China Boats Taking Over

Noticed watching guys at the halau taking their canoes to the water. Last year and the year before they were pueos. Now all I see are Ehukais. My friend ordered the new pueo and said the cost was $5200. The quotes for the china mades are far less. God bless you guys at are witnessing what happens when you go against an industry that has lower labor costs ., lower rents and cheaper materials. I pray that you prosper.

Submitted by poidog on Sat, 08/29/2015 - 7:14pm

So canoe- manifacturer and canoe designer will fade away from hawaii, the birthplace of oc1 ???
Buy local...

#1 Sat, 09/05/2015 - 6:54am

assright cossi, BUY LOCAL!

#2 Sun, 09/06/2015 - 11:18am

I'm not sure how the profits are divided on the new wave of Chinese boats. I do notice that the hot Chinese boats (Ehukai, Scorpius, Anteres) are designed by local designers, and built in a factory that was originally a local builder ( Maui FIberglass). I understand that it does take away from local jobs as now these designers don't need to have a shop and employees here, but i don't know how much of the money comes back to Hawaii.
I do think there is one thing that i like about having the Chinese manufacturer, a choice. There are many options now on boats. I like that a Kai Waa craft can be either one. With that people can now compare Chinese vs local without having design differences.
That being said, I have owned both Ozone and local built boats. The Ozone manufacturing process builds a strong and light boat, but only one layup option. Kamanu, builds "the boat" with many layup options. Paint vs, gelcoat.
Compare for yourselves. For me I will buy locally, because overall, Local offers me what I am looking for. gel coat seems more ding resistant, and we are having trouble with the paint , and even the repainting of our chinese boat.

#3 Mon, 09/07/2015 - 9:16am

I know some people may complain but here's my take. Having raced in both the oc1 and the new unlimited six man in both Hawaii made wet layup boats and the ozone built autoclave boats. I can truly say without a doubt there is a huge advantage of having a boat with the stiffness of those boats being built by ozone. There is a reason why Boeing, and NASA use that type of technology for building their equipment. There is a significant difference in performance on the water both one man and unlimited 6 man. If ozone could build in Hawaii with that technology they would, but unfortunately the cost per boat would nearly double. At the end of the day I'm just trying to find the equipment that allows me to go the fastest on the water and IMHO the boats built by ozone give me that edge to take it to the next level. When the winds are bombing and the seas are big I worry less about whether the equipment will hold up and more about how I can go over the next bump in front of me. Whether in the oc1 or unlimited six man these boats are allowing the sport of canoe paddling to grow tremendously. When you buy a boat from ozone you support the rep where you bought it and the designers (Kai Bartlett, John Puakea, & mike giblin) all from Hawaii. At the end of the day you gotta find what works best for you, don't think your not supporting Hawaii when buying from ozone. These designers and reps gotta make a living and support their families too.

#4 Mon, 09/07/2015 - 10:06am

Says the Rep

#5 Mon, 09/07/2015 - 6:00pm

in the spirit of full disclosure, let me start by saying this. i once painted the walls in Kamanu's shop when they first opened, i'm friends with the owners, and in the future will always buy their boats. i did once buy a V1 from Tahiti. I pay full price for my boats. my business makes the stickers for all Kamanu canoes. i do work another full time job, but Kamanu's regular purchases are what keep my family afloat month to month. buying a canoe from Ozone will keep food on other people's tables in Hawai'i as well. i have no personal vendetta against Ozone and use their OC2 on a regular basis to race with my buddy on the mainland. i met Mike Goblin on my last trip up there and he was very nice. i have nothing against anyone for that matter. Kai, the Foti brothers, Odie, and Tiger have all been very nice to me and support the HVA which i help organize. i have no wish to offend any of these manufacturers as i feel they are all vital to our sport and the continued success of HVA.

as soon as i saw the $5200 dollar price mentioned above i texted Luke to see if this was the case. here is what i was told. a Pueo2 costs $4400 to $5000 dollars. a $4400 version is a normal layup stock boat. the $5000 version is all carbon, with carbon pedals, a 100% custom spray job, ultra light cable, all the options you can think of. here's a link to their price list. read it for yourself.

i won't speculate on any manufacturer, prices, or how boats are built. out of curiosity i looked at the Ozone web site but didn't see prices.

#6 Tue, 09/08/2015 - 1:49pm

The point is that with the production oversea at just one productionplace the whole sport/market is depending on them, when the number of local builders is shrinking. And that is not good for many reasons...

#7 Wed, 09/09/2015 - 6:00am

On the other hand, it has allowed the Hawaiian designers/canoe builders to develop more designs and make a huge variety available to the paddlers around the world.

#8 Wed, 09/09/2015 - 7:04am

Since it is all about technology, which the reps say “is the same as used by Boeing aircraft”, you lose the handcrafting element that outrigger canoes have always had………rigging of a canoe has nothing to do with modern technology or robots,.

Lose the character of the true outrigger canoe, along with the skills which have created it, and this is what you get…………something which is crapped out of a factory along with all the other toxic industrial redundancy.

We saw it all coming as soon as the core values changed, when the sheeple started bleating about lighter being faster…………even with space age materials technology you only get a slowski when you stick some plumbing and an ama onto a ski…… matter how light you make it.

Kamanu rode the manufacturing bump a little longer than some others have, but when the robots can make the same thing a bit lighter and cheaper, the sheeple are going to be chased to another pasture.

#9 Wed, 09/09/2015 - 9:30am

Sad but true

#10 Wed, 09/09/2015 - 9:49am

N den, who going fix em up laters when they all stay bus up? As when they goin have to rely on the "handcrafting" skills of the local craftsman who no can fix em now, because they working Costco and moonlighting tending bar in Waikiki because they lost their jobs. Auwe...

#11 Wed, 09/09/2015 - 10:14am

goodwaka, you're a bit off in your references to carbon layup.

These canoes are still produced by humans, and they put the material into molds just like the older fiberglass layups.

The main difference is that the materials have improved to utilize prepreg which is way more workable than having to mix resins and hardners followed by spreading the resin over the entire canoe, and they use inflatable bladders to create a seamless canoe. It's an amazing process and it takes a craftsman to perform this work.

I think there good mana with any canoe that's made, regardless of material type and who built it.

#12 Wed, 09/09/2015 - 12:22pm

This meeting of the OCPaddler Mafia Board of Directors is called to a close:

Everyone should pay a lot more.
No other product has "mana".
If you dont agree with the BOD then your "sheeple".

Meeting adjourned.

#13 Wed, 09/09/2015 - 3:32pm

"Reference to carbon layup" ec,,,etc………the pre-preg I know of is much the same as the stuff used in a factory where I used to work. They were making BMW car bumpers from the stuff.
In this factory they made the pre=preg on a machine they made themselves as well; saving costs of importing the stuff in a refrigerated container.
Fact that carbon is used as reinforcement with the matrix makes little difference, except in cost.
Once you get the sheet matreials (pre-preg and core) robotically cut by CNC /CMC process, it gets packed into the tooling by hand……….if it was cheaper to do this with robots then it would be done so.
Labour costs in China just make this whole industrial process cost effective…..especially considering the fact that the product needs to be prepped and painted just like the BMW bumpers I mentioned.

Maybe the average consumer would be convinced by this line about ‘skills’ required to produce one of these pop-outs. But we are not all so greatly impressed by the costly equipment used to make them. Sure you need an autoclave and re-usable bladders (instead of low temp vac bags) to make a single part pop-out………….is it really more impressive when it comes down to hand skills, than making a koa wa’a with only stone tools??

For an airplane you sure need this level of design and tech ability, it’s just way OTT for a craft directly related to the very good ones made with the stone tools.

#14 Wed, 09/09/2015 - 3:49pm

sorry to have taken so long to apologize to Kamanu crew for the misinformation as far as canoe pricing....should not have relied on the source as reliable (Who said he had just ordered a standard layup new generation) without checking on prices. I do not know about all the manufacturing nuances.....but I really like to see local builders do what they love and to thrive. I was worried about that when I was under the misimpression that Chinese boats could undercut them so much that demand had decreased and that pricing went up to compensate for that.... glad that is not the case.

#15 Sun, 11/08/2015 - 7:53pm

Affordability keeps OC paddling accessible and perpetuates interest and enthusiasm. High-end custom local builds serves the more experienced paddler as well.
I like to believe both markets are complementary, and the most popular boat waxes and wanes with time and change.
It ain't a perfect system but as long as boats are being paddled in oceans the enjoyment of a cool sport is shared. There are also many other types of paddling also competing for the spotlight (sup, surfski, etc...).

I've seen similar changes on a much larger scale in the surfboard world, but my local shaper is still working just as hard now as 10-15 years ago....


#16 Mon, 11/09/2015 - 2:31pm

Let me start off by saying that I'm a bit biased since we are the Licensed Manufacturer of Bradley Canoes Worldwide except Hawai'i and using Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) or Out of Autoclave (OOA) technology. See links below for a detailed explanation.


First off, everyone needs to realize that autoclave technology is not the only way to make aerospace quality parts. There are Out Of Autoclave technologies being used in the aerospace industry that produce a light and stiff product as well. Not to mention that resin infusion produces fiber to resin ratios approaching and sometimes exceeding that of prepreg and definitely requires skilled labor.

For example: The Lightnings that we produce with the exact same lay-up as Sonny's come in almost 100 lbs lighter and the VARTM process makes them inherently stiffer than hand lay-up as well. Team Bradley can attest to this as they used one of our canoes at the Liberty Challenge this past June.

Also, due to a 30 - 35% cost savings in "American Made" raw materials as compared to Hawai'i and cheap shipping from the port of Los Angeles we can produce canoes (6-Man, 4-Man, OC-2, OC-1, V1 & Surfski) at a competitive price with freight costing less than half of what it costs to ship from Hawai'i.

The greatest part about this is that we can produce a product at a competitive price even though we are fully permitted with our local Air Quality Management District and Fire Authority, therefore following some of the most stringent environmental regulations in the world not to mention California Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards protecting employees.

Although we are not located in Hawai'i we are supporting the Hawaiian economy through licensing fees and more importantly keeping jobs in America which helps the economy not only here in California but Hawai'i as well.

Forgive my rant but paddlers need to know that an autoclave doesn't necessarily mean a Lighter, Faster, Stronger canoe and does anyone care about Durability?


#17 Mon, 11/09/2015 - 2:38pm

So Ulu Pono, are you making any other boats in addition to the Lightning right now?

#18 Mon, 11/09/2015 - 4:15pm


Currently we are offering several lay-ups of the Bradley Lightning & Striker ranging from 225 - 350 ponds as well as custom sailing versions of both from Sonny's original molds, not the "one piece mold" that changed the hull shape of the Lightning.

Soon we hope to have other offerings referenced above and we will be offering the Bradley Ultra at some point in 2016!

Like us on Facebook to get updates on the Ultra and other offerings in the future.


#19 Mon, 11/16/2015 - 9:38am

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