outscored by a better educational system that produces more top scholars. The Chinese have taken Capitalism to the next level. Guess who needs "Re-Education."

#36 Sat, 11/07/2009 - 8:22am

Sorry to drag a conversation that had Fuze mentioning Ayn Rand back from the depths, but saw this on the NY Times today:

I'll take more regulations that ensure clean water any day…

#37 Tue, 02/09/2010 - 7:42am

Speaking of Ayn Rand ;

I `d go so far as to say we have her to thank for AM talk radio , one of my favorite sources of info and entertainment.

Did you read the John Galt noon time radio monologue ? She wrote this in 1947 and to this day it VERY closely resembles what you people hear on Rushs` EIB radio show.

#38 Tue, 02/09/2010 - 10:31am

BUY LOCAL!!!!!! It will only increase your quality of life!!!!!!!!!

#39 Thu, 02/11/2010 - 1:34pm

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