There is a rumour out there in kayaking circles that I no longer build kayaks. Lies lies and more lies! Absolute lies.
Who would start such rumours? My wife Lynda comes to mind. She thinks that after 36 years I deserve a change – or a rest. But sadly the trail of mis-information seems to lead back to certain kayak retailers who cannot access my products.
Thirty six years ago there was no such thing as a kayak retailer. Maybe the problem (lies) may be almost resolved. The current economic depression is causing kayak builders and retailers to close up and dissappear into the clouds.
So – just to confirm – I made the first real New Zealand sea kayak in 1977. I made the first real multisport kayak in 1987. I made the compact Gap 1 kayak in 1975 – which Anne Dwyer of Kiwi Kayaks took to the USA – and changed kayaking forever. If you do not believe me – click here http://www.paddlinglife.net/article.php?id=394
Sadly I no longer make the Gap One kayak (but I still use one). The good news is that I still custom build all of the current kayak models listed here on this website. Just send me your orders.
Last November / December I built the largest batch of kayaks since 2007. Huge! But honestly – since mid November I have secured just one kayak order – for delivery in July 2011. This is the worst order taking in 36 years. A massive sort out is taking place. Other manufacturers are closing, or retrenching, or combining production. They all seem to be chasing the surf ski market. Yeah right!
Kayak retailers are closing. Many were just opportunists who just pushed the latest fads. The Christchurch kayak retailer that I am friendly with – PaddlerZone are trading along nicely. We actually joke that soon – if this kayak business carnage continues – we will be the last-men-standing. Wow! Shades of 36 years ago. The ‘good-old-days.
An admission. Since mid December 2010 I have been fully retired. Which is why I can be open and honest about the market condition. The break from work has been nice. But also busy. Not really sure how I ever fitted work into my days. But a problem looms. Lynda has found that having me messing up the house decor 24/7 in not really too rosy. Lynda requests that you send me some kayak orders so that I am not under her feet in the house. Please help me!
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