Canoes made in China are dangerous!

Recently I bought a Hokulea canoe from Hypr canoe in mid-December. Last weekend we were doing a Makapuu run and the aiko system fell apart three miles out from Makapuu point! Never the less, I managed to make it in to Sandy's.

I'm attaching a picture of the sleeve which receives the rear iako, which was bouncing around inside my hull. With the help of a boat maker friend we managed to cut open a hole in the hull to gain access. And you would be surprized what we found. We found that the plastic sleeve was secured to the hull with one layer of fiberglass and epoxy resin. The fiberglass around the sleeve was still soft!

If you have recently bought a Hokulea canoe from Hypr canoe, please be careful.

If you think about it, there is some guy who probably doesn't even know how to hold the paddle the right way, putting together your boat. In the open ocean, your safety and life depend on your equiptment being solid.

This same guy is getting paid like $5 US a day for 12 hours of work in epoxy resin vapor filled sweat shop. You would think at least the cost of the boat would come down. wrong! They went up, thanks to some slick marketing and you. Yes that's right you. As the consumer you have the ability to demand a better product. Unfortunately, most of us (including myself) wanted a boat fast and were willing to pay the bucks.

Next time you buy a canoe, ask where it's made and who is making it. Inquire about boats made in HAWAII. Pay a little extra, beg John Martin to take that Pahoa mold and make you one, or buy a used one made at home.

sleeve1.jpg438.47 KB

Submitted by kkuna on Sun, 01/29/2006 - 10:12pm

You bring up a good point. The cost has gone up and the quality has gone down. Not only that, the weight of the canoes has increased significantly. So, we are paying more for a heavier, crappier made canoe. And I gather your canoe was destoyed in the process of coming ashore at Sandy Beach so not only was your life/safety put in jeopardy but your out $3000+.
Any boat makers out there that would like to address this?
Also, I understand John Puakea still makes his canoes here. And John Martin, too. So as far as I know that's the only two who make all there canoes here. Is there anyone else?

#1 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 9:54am

Aloha kkuna,
I have posted some stuff here on Keizos web about Hukis.
I won't go on some diatribe about how wonderful Jude's kanus are, but they are made in the states, in a facility with paddlers and craftsmen and he guarantees his work.
I visited his shop in Sacramento, earlier this month, got a nice tour and he took me paddling in the Sacramento River. (It was 12' over flood!)

All the techno-geek rattle aside, he makes a beautiful watercraft and stands by his art.

It bums me out to see this happening, I hope you had some kind of insurance.

#2 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 10:52am

First - I'm glad Kkuna made it back to the beach.

I know I've heard people asking themselves about the quality of outsourced canoes for awhile, and wondering, too, why we pay about the same amount as for local-built canoes.

If I were in the industry, I'd probably want to follow the discussion that's sure to heat up right here. I hope everybody remembers to play nice and try to respect each other.

For what it's worth, some of the guys mentioned in Verylowtide's post are specifically involved with Hypr. I'd invite you to check out Hypr's website: for the manufacturer's own side of the story.

#3 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 11:01am

First of all, we do thank our customers who are happy with our canoes and have not encountered any problems. Sometimes problems do crop up. We do sympathize with KKuna and without hesitation offered to replace his canoe while we investigate how and what happened. It has been 5 working days since we were notified of this incident, and it does take time to ship stuff ( especially canoes ) interisland, especially with YB.

Our main concern is to allow Keanu to paddle uninterrrupted thus an immediate offer for another canoe no questions asked while we figure out what happened. He refused., and demanded cash compensation, immediately. What else can we do ?

Our canoes are Divinicel FOAM CORE sandwich construction. A very expensive foam used to build racing yachts. It gives it tremendous stiffness and strength. I was rolled by freak surf break ( no leash) on Xmas eve on a brand new Hokulea just like Keanu's ( built the same time ). The waves pounded the canoe on the rocks at Pine Trees in Kona for 30 mins before it broke at the nose. All this while we stood on the US Coast Guard boat and watched helplessly. When we retrieved what was left, the deck sleeves were completely intact, and not a ripple on the deck. The canoe suffered a lot more damage than Keanu's. Only a super tough canoe can withstand that kind of thrashing. If I can figure out how to attach the pictures in this forum in the next 2 days I will.

We have also asked for Keanu's damaged canoe to be returned to us ( AS IS ) for forensics, but Keanu has chosen to do "CSI Hawaii" destroying our ability to find out EXACTLY what went wrong with this PARTICULAR canoe. Luckily, the person he had to do the "operation" was Brent Bixler who I trust. Brent and I think that the issue was that the EPOXY in the SLEEVE area ONLY did not cure completely. We stand by our product and we REPLACE what did not meet customer's expectations. This was freak occurence.

We always give the customer the benefit of the doubt. In this case, we offered to replace his canoe but he has insisted on cash compensation. In my experience, with Tiger and Steve Blyth, if the canoe has a problem, they will do their utmost to fix the problem. If its not fixable, only then they will build the customer a new boat. This is all predicated that it is ENTIRELY the canoe builder's fault.

As to cheap comments like "sweat shop", heavy canoe, too expensive. Please understand you have to compare apples to apples:-

Carbon prices have more than tripled in a year !! High Oil prices means Higher downstream products. No other business in the world faces these kind of cost increases on materials.

The adjustable seat mechanism allows the paddler to resell the canoe to anyone of any size down the road. Remove it and save a couple pounds.The foam we use is dense enough to last for years. Its OK for most, not OK for some.

Allegations of "sweat shop" is extremely irresponsible and its a huge assumption. Fact is NO SHOP in Hawaii is as well equiped or spaced out. Workshop has 45 ft ceilings, with huge ventilators and lots of space to move around, and if you can find SKILLED labor at that price, we'd like to hire 200 people right now. Canoe building is not mindless assembly line work for toys etc.

However this arrangement oe building takes a lot steps and well trained hands. Even so, sometimes PEOPLE ( not robots ) make mistakes, and yes, even in Hawaii, canoe builders make mistakes. All we can do is to fix the problem and take care of the customer. We also use AUTOCLAVES ( basically giant pressure cookers bigger than the 2 man canoe ) to ensure complete lamination and curing. None of these technologies are used in Hawaii.

We greatly encourage dialog from "verylowtide" about his inside knowledge ( or lack thereof ) about what is really involved in building canoes. There are tremendous rumors about HYPR out there and frankly we have not had the time to respond in kind. Basically we're too busy making our customers happy.

I encourage ANYONE to email me or our partners directly about the canoes. Thanks for those that support us, and those that don't, I wish you well too. We do this purely to help the sport grow. If this was about money or "slick marketing" as the recents posts have suggested, making canoes is the WORST way to make a living. Do real estate if you want to make money. Aloha everyone.

#4 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 1:20pm

Verylowtide needs to understand that we have KEPT the same prices of canoes UNCHANGED from what we charged in Hawaii DESPITE massive increases in materials costs. We are also responsible partners and pay royalties to our partners, and comissions to our reps. What we do allows the boat builders to spend more time on DEVELOPING new shapes and technologiies to move the sport forward. If you want to know what who I used to work for go to and you'll see why we have this constant improvement attitude. Without exploration and experimentation, the sport will stagnate.

Also, this is still an extremely elitist sport thus small audience. If we are to build this sport together and allow a generation of professional paddlers like Ironman athletes or like pro surfers; we all have to do our part in making the sport more accessible. The first step being, allowing CHOICE and AVAILABILITY of canoes happen.

Hawaii made canoes ARE more expensive and will take a lot longer to get. Karel himself is also making canoes in China. We are the ones that opened his eyes to the same situation.

I do understand that in a forum there are always hidden agendas that are unspoken but I sincerely believe the SILENT MAJORITY know what's really going on. How ? I was one of them but I do have to respond when irresponsible and slanderous postings pop up.

#5 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 1:37pm

A technical note -- currently there is no way to post attached pictures in comments of a thread. Ian or anyone wishing to do so may use the community photo gallery for the time being.

#6 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 1:42pm

KKuna managed to attach one so I assumed I was too dumb to figure out how to do it. How was that possible ? Thanks

#7 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 1:51pm

yeah, it's just a technical issue I haven't worked out yet. It only works on the first post in a thread.

#8 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 2:04pm

There is nothing better than a locally made boat. I think HYPR has a lot of homework to do, if HYPR has so much technology going into these boats howcome the quality cannot match local builders? I am ordering my new boat from a local builder to me it is worth the time that i have to wait and even the money.

#9 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 7:53pm

This is not meant to be an attack on HYPR canoes in any way, I am just trying to “further” the dialog.

You mentioned how spacious the shop is, but you did not address KKuna's concern about workers being paid $5 a day. I understand that this is a paddling forum, and not one that should deal with the issues of outsourcing etc.. yet, I'm still curious-- how much are the employees of the shop in China paid? And, since we're on the subject, how much are the materials for a finished canoe?
On a different note--- why has the canoe been altered from the normal Vantage? A major complaint that i hear is that the area in front of the seat fills with water in the surf and since there is nothing there to block the water from coming into the footwells, it ends up constantly being fed into the footwell, adding a lot of weight to the canoe when it is in the water.
How come there is so much plastic on the canoe? My first time looking at a Vantage I was surprised to see that most of the components were made out of plastic.

I want to add that I think that it is good to see some change in the canoe building industry. The issue of extremely high prices across the board for canoes and long waits, had to be addressed, and it seems as if you are making an effort to address them. I am just concerned, as i think everybody here is, that safety, and possibly performance, has been sacrificed.

We have been very lucky, so far, in that nobody (that i know of) has died because of equipment failure in the twenty or so years that the OC-1 has been out. But, it will one day happen that someones boat breaks down and they will be unable to get it, or themselves, to shore. If i were a builder, it would comfort me to know that every canoe coming out of my shop was as close to perfect as i could make it. The fact that even one canoe, KKuna's, came out below par, is a scary thought. I also realize that this is the first shipment of HYPR canoes and that there were bound to be problems. So once again, I am not accusing HYPR of any wrongdoings, mostly I just want to know the answers to those questions.

On a more positive note--- The HYPR Vantage is a solid canoe. The hull is incredibly stiff and after feeling one of them, I found absolutely no soft spots on it. Likewise-- the canoe can also perform at a very high level. There has been one HYPR Vantage in the top ten of every Kanaka Ikaika race this season.
Goodluck to you in your endeavor to help out the sport.

#10 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 8:35pm

Hypr Canoe has sold alot of boats on Maui. And most of the people i know that got a Hypr boat has been disappointed in one way or another. In my Case the Iako pin holes were so over drilled. When i paddle i can fell the play. I'm afraid I'll do a Maliko run and i'll end up like kkanu's . SO I THINK IF YOU GET A HYPR BOAT LOOK OVER IT TWICE BEFORE YOU PAY FOR IT!

#11 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 8:55pm

Ian, first I know Keanus boat weighed about 30 lbs. that's way too heavy.
Second, his boat was totaled in the surf. Maybe your boat survived took a pounding on the rocks. Keanus didn't. Apparently Keanus boat was in the first batch shipped. Looks like Keanu was the guinea pig. He was lucky because a friend of ours happened to look back and saw that he was having a problem with his canoe a stayed with him till he got back to shore safely.
People paddle these boats in extremely hazardous conditions and they should be confident in there equipment.
Instead of cranking these boats out it sounds like a little production oversight is in order.
You bring up Karel...that guy knows the meaning of a quality boat. He would never let a boat like Keanus out of shop. I wouldn't be comparing myself to him.
Don't make the paddlers your guinea pigs. Lives can be lost due to your manufacturing errors.

#12 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 10:36pm

Another question Ian: Are you going to refund Keanu his money? If not why not?

#13 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 11:01pm

I recently took delivery of a Hypr Pahoa so I can understand where everyone is coming from. We all want the best product for our money and I’m no different. But to be fair to Ian and Lauren, I have to say their customer service has been outstanding. My canoe isn’t perfect and I’ve had some problems with it but they have gone out of their way to make things right without question and given me the benefit of the doubt. I wish I could say the same for other businesses I’ve dealt with. I feel for you Keanu and I can understand you being as upset as you are, but I don’t think we as consumers will ever get 100% perfection from any manufacturer in the world no matter where they’re from. How many of us have bought a brand new car only to have problems with it and constantly take it back to the dealer for repairs? I remember when the Hurricane first started coming out of Asia and had all kinds of problems but they must’ve fixed the bugs because I see a lot of them out there on the water. I’m sure with time Hypr will iron out the bugs in their production and I know that doesn’t make it any easier for those out there to swallow right now. Someone mentioned that it was us paddlers who were partly to blame for the canoes being made elsewhere and I’m sure that’s true to a point. I don’t know how much a canoe mold costs but I’ve asked myself why haven’t the local canoe builders invested in more molds to keep up with the high demand? I was one of the next in line to get a Tiger Pahoa made by John Martin when the arrangement fell apart. Let me tell you no one was more bummed than I especially after waiting all year for it.

Ian is right about the “sweat shop” accusation. I think the subject here was the quality of the product and not the working conditions or the wages of the Chinese workers because if it was, we would all be looking at the labels of the clothes or shoes we wear and buy only American made products. Those $100 Nikes that we wear are made by people making $1 a day yet we still continue to buy them without a second thought or how much Phillip Knight, the owner of Nike is making for each pair of shoes. Like I said, let’s be fair to Ian and Lauren without knowing all the facts because I think they are trying. If they didn’t care about us the consumer, they wouldn’t be trying to make things right to begin with. They aren’t some large corporation on the mainland making millions. They’re local residents who live among us. Who knows, I might be eating my words when I’m the one out there in the ocean and my canoe falls apart :) Live aloha everybody. Malama pono

#14 Tue, 01/31/2006 - 1:26am

I had to laugh at verylowtide's comment about Karel's boats. Several of my teammates and I owned stingrays made in North America. We had so many issues with the boats and the manufacturer was so difficult to work with that I finally sent a letter expressing my discontent to the manufacturer's owner and cc'd Karel (both sent certified mail). Never heard anything from either the manufacturer nor Karel. Guess he really doesn't care as much about his product as you would like to think he does.
I now own a Hurricane made in China and haven't had a single issue that boat. The quality far surpasses the stingray I used to own.

#15 Tue, 01/31/2006 - 9:11am

I am sorry to here about your experience with Karels Stingrays. I have heard that the N. America made canoes did indeed suck. My experience with Karel has been here in Hawaii. I have owned 2 canoes made by him but I haven't owned a canoe made by him in 6 or 7 years. Both canoes are still around and being used. I have never heard anyone here complain about the quality of his construction although I have to admit his market share in OC1s has declined considerably. I do see a lot more people on Fusions and Fuzes these days.
But I'll stand by what I said: A canoe made by Karel himself will be of top quality.
I am curious about what kind of water you are paddling on. Part of the issue here is that the water in Hawaii that these boats are being paddled in is extremely rough. The run that Keanu was paddling in when his boat broke is arguably the roughest you'll find on Oahu. It is approximately 8 miles of cliffs. The swells are coming straight out of the deep water of the Molokai Channel. If there is any stretch of water that you need complete confidence in your equipment this is it.There are portions along there that if your boat breaks you are in serious trouble.
I am sorry to here about your experience with karel. Thta's disappointing to here.

#16 Tue, 01/31/2006 - 10:20am

I also had horrible experiences with N american Stingray. Wrote Karel, and Current Designs. Multiple problems that took over a year to settle. Karel never replied, but was awesome when emailed about rigging issues. Both Karel senior and jr replied, and helped alot.

#17 Tue, 01/31/2006 - 12:56pm

I just want to express that there are a lot of opinions about canoe manufacturing locations and quality, all of which is worthy discussion for this forum. But I also see a lot of emotional and personal comments being expressed to single individuals that would be better handled on the phone or in person. No professional business person is going to get into a heated debate on a public website, nor should they when there are too many facts to consider regarding any specific incident. I COMPLETELY sympathize with Kkuna and agree that he has a legitimate complaint. I'm glad he returned safely and now he must go through the difficult process of getting a new boat or a refund. I hope they treat him fairly. However, I would recommend that we keep the discussion to the topic of boat safety, without attacking based on personal experience. I too owned a poorly made Stingray and now paddle a Chinese-made Hurricane that has been nothing but flawless. However, I doubt Karel is anything but a true professional who learns by trial and error like everyone else. I agree that if these guys only motivation was money, they wouldn't be making outrigger canoes. Sometimes shit goes wrong. Give them a chance to make good. If they don't, don't do business with them.

#18 Tue, 01/31/2006 - 12:58pm

Verylowtide has a point there. That stretch of water coming around Makapu'u to Hawaii Kai is definitely the roughest water on Oahu and I think all canoes that are going to be sold for the Hawaii market should be tested out there if they already aren't. If the canoes can take the pounding out there then it can take whatever else we paddle in. Light is good, but too light makes for a weaker canoe in my humble opinion. I have an Ultra-lite Kai Wa'a Polaris and it flexes and twists when I paddle in rough choppy water and cracks VERY easily. I guess in pursuit of the fastest canoe we can get, we sacrifice something else in return. But I think for the majority of us out there who paddle mostly for the recreation and race occassionly, we'll sacrifice some speed for durability because we can't all just go to our sponsors and get a new canoe if ours breaks. Wouldn't that be nice? Only in my dreams. Malama pono

#19 Tue, 01/31/2006 - 2:12pm

Here are some random thoughts:

I find it humorous that kkuna, verylowtide, and luke have been made out to be the villains in the collective responses to their posts.

As to Kkuna, whom I don’t know: this guy had his equipment fail while doing a makai pier run (a run which I know a little about), something which all paddlers dread. I think asking for a full refund is perfectly reasonable. I would not want to take another chance with the same company. The wai is supposed to be the strongest part of the boat. Of course it might be unreasonable to demand perfection from a builder; however, expecting that a canoe not break near the ‘iako sleeve is far from expecting perfection–it’s perfectly reasonable. Using the automobile analogy, it’s not as if a minor problem occurred, the ‘iako sleeve malfunction is equivalent to “whoops my wheels fell off when I was driving down the Pali.” The bottom line is hyper is manufacturing these boats for a profit in a foreign country. They should be not be held to the same standard as locally owned family businesses; rather, hyper should be treated more like a corporation whose only purpose is profit. It puts these canoes out into the stream of commerce and should be held accountable, both publicly and privately, for its mistakes and incompetence.

Also, Hyper’s assertion that it is not in the business solely for money is disingenuous. This company is taking business for a local sport (local molds) to a foreign country. As luke already questioned, what are the wages hyper pays its workers? If I paddled a hyper canoe I would like to think that my boat’s creation was pono. In other words, I would hope some poor oppressed person was not taken advantage of when he or she made my boat. Bad mana flows from this type of operation. So it might be in hyper’s interest to disclose its working conditions and wages, the disclosure might change some minds.

#20 Tue, 01/31/2006 - 2:56pm

As a person just trying to find out more about this activity, I find this very interesting, disturbing, and reassuring too.

Am on mainland and away from most centers for outrigger activity but did make trip out last May to Kaua'i to see relay race. (I'd just be recreational anyway due to age, current condition, etc.)

Was told by knowledgable person at the finish celebration at Salt Pond Park that outsourced craft would be "the way its all going." Since one thing is seldom isolated from economic forces (and you guys out there HAVE to relate to those EVERY day in Hawai'i !) I guess that's it for most of the folks like me. I drive a car but it has little to do with the same "branded" machines making the circuits at the race tracks!

So I am part the market for the "run of the mill" product that needs to be available for the sport to evolve and attract the massess while the "pros" and the knowledgable (you guys/gals), who are the leaders for this activity, need the best you can manage.

One thing I appreciate is that all this grows out of a bunch of folks who know each other and out of a fine tradition, history and culture--who KNOWS the sea is not forgiving with the unprepared.

So I encourage you to continue to work this sort of thing out to assure that everyone appreciates (as I am learning here) that all this is important and quality has to be maintained.

That includes the factory workers who need to know that these boats really take some hits. (I even found the factory web page-- and while it shows some of the area for fitting out the canoes and stock piling them for shipment, it also has promotional photos of a guy with a Hurricane but with a KAYAK paddle! (Maybe this web page is old news for you all but maybe the fact that he didn't have a canoe paddle available is good news for the domestic paddle makers !)



#21 Tue, 01/31/2006 - 3:03pm

I don't think anyones being made out to be the bad guy here. Kkuna definitely has a legitimate complaint and has every right to complain publicly and privately. I j ust think some of the other comments were misdirected, personal and based on hearsay. There's only a handful of people who know all the details - Kkuna, his friends that helped and possibly Foo. But I suspect everyone else has yet to pick up a phone and try to express their concerns directly - rather, they've chosen to spray it all over this forum from the safety of their computer, much like the guy who loves to shoot the finger from the safety of his car, but rarely will get out to discuss the matter.

As for your protection of "oppressed" workers, I will assume you wear no shoes, use no gasoline, own no plastic products, eat no fruits or vegetables or own a computer. These all rest on the weary backs of underpaid and overworked humans in other countries. If bad mana flows from these, we're all in trouble.

#22 Tue, 01/31/2006 - 3:54pm

Bad mana sure as hell flows from all of those. I dont know about you, but some people are a little uncomfortable surrendering their sport to the evils of unchecked captialism. Hyper claimed that it is in the business solely to make the sport grow. I don't know about the rest of you people, but I don't need any external vindication by some company building canoes outside of Hawai`i to make me feel better about my sport. What Hyper really wants is $$...Period. Be weary of those who claim to have altruistic motives.

#23 Tue, 01/31/2006 - 7:04pm

safety first gang. let everyone learn a lesson from kkuna's unfortunate mishap. The builders and paddlers alike.

#24 Tue, 01/31/2006 - 8:27pm

intersting thoughts....

Having been out on the the ocean alot I would say that one should have total confidence in thier equipment. That said, any individual should avoid putting themselves in a life or death situation. I would venture to guess that the majority of people who do Makai Pier runs, or Hawaii Kai Runs, rely far too much on thier boat for survival. Try to think of things in the worst possible scenario. In case of equipment failure or a lost boat(leashes do break), could you swim the Makapuu cliffs to AD's? How about half way across Moanalua Bay to shore? Chances are not many would make it after expending themselfves for any amount of time before an accident. Maybe the push should be for Paddlers, Kayakers, Paddleboarders, etc. to be better watermen/women and more safety concerned. Maybe doing the rough water swim could be looked at as personal safety training, not a competition. I know I wouldn't be able to swim over two miles if I had just paddleboarded an hour... If you surf for cross training, do it without a leash. You'll become a much better swimmer!

From my own experience, when me and my training partner did something as simple as a Hawaii Kai run, we never let each other out of sight. Yeah, it may break up the flow of your run, but it's SAFER for you and your training partners.

As for blaming a person for being in business for a profit. You have got to be kidding me. People are in business to make a living. If the product is crap customers will stop buying it, if they stop buying, the crap producer will go out of business. That's how it works. Just look at america's car makers...they are just now learing what it takes to compete with a superior product. Maybe everyone should just be more patient and wait for the better made boat. If you wanted a Toyota truck and it was sold out, would you wait for the next shipment, or go buy a GMC? Don't blame someone else for your own impatience.

Sure people will be dissapointed in a broken boat, and perhaps put at risk. But...risk is also the nature (and possibly funnest) part of these open ocean sports. Not only do you compete with others, but also with yourself and the elements. Most everyone will tell you they love the rush of hugging the wall, cutting through a break between sets, or dodging coral heads. People say big wave surfers are nuts. Has anyone seen how much time they put into making sure they are prepared for the worst?

Do your homework!!! Take the time to be prepared for the consequences of your actions, be in overall shape, not just paddling shape. Your body is the most important survival tool you have.

OK, I'll avoid saying anything for the next few months. Sorry for the wrist slaps intended. Let the bashing of my opinion begin.

#25 Tue, 01/31/2006 - 8:53pm

jc9 0
most rational reply yet!

Life is full of choices that we make, some work out and some don't. I sympathize with kkuna, having your boat fall apart wouldn't leave anyone joyful!
However, we have no absolute guarantee in the products we purchase. One should have expected problems with boats coming from a new manufacturer. This is a fact and not a cheap shot at Hypr. In fact, this is a chance for Hypr to iron out production defects and produce better products to rival quality and innovation of other Hawaiian and Continental manufacturers.

Constructive feedback will help everyone paddlers and manufacturers alike.


#26 Tue, 01/31/2006 - 9:48pm

Those last two comments are correct and they stole my thoughts, we have to wait and see, the Manufactures all have a reputation, Karel is sending work to China, because it make business sense. I know from talking to him and his wife, he went in person to china to see the operations, one thing I did notice, he did not change the design of his canoe, like Vantage and Hokulea has, that sold me on the canoe.

#27 Wed, 02/01/2006 - 9:56am

Keanu: I'm just wondering why not let Ian take a look at the problem with your canoe, since he is asking for an opportunity to examine it. How can any builder correct a problem if we only complain abou it but not allow them to examine the product. It would make sense to show him the problem so that he can make correction for the safety of everyone. If there is a problem?

#28 Thu, 02/02/2006 - 8:44am

I love the CONSTRUCTIVE comments from everyone, and I like to address them. Let me tell you a quick story first.

My wife Lauren bought an IPOD over Xmas, a fully loaded one almost $500. Did NOT work afer one week. LOOKS perfectly OK !! buit .... its dead. Called Apple 4 times before we could get an RA # ( Return Authorization # and label where to send it ) I took it down to DHL this morning in Kona. The Manager at DHL, KIM tells me that in the last 4 weeks she has handled more than 200 such RAs for Apple !!!! Kona is a SMALL market, that's a lot. Apple has not even admitted that this is a recall problem. We cannot get a refund NOR get a REPLACMENT until they check out what we send them. This INVESTIGATION period will take between 6 to 8 weeks.

Only then they will notify us of whether we get a replacement or not. This is from a company that is loved by millions. And this is a product that sold millions of units around the world. Look at things in life in CONTEXT, its much worse with supposedly famous companies

I have spent my entire working life working with / for companies worldwide and if this situation allows everyone to learn something from it, then it worth the time it takes to respond to such issues raised, because it goes beyond paddlng.

I have great respect for all canoe builders and will never criticize their product. I may disagree with Karel on build composition etc, but I know like myself, we are both interested in excellence, and getting there is an INCREMENTAL approach. Toyota ( highest quality company in the world ) calls it KAIZEN and it is absolutely relevant to our sport and our training.

We offered Keanu a replacement canoe IMMEDIATELY because we DO sympathize with him and want to take care of him. Unfortunately, his lawyer got involved and it became a war of words. He may have gotten a canoe that the wai had epoxy that did not cure properly, otherwise in Keanu's own words the canoe was SOLID. We have NO OTHER SUCH INCIDENTS after all the boats we've made. It is a freak occurence, and its HIGHLY IRRESPONSIBLE for a couple guys on this board to EXTRAPOLATE an isolated incident into a BLANKET statement. I have NO REASON not to like Keanu or cause him ANY pain. We believe that an IMMEDIATE NEW replacement canoe is already the BEST warranty in our sport, or ANY other industry.

As to comments by Luke, Verylowtide about wages and stuff like that. I don't blame you guys for being naive about international business. You need to SEPARATE racist, bigotry and discriminatory tendencies from fact. Just like NIKE, they have NO control over what the factory partner pays their workers. Neither do we. These are SEPARATE companies operating under different RULES and REGULATIONS than what we have in the US. I go out of my way to insist on the MOST skilled workers, and I pay a premium for the price of our boats. We also pay ROYALTIES to our partners like Steve, Tiger and John Puakea for boats we do sell. And we also pay SALES commissions to reps and team riders who take orders for the boats. And we also pay ALL the logistics costs AND all the DEVELOPMENTAL costs to get the boats done.

Whatever you THINK you save in LABOR, gets eaten up by LOGISTICS cost of buying MATERIALS in the US, Europe, Japan and then shipping it to factory make it and ship it to Hawaii. The ONLY reason to OVERSEAS production is CAPACITY and FINISH Quality. Only because it is impossible to continue to hire enough SKILLED hands in Hawaii or CA to do such HAND WORK. We Americans love our LIFESTYLE choices way too much to GRIND through such backbreaking work.

Tiger himself has said to me that CANOE are priced TOO LOW. I do not disagree with him. If you look at any other sports, COST - WHOLESALE - RETAIL. At every step of the way EVERY item Americans buy at the mall etc roughly follows the same pattern of DOUBLING of purchase price to cover costs of operations. ONLY IN CANOES this progression does NOT apply. If you DOUBLE at every level, canoes should cost about $8,000. WHAT WOULD THAT DO TO OUR SPORT ??

In the end, our sales reps make more per canoe than we do. I don't begrudge them I hope you guys won't begrudge us for just trying to get to breakeven.

Providing CHOICE and AVAILABILITY is very, very EXPENSIVE. Just doing the plugs, molds for canoe and plastic parts, the total cost will be more than a house in Kona. If I knew now how tough it was to just make enough to make back the investment we made, I certainly would NOT have done this. We had to pull in a 2nd mortgage on our house PLUS gather a couple of my buddies from college to pool funds to do this project.

Why don't a couple of the naysayers out there put out and do something to help the sport grow ?? I see a lot of "should, woulda, coulda" critics out there but no action. I've only been paddling a couple years and I LOVE the sport, and was tired of WAITING for my canoe to be built. So happens my previous career in building concept cars allowed me to have tremendous access to resources all over the world, so I got on it. If that is bad for the sport, then yes, we did a bad thing.

Again, the only reason we keep going is that the folks we have made happy, do write us and call us in great appreciation. THAT IS THE ONLY REASON we keep our head down despite all the crap that happens. If its about money, then I can certainly make more money working for a construction company in Kona, operate heavy equipment for Isemoto Engineering and get paid $135,000 / year. Lot friggin less hassle than this.

KEEP"EM coming !!!


#29 Thu, 02/02/2006 - 11:46am

I really appreciate such open minded constructive thoughts. You obviously have been "around the block" . This is the only way we can improve ourselves. No matter how many things I think I've anticipated, there's always more.

NO ONE has ever attempted to do 4 boatbuilders ALL at once before, so the logistical task is enormous.

Feel free to email me anytime at

Thanks again for your thoughts

#30 Thu, 02/02/2006 - 12:19pm

Why haven't we seen any other of the boats except for the vantage?

#31 Thu, 02/02/2006 - 1:12pm

Why not just refund Keanu his money and be done with it?

#32 Thu, 02/02/2006 - 1:18pm

verylowtide...see the remark where a lawyer is involved...this means the lawyer will not settle for a new boat. he'she has to make his fee's too!

dammit, i said I wouldn;t post for another month...i give up.

#33 Thu, 02/02/2006 - 2:56pm

Actually that is not what it means. Please see my private message.

#34 Thu, 02/02/2006 - 6:20pm

Ian what 4 boat builders are you representing? i have not seen anything HYPR except a vantage and a waveblade 2 man. And how long would you predict that it takes to get these boats to a good quality that everyone likes? Just asking.

#35 Thu, 02/02/2006 - 8:44pm


We make every effort to make sure the actual workers are well taken care of. The factory owners actuall make the most money, as they make a tremendous mark up on the cost of labor.

As for conditions, it is a straight 9 hour day with 2 breaks 1 hour lunch break. Lunch is provided as is LODGING. I have eaten lunch together with the workers and I must say its damn good Chinese food cooked by a local "chef".

We have NO control over what they get paid, but composite workers are the best paid labr in China and any part of the world because skill is involved and long training cycles. Plus NOT everyone can do this work, those that ITCH easily will quit after 2 days. Microfibers get into every nook and cranny, yes, like ants in your pants

At the end of the day, our landed cost of canoes in hawaii is the same as it costs to build in Hawaii because HIRED labor is only 30% as efficient as "OWNER DRIVEN" work. Not only that GEL COAT ( in Hawaii ) needs a lot less refinishing than Polyurethane paints.

We had real issues with seams in the beginning on our prototypes, and finally solved that with A LOT of extra labor. Ridiculous as it sounds, it takes 60 man hours to do the paint and finishing of each canoe ( 100 hours in total to complete ). It takes a superman like Tiger only 25 hour or less to COMPLETE a canoe from lamination to polish.

Its different between EMPLOYEES and doing YOUR own thing on your own dime and time. You hustle a lot more when its your own thing.

#36 Thu, 02/02/2006 - 11:59pm

Maui Boy,

Your iako pin holes were made larger because the PINS we use are twice the size of what we use in Hawaii. The GIVE in the holes allow you to RIG easier when you have to move around to rig.

We also gave you a guarantee that WHEN we receive spare iakos, we will replace it for you no questions asked. If you're not the same person we talked to, then PLEASE email me at or to ensure you are taken care of.

We stand by our warranty, what else can we do ? Go paddle and have a good time on your new boat, and feel free to talk to me. Aloha

#37 Fri, 02/03/2006 - 12:04am


I greatly encourage you to INTERN with one of the builders. LEARN how to build a canoe. Advance hawaiian culture, teach the next generation. If you're not willing to do that because you're too

  1. BUSY
  2. Don't make enough money building canoes
  3. too lazy to such monotonous work
  4. Don't like to get dirty and itchy
  5. I like to have a CHILAXING lifestyle


then you can do the next thing. INVEST your own money and get some of that juicy $$$$ you think there is to get in this TINY sport of ours. I mean total sales of OCs GLOBALLY are maybe 2000 / year. Hell, they sell more Ferraris than that !!!

Those who CANNOT do - TALK and TALK a lot

UNCHECKED capitalism - I think that's REAL ESTATE development in Hawaii. It certainly not the canoe business.

Oh yes ! carbon fiber prices have gone from about $12 / yd to $35 /yd in 13 months. Imagine our gasoline going to $9 / gallon. Tell me how you run your business then?

#38 Fri, 02/03/2006 - 12:14am

The 3 that we have done is Steve Blyth, Tiger and John Puakea. The boats I seleceted are Polaris/Hokulea, Vantage, Waveblade 2 man, Pahoa, Makia and Kaimana. We also had 3 boats of our own design, but we haven't had a chance to put those in full production yet. We also have not released our version of the Kaimana in full yet because we are working on the AMA to work better with the standard iakos we have.

Basically my dream is to be able to use the SAME set of iakos on ALL different boats. Technically you can INTERCHANGE all the different amas for all builders. Injection molds are very, very expensive but injection molded parts are very strong and allow for digitally designed mechanisms for LOCKING. Bottomline is the TWISTLOCK system was originally designed for ADJUSTABLE Windsurfer BOOMS, and now adpated for OC rigging.

Hope that clarified the matter. Whatever I know I pass it along

#39 Fri, 02/03/2006 - 12:28am

I've been reading some of the comments on this forum which assume that workers in China are underpaid and overworked or are working in awful conditions. I'd like to know how many people posting these comments have actually been to China and seen this firsthand. I live in Hong Kong and travelled all over China. I employ Chinese and regularly outsource to the mainland. There are sweatshops in China, absolutely. Equally there are state of the art factories with quality materials and workmanship as good as or better than what you have in the USA. Sure they get paid less than workers in the States but that's because the cost of living is much lower, not because they are underpaid. We have some Chinese-made canoes at our club and are great, no problem. We have two NZ made canoes and they are full of cracks and design flaws. You cannot assume that because something is made in China, it's rubbish. That is not my experience.

#40 Fri, 02/03/2006 - 1:19am

Personally I don’t feel Ian has to justify himself for doing business in China. The issue here is the quality of the products and not of the working conditions or wages of the Chinese workers. What does a bowl of rice in China cost? What does a bowl of rice in Hawaii cost? If it is un “pono” because the canoes are being built in China and bad mana flows because of the oppressed people building these canoes, than what is to say of the builders who are benefiting from this arrangement, such as Tiger Taylor, John Puakea and Steve Blyth? Hypr didn’t just steal these designs and start building canoes. So are they bad people too because they are benefiting from this? I don’t hear anybody bad mouthing them for making a dollar or two or for sending their molds to China away from the locals. I remember once upon a time when Made in Japan was a laughing stock. Who’s laughing now? Everyone who drives an automobile has parts that came from China somewhere on their car. If we are going to be righteous and politically correct, than lets live by example and not drive those cars and start walking everywhere and we can do it bare feet and naked because the shoes and clothes we’re wearing was probably made by the same oppressed people. And it’s funny we haven’t heard from Keanu since the original posting. Maybe because his lawyer advised him not to. Well that’s as American as you can get. When something doesn’t go your way, hire an attorney.

#41 Fri, 02/03/2006 - 2:03am


The truth is I don't need to say anything more.

#42 Fri, 02/03/2006 - 10:50am

All of you that are out there dogging kkuna concerning his canoe let me just say that YOU WERE NOT OUT IN THE WATER THAT DAY....It was very high seas and there are many paddlers out there who probably could have gotten hurt if it happened to them....

Just to get around Makapuu point let alone get a wounded boat into 2-3ft sandys shorebreak takes guts and experience....Put yourselves in his shoes people. When your life is in the hands of someone who has no idea of the kind of pounding these canoes go through and it breaks down like that I'm sure you would be pretty upset too. He dealt with it the way he wanted to and it should be left at that!!!

Nothing against Ian, you've worked hard to try make canoes more available...but you knew it would be hard going into this venture. I can assure you that this will not be the last problem that you come up with and like you said it's a learning process. Man-up dude, I think you got off pretty good with kkuna just wanting his money back!

#43 Fri, 02/03/2006 - 4:26pm


So far I have not read anything about you allowing Ian to examine the problem, even if he does refund you your money doesn't he deserve a chance to see where the factory went wrong. If nothing else, for the safety of others and it would just be the right thing to do.

#44 Fri, 02/03/2006 - 6:07pm

I vote we end this thread. It continues to be personal attacks against both parties from a bunch of people long on emotion and short on manners. Let 'em work it out and take your aggression to practice.

#45 Fri, 02/03/2006 - 7:00pm

Yes Everyone,

The comments are getting a lot more rational. Please be assured that WE SUPPORT KEANU ! No need to bash Keanu, he's a good guy and there were gross misunderstandings due to not being able to talk direct. We already have worked out an amicable solution for him so that he gets the canoe he wants. Let's just all leave it at that. We are just happy that he's happy.

As to comments we "got off lucky". I had no idea we were on trial for this but I do thank ALL of you for your input as open discussion is the only way to solve problems, get better and move the sport along. No doubt issues will pop up all the time but the key is solving it. Meanwhile, Go Paddle.


#46 Sun, 02/05/2006 - 7:04pm

Hey guys,

Not trying to stir the pot all over again, just wanted to pitch in my .02 from another perspective.

Yep, I can understand kkuna being pissed about his new boat ..... not really the fault of China though. If you chose to get another boat I bet you get the best one ever since everyone is now really paying attention.

Yep, can understand Ians being defensive too, a little under attack but comes with the territiory of shifting well know 'brands' to overseas. Q: You state you do not have control over wages but do you have control over Q.C. ? Sorry man, a little human error can overcome all that technology ( + your reputation) in a heartbeat. Please keep us informed as to what you find if you get a chance to check out that boat. Resin cures when it is mixed right.
Hope you have some good dual language Managers keeping the workers in the loop while communicating how things are really going to you.

Yep, boat building is hard, dirty work and all the training in the world cannot replace years of experience behind the squeegee. You could hold a persons hand and they still would not know what to feel for. A sensitivity and connection with the parts must be formed and everyboat has a different personality. One must be very machine like to consistantly turn out good parts. After the process is amalgamated down, there are no more shortcuts to good work other than putting the time in to do it right. Building super thin laminates leaves little room for error. In my experience working with and starting my own 'factory' in Thailand I have seen perfect parts being done one day then the next being all wrong like the guy building them had a new head put on overnight. Things are just different and sometimes more money is not the answer. Nice to have a couple parties for the guys throughout the year and treat them fair and with respect. Not as second class as they sometimes feel as they are looked upon by gazing overdressed Farangs ( foreigners) who make no attempt to speak their language or even acknowledge their existance as they tour a factory with a English speaking manager. I have seen this in person at a major composite building site and watched the faces of the employees as the 'tourist' fell out of earshot and siteline. I think you can all relate to this.

For what its worth, we are still building all our composite stuff here. Only soft goods now overseas.

Boatbuilders quandry.

At first one starts off designing and building quality stuff. The stuff takes off and now demand far exceeds ones ability to keep up. The dream of every builder is to clone themselves since no one else can do things as well and with love and dedication. Not to mention as fast. Hire some workers only to find you take yourself out of the loop to follow them around to make sure they do not screw up the molds and then simply clean up after them all day. Parts get done but not to your personal satisfaction, you pay them your profit. You let them go out of frustration. Now running lean and mean with maybe a couple quality guys whose hearts are in it you begin to get ahead. Then they quit.
Years go by and your fitness melts as you stay in the shop longer, dedicated to your craft and business, slowly killing yourself in a possibly unhealthy environment.

Now comes the opportunity to have your actual parts done at a very high level AND to finally maybe have some inventory ready to sell instead of sheepishly telling customers it will be 6- 8 weeks before you can start on their boat. This plus some fresh air and time with family is looking pretty good ...... Now you can finally get back to all those design ideas that have been swirling around in your head with inspired vigor and alacrity.

Let the top designers and builders out of their caves and watch the sport evolve.

Problem is, and it is probably the hardest one for any builder .... you have to let go and trust someone else to do things ( with your name on them ) right, like you would.

Hoping things work out and no reputations are distroyed or created.

Aloha, yep.

#47 Thu, 02/09/2006 - 12:35am

Aloha Onnopaddle,

You hit the nail on the head. More time for our boat builders to experiment ( or goof off ) and let someone else do the grunt work. I know each of the workers personally AND I SPEAK their language, so I hear everything. I'm NOT allowed to give them a bonus to incentivize them, that pisses off the factory owner. I think your personal experience will confirm that.

I do insist that the factory owner take the boys out for a great dinner and drinks. We actually pay for it but .... basically the factory owners do not want to "spoil" his workers. Idiotic mentality but what can you do ?you really have no control over how EACH individual does that very day. Just like us, we have good days and bad days, if one guy has a bad day and the QC guy happens not to have caught it then you have a problem.

Thanks for the comments

Ian Foo

CEO Hypr Canoes

72-3982A Mamalahoa Hwy

Kailua Kona, HI 96740

Direct: 808-960-4667

Fax: 808-325-2804

#48 Thu, 02/09/2006 - 10:14am

I’ve recently received a canoe to replace the failed Hokulea that I previously discussed in this thread.

Over the past two months there has been much said by myself and HYPR on this website. There was also a TV news broadcast in which I expressed some of my concerns. This has been a learning process for both parties involved.

With that said, I consider all issues with HYPR resolved.

#49 Tue, 03/28/2006 - 11:56am

wow. this was an all time thread. great re-read. thanks mr spammer.

#50 Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:53am

yeah, brings back fond memories.

#51 Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:34am

Good discussion on this subject. There is quality chinese products out there and then there is not. I have purchased quality items that have been good to me and some that have been crap right out of the box.
Pretty much it is the bottom line and the wait time that is taken into consideration, in my opinion the guys making the profit are the shipping guys! Just my opinion.
I happened to be looking at a Hurricane and Scorpius one day and noticed that they were being made by the same company. That company is Advanced Composites. I noticed that the emblems of this company were secured to the oc1's. I looked at the boats and noticed that the rudder housings were about the same in design. I haven't done any serious research about this company but can only assume that they are doing alot of private labeling. This is a common practice among large facilities who offer their services to smaller companies who cannot afford the expensive tooling. Automotive,motorcycle and even food products are often private labeled by large companies.
In closing I just think that if you want an OC1 and the company that you want it from offers both. Pay the extra and
your sleepless nights will disappear.

#52 Mon, 01/24/2011 - 3:06pm

this comes from a totally unbiased opinion

well. i read this and thought "is this the first time that a problem canoe or a canoe has fallen apart from hyper while out at sea?" i thought there was a thread about this a few years ago. where a guy in californias hyper fell apart.

at onnopaddle you know what, from personal experience, i think exactly what you described is what alot of what builder/ owners go through when they outsource to places like china and i dont hold any grudges against them for that. that also being said i also paddle a china made pegasus. and i feel its made of unexceptional quality and some people have told me about their hawaii made boats with soft spots. in my honest opinion if enough boats are made there are bound to be quality problems. i think this is a fault of the man in charge of quality control.

#53 Thu, 01/27/2011 - 11:57pm

canoes, skis, kayaks will probably always have QC issues no matter who makes them or where they're made until we invent another material to make them out of. Composites laid up by hand works - but it's not optimal.

#54 Sun, 01/30/2011 - 8:03pm

Funny I just found this old thread. Something I wanted to bring up on a surfboard issue. I bought a HYPR stand up surfboard one of the first ones that came out. Bought it from Ian. Took it home. That night I started putting the pad on top after about an hour of doing so I noticed indentations all over the board from where my hands and elbows were leaning on board when applying pad. I called Ian to return board because it was soft like clay almost cured. Ian said "Oh they all do that, that’s what the pads for" He said, “Your typical Surftech Board will do the same thing" Only thing is I'm not a typical idiot. I've been surfing for 30 years and know when a board aint right. Long story short I never used board, had to sale it take a loss of around 400 dollars, Ian would not take it back. As a business man myself (25 years) the 1st thing is customer service. I said to myself he's a tool and has a lot to learn about business and a person of integrity. Any time I am out in the water or when I come back in people always ask about my stand up or stand ups in general. When they ask they want one and what I recommend 1st I say "Whatever you do, do not buy a HYPR and 2nd look at this board this is quality. Which one you ask SOS Sean Ordonez Shapes. Bought it 4 years ago and funny thing "NO INDINTATIONS". Solid as the day I bought it. You may ask yourself whatever became of the old board I sold. One good thing came out of it. The guy I sold it too we became good friends and his board let’s just say it’s cracked all over the place from the sun, where you stand it ridiculously concaved in a good inch in everywhere. Back to SOS board great board, one of the 1st out there for stand up and sad the way he got screwed with copy cats out there hum hum sorry had to clear my throat. Look up his story yeah it’s a sad one for sure. That’s a story for another day. Lastly going back to customer service. If Ian would have taken a look at the board, realized there was a problem with board, went back to China QC, when new batch came in did a QC in front of me for a replacement and saw it was all good. The few hundred people or so I said do not buy from HYPR could have been the other way around. Then they tell someone and so on and so on. That’s how you build a business #1 Customer is always right. Word gets around quick and Karma's a bitch.

#55 Thu, 05/19/2011 - 9:19am

Yeah..this thread never seems obsolete. I put a post in two years ago titled "Failure Analyis" or something like that. I just taken delivery of new canoe and in the first week the hull collapsed where interfaces the rack I was using. It was a new delivery fresh from China. My friend got one out of the same container. While surfing he got a collapsed hull in the same place. Both hulls failed enough that they filled with water. He was told it was his fault...he was surfing and I was told it was my fault...improper loading. Both hulls were soft and remain soft to this them and they leave an indent. Now all the paint is chipping off along the hull seams on the hull and ama.. The paint came off the iakos after about two months. I posted in order to get an idea of what could cause the hull to be so soft and thought...improper curing, improper resin to catalyst ratio, improper saturation. I never got a good response but have enough experience to know there was something rotten under that shiny exterior. I do not know how they work it out with the Chinese manufacturers...who watches over the the Chinese are getting paid (do they have a monetary incentive to short cut on materials and/or time spent per canoe ?). I would not consider my canoe dangerous as in the Hypr situation but I would consider it poorly manufactured as in the post from johnnyG....I guess caveat emptor applies in this situation and do not expect someone with a shitload of new boats from China to unload to replace a defective canoe....they would go out of business...the margins just are not there.

#56 Thu, 05/19/2011 - 11:35am

Well said jonnyg and poidog! Good job of getting the word out regarding these crappy products. It's hard enough for the legit manufacturers to make it in the biz w/out having to compete w/ these jokers. Surftech just like that, jonnyg? My gawd that Tuflite stuff sure seems rock hard in person!

#57 Thu, 05/19/2011 - 11:44am

I know that was the joke. I have a surftech board and it is hard as a rock. I rolled my eyes over the phone when he told me that. I was blown away at the way he just brushed it off and took me for some fool. Yeah leaning on it to put a pad on is expected to have pressure mark.....What a tool!!!

#58 Thu, 05/19/2011 - 4:26pm

I don’t think this generalizing is still necessarily true (calling all China-made boats “unsafe”). I had a China-made Outrigger Connection boat and it was solid. I also recently witnessed a China-made Scorpius get caught inside on the North Shore. The beating from the initial wave was severe and the boat took several more ‘on the head’ yet survived unharmed (except a slight crack on the ama where the paddle whacked it). The thrashing would have undoubtedly broken a boat that was poorly manufactured. Although I am fortunate to currently own a Hawaii-made boat, I would have no issue, from a safety perspective, with buying a China-made Outrigger Connection or Kai Wa’a boat.

#59 Fri, 05/20/2011 - 12:30pm

No..not all Chinese boats are "dangerous" but there are batches that get shipped over that seem to share the same defects.....some do not. My first Chinese made was sound and perfect. My second canoe is a pile. Three (0ne of which was mine) out of the same batch shared similar structural flaws...I do not know about the other boats from that same shipment and we might have just been unlikey enough to buy the bad ones. Goes to what others have said...depends on who is minding the store at the time and what kind of agreements are in place with the subcontractors. I would buy another Chinese made canoe but would give it a much closer inspection. Dogfood, drywall, toothpaste and protein supplements would be a different story.

In the thread "new canoe" we find that they are copying existing designs and selling them over the internet. Good luck to whoever buys one of those.

#60 Sat, 05/21/2011 - 8:06am

I think average joe hit it on the head. its not necessarily "china made" that is poor construction, as others have pointed out: Surftec, Outrigger Connection, Kai Waa, Hurricane, ect ect. that all have some production in China. These products are well made and in some instances more durable than US/Hawaii made products. Its all in the factory, the process, the management and quality control…. lastly the businesses customer relations. I doubt if Outrigger Connection, Kai Waa or Hurricane would have left the burden of a poorly constructed product bearing their name on the shoulders of the end user. My hunch is they would have fixed or replaced the product promptly. And thus not having to worry about corroding threads like this one popping up year after year bearing their name.

#61 Sat, 05/21/2011 - 10:19am

Manufacturing quality and branding go hand in hand.......Now if Rolls Royce were to farm out production to a foreign plant where cheap labour is available, and then allow use of their badge, chances are that quality standards would not be the same as where in-house control exists. On the other hand, for economic reasons production can be bought-in from a place where a tradition of excellence exists (as in Hawaii for canoe building) it is not very clear what is going on here with China having no canoe building tradition, and highly affordable economical industrial production capability. Unless it simply boils down to a numbers issue, where dud product percentage is low compared to total output.

#62 Sat, 05/21/2011 - 1:03pm

Hey I just wanted to add my 2 cents. I worked for 2 companies that imported all kinds of things from China. I found that factories that were set up by non mainland Chinese usually had good quality. They had western, Japanese or Taiwanese owners and managers. Chinese companies that were all local were horrible. We would have meetings and they would sit there and argue with us on why we did not need to have high quality. The stuff they put out was crap and they would tell you how good it was. I have a feeling the boats coming out of China that are good quality are most probably not owned by local mainland Chinese. I am pretty sure the Advanced group which makes the Hurricane is a Taiwanese company that did aerospace and formula 1 race cars in Taiwan before setting up in China.

#63 Sat, 05/21/2011 - 1:37pm

Think about it....a small capitalized company...all OC1 designers...goes to China....they spend time and effort and basically give the keys to their castle over to the Chinese sub...their molds and their expertise. Their subs produce a whole lot of product...they are paying slave wages...there is an incentive to cut costs as far as materials and labor management. They send out a container full of subpar product. There are problems on the retail end. My boat dents, the paint is all chipping off, etc. etc. The so called canoe manufactuter who is now not really doing the manufacturing gets a bunch of complaints and turns those complaints into problems with the end user. He cannot deal with the economic impact because if he did he could no longer put food on his plate and at the same time he has no recourse with his Chinese subcontractors...he has given them the keys to his kingdom...expertise and molds, investment in time and treasure.. Try and sue a Chinese company...good luck..

#64 Sat, 05/21/2011 - 5:37pm

Try and sue a Chinese company...good luck..

Greg Barton (Epic Kayaks) did and won after a 2 year fight in a Chinese court. Got moulds back, 250 finished skis and all raw materials.


#65 Sat, 05/21/2011 - 10:32pm

Sure, Greg Barton did it, but what are us mere mortals supposed to do Rambo? Seriously, he wins everything he enters, doesn't he? (Except maybe the Moloka'i SS race.)

#66 Sun, 05/22/2011 - 4:45am

Haha. ... That's true Al, the man's determination is legendary. BTW, Hope you got plenty of hugs on Firemans day, last week :-)

#67 Sun, 05/22/2011 - 11:09am

you can buy what you choose's your can buy Olu Kai made in China or Island slippers made right here in Hawai'i.You can buy a surfboard or SUP made in China,Vietnam,or where ever,or one made right here,that you had to wait for,not at Costco.Same with your wa''s your choice. a question about Vantage,does Papu still build them?love my Pine Ula.

#68 Mon, 04/02/2012 - 10:39pm

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