Just got my Vantage!

After waiting nearly a year after placing my order, I finally got my Vantage last week. Total price: $2,900 will get you one delivered to the docks. I've been paddling around on a Hurricane for the last year and have gotten really used to it. I've been on it twice so far in relatively calm waters and am waiting for the wind to pick up so that I can try it in the swells. The seat is situated in a cavity which places you closer to the center of the boat unlike the Hurricane whose seat is situated on top of the hull. Even with my small butt the seat width is a little tight for me. The boat is well balanced which makes it very easy to lift the ama with the shifting of your weight. Keeping it in the air is also a lot easier than on the Hurricane. I've noticed that the wave blade ama tends to slap the water unlike the Hurricane ama which moves through the water without a sound.

While the length of both boats are the same, a side-by-side comparison shows that the cross section of the Vantage is noticeably larger than the Hurricane's, especially the back portion. The keel of the Vantage also has a great deal more rocker than the Hurricane which is why the boat does better in the bumps than the Hurricane. The Vantage also tends to ride on top of the swell as opposed to the Hurricane which tends to get swallowed up by the swell.

I have noticed that the Vantage does not glide through flat water as easily as the Hurricane.

Out of all of the smaller boats that I've tried, I like the Vantage, best, at least when there are small conditions. As far as doing a time trial or paddling in near flat conditions, I still think, however, that the Hurricane can't be touched. Of course, none of this stuff means anything to the bigger guys who are too big for the boat.

I'm looking forward to paddling the Vantage in bigger stuff. When I do, I'll give you guys my feedback.

Submitted by Snarfblat on Thu, 10/14/2004 - 11:46pm

Does anyone have or seen the new Vantage FT yet? Big Island paddlers?

#1 Mon, 01/24/2005 - 10:28pm

I've been thinking about it. I plan on holding the Hurricane until I get the hang of my new canoe and then make my decision. Its more of a matter of whether I want to hold onto the Hurricane to paddle on flat days or keep it for when my wife wants to go paddling. The problem is that the chances of me paddling on flat days or my wife paddling with me are next to nil.

#2 Wed, 10/20/2004 - 4:13pm

Snafblat, you should sell your hurricane for 2800 on Y2Kanu

#3 Wed, 10/20/2004 - 10:38am

I just ordered a vantage.It supposed to be a new model of the vantage with some deck, iako, and ama modifications. The hull is the same. Steve told me 3 months max which sounds pretty damn good,(let's hope he's telling the truth). I currently own a used wave blade and love it, especially in the big surf. I have never tried the vantage before,but I have only heard good things about it from everyone I know that owns one. More input would be great, Snarfblat. Ever tried it in BIG surf? Is it comfortable over a long period of time? Is it real responsive in small to medium size surf?Did you try it in Leighton's Race?(that was the ultimate surf run!)What about the flats?Any input from anyone would be cool.Aloha. 8)

#4 Mon, 12/20/2004 - 11:19pm

I've had a vantage for 2 years and have raced and paddled in huge to flat water and it is great in all. It has super good maneuverability and does not spin out on waves. You will be happy as long as it is made well. You should tell steve to make it extra stiff. That is what my friend asked for and his boat is so hard and not really any heavier.

#5 Tue, 12/21/2004 - 8:03am

as awesome a designer as steve is, his quality/craftmanship and customer service is piss poor. i've had my vantage for less than a year and have had so many problems it's ridiculous. the first time i told steve about it he tried to get out of it and say "it wasn't his fault" and "not his problem". then he caved in and agreed to repair the crack that came with the boat, saying anything else was out of his hands. and many more problems arose after which he stuck to his guns saying it wasn't his responsibility anymore. anyways the point i'm trying to make is that if you get a vantage and are not a team rider, don't get you hopes up too high, cause you'll only end up with a boat full of problems. you can try to play the odds and be that 1 out of 5 that gets a good quality boat, but that's and expensive risk. i'm not endorsing anyone else, but think that people should be held accountable for the products they put out, especially for the price at which the charge.

#6 Tue, 12/21/2004 - 2:18pm

Gee, thanks for making me fell better about my order! Nah, thanx for keepin it real! Oh well, I already paid in full and can only hope that my boat comes out good. I've heard a lot of good about the design and I really want one. I'll be sure to voice my opinion when I get it. Thanx dudes.

#7 Sun, 12/26/2004 - 8:38pm

After paddling my vantage for a little over 2 months, I gotta say that this is the best boat I've paddled so far. Unlike the hurricane, the boat lifts on a passing wave instead of getting swallowed up. Its also easy to get on a wave even when you're on the backside of it. It just pops up and over. Thanks to its rocker design, it also spins on a dime, allowing you to move from ground swells and windswells moving in different directions.

The boat has way better balance than the hurricane when it comes to lifting the ama and feels a lot more nimble in terms of maneuvering on a wave and even allows you to slide sideways to the right or to the left without actually turning the boat.

The boat is noticeably slower in the flats than the hurricane which sort of confirms my belief that you can design a boat to be awesome in one condition, only. If you design a boat to do well in all conditions, all you end up with is mediocre to good performance in all conditions.

The only problem I have is that I tend to slide off of the seat when I have the ama way up in the air. The seat is also rather narrow even for me. I hear Steve is working on making the seat area wider.

As far as getting a cruddy boat from Steve, I've only heard of one fella who purchased a "soft" boat. All of the other Vantage paddlers have not reported any problems--at least not to me.

Steve is making these boats overseas, now, which should help to speed up production. Like anything else, though, you should expect the first batch(es) to fall short of the boats made by Steve. Things should improve overtime, however, as the learning curve should be rather steep. Let's just hope that Steve doesn't run into the same problem that the Hurricane ran into a while back.

#8 Mon, 12/27/2004 - 10:09am

Intereseting that more manufacturers are switching to making boats overseas. One can't help but wonder why. Certainly it isn't for the superioir quality, workmanship, and years of boat building experience that cheap third world labor can provide. Are production costs cheaper overseas? If in fact it is cheaper to build a boat elsewhere, why are they all the same price regardless of origin? Guess it really is all about the margins, not necessarily the quality of the product.

#9 Mon, 12/27/2004 - 9:13pm

i would guess that with shipping and everything, cost would be around the same, with overseas being slightly cheaper... but getting a mold overseas and having one here, or two overseas, people will be getting canoes twice as quick. the biggest problem with getting a new boat is that by the time you get it theres a newer model out-- so it works out for everyone

#10 Tue, 12/28/2004 - 5:43pm

When a paddler has a problem with their canoe they should contact the manufacturer and try to resolve it. Instead of posting it here please call Steve himself, I have made him aware of your claim and he would like to hear from whoever you are.
It is ridiculous to state any kind of calculated risk in ordering a canoe from Steve or any other manufacturer when you really have no idea how many canoes are being made and what the complete results are. The word around the paddling community regarding the Vantage is another top quality design from Steve. He went away from what all other Canoe manufacturers are/were doing when he designed the Vantage. All of you have mentioned you really like the canoe!
When you pay that hefty sum for a canoe you should expect quality for the price. Again I mean from any canoe. All of the canoe manufacturers have had problems with some of their canoes. Some more than others, for the Vantage it's been very positive which is why there is such high demand for the canoe. Manny Kulukulualani has been tearing it up on his Vantage canoe and he loves it. Just ask him what he thinks next time you see him...
Just to clarify about the canoes being made overseas, at this time there are not any canoes going to be sold to customers produced overseas. This is a project in progress. If and when they are, it will not be with the learning curve as mentioned above. The canoes will be sold only if they have the same high quality as those made here. Please do not make comments on something you do not know for a fact, unless you are directly involved in the production - which you are not.
Thank you for the positive feedback on the design of the Vantage canoe and its performance, I hope you continue to enjoy the canoe and get a chance to do some fun downwind runs on it.

#11 Tue, 01/04/2005 - 1:19pm

hwh20, do you not think i've called steve about my problems when it first arose. if he couldn't resolve it then, what makes you think he's gonna do it now. ohhh .. i see, because i'm posting my problems for everyone to see? that's the beautiful thing about a forum, the truth will come out. if was a stellar businessman, he wouldn't have such complaints posted. look .. i can proudly say i've owned a boat at one time or another from pretty much every canoe maker in hawaii, and steve was the only one who would not immediately jump at fixing a factory problem with the boat (at no charge mind you). john martin, karel, tiger, mike giblin, and even kai ..if there's something wrong with the boat, they'll take it back and give you a new one if they can't resolve the problem at no cost to boat or part. if you want specifics, my rear sleeve where the iako goes into has a small hole someplace. when i told steve about it, he said that he pressure tests all his boats before they're shipped and there was no problems with it then. he then went on to blame the person that i took the boat to for repairs for such problem. he, by the way, was repairing a crack that came with the footwell when the boat was shipped, was no where near the rear sleeve and the boat hadn't even been assembled or touched water yet. fast forward a couple of months. one day, the tip of my rudder started disintergrating .. apparently underneath the paint was some kind of epoxy clay that hadn't cured. i called steve for about a week, with no response. finally i ended up sanding it down so i could use the thing. a few days later steve calls and says that he would've given me a new one if i hadn't have done that, but offered to sell me a new one at 25% off. why must i pay for a factory flaw instilled upon the seller? these are just my own experiences, and i'm not even talking about some friends who have had the same problems. now i'm tired of dealing with steve. if he wants to resolve anything, maybe you can persuade him to work on his customer service ...

#12 Tue, 01/04/2005 - 7:42pm

i never claimed that steve was making a crappy design...i just question boats made overseas. Glad to see there is some real discussion going on here. it was getting boring for a while.

[quote="hwnh20"]Just to clarify about the canoes being made overseas, at this time there are not any canoes going to be sold to customers produced overseas. This is a project in progress. If and when they are, it will not be with the learning curve as mentioned above. The canoes will be sold only if they have the same high quality as those made here. Please do not make comments on something you do not know for a fact, unless you are directly involved in the production - which you are not.[/quote]

I don't see why you are getting so bent out of shape, I don't think anything I posted was ever a personal attack. just trying to raise some questions.

#13 Wed, 01/05/2005 - 3:44pm

I've heard of several reasons why boat builders will often chose to manufacture their boats overseas...especially in the orient.

1) cost of labor. You can find dirt cheap labor and avoid the hassle of dealing with a department of labor and paying for health insurance and workers compensation insurance;
2) cost of materials. No explanation needed here;
3) No OSHA requirements; and
4) No EPA or government entity that prohibits the use of highly toxic and volatile chemicals used in the construction of fiberglass and epoxy-based hulls.

The biggest problem with building canoes in places that meet one or all of the criteria mentioned above is quality control.

#14 Tue, 03/08/2005 - 11:34pm

Sounds like a great way to get out of paying fair wages and benefits, providing safe working conditions for your employees - and you don't even have to worry about silly concerns like "the environment"! And, all we have to do is sacrifice quality? Let's get ALL our canoe manufacturers to start building overseas!

#15 Wed, 03/09/2005 - 7:30am

I've been paddling my Vantage for a little less than half a year and am still loving it. I've put a couple of dents on the bottom of the hull under the rear iako position with my elbow trying to flip the canoe over after a Huli, but nothing major. Found out that you need to take your time and take care in how you right your boat no matter how embarassed you are about Huli-ing.

I was talking to Marcela(sp?) over at Outrigger Connections the other day and confirmed that the color choice of the canoe really makes a difference in the final weight of the boat. Now that the environmental police have banned the use of certain substances like lead in the use of paints/gel coats, a lot of the colors out there are translucent. Accordingly, to provide adequate coverage, a lot of the stuff has be put on the boat for certain colors like red and yellow. Marcela says that the weight of the boat bearing these colors can make a boat up to 2lbs heavier than another of the same design, especially if its applied to the hull which she says has a greater surface area than the top. According to her, yellow is the heaviest while white it the lightest.

My Vantage has a yellow top and seems to be heavier than the demo I tried. Maybe its the paint. Don't know. If I had to do it over again, I'd probably go with a different color.

#16 Wed, 03/09/2005 - 10:30am

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