Indonesian Fiberglass

Hi everyone, A local company is starting a business importing 16 foot touring fiberglass kayaks from Indonesia. The are charging about $1500 which is almost half price from domesticaly made kayaks. Just wondering if anyone has any experiences with similar types of kayaks? Are the good value in general or junk? The look gorgeous in pics and without close inspection I would think it would be hard to tell difference.

Any thoughts?

One can’t generalize about this.
Some very good work has come out of the far east, but I don’t think anyone’s experience with such products from other companies is going to say anything about your Indonesian source.

Remember that even Honda and Toyota took many years to reach the highest standards. Hyundai/Kia have learned from their examples, but haven’t quite made it yet. It’s a matter of both design and construction quality.

If you have a link for the Indonesian product site, we can give thoughts, but our experience with other far eastern products isn’t going to help.

Laughed out loud…

– Last Updated: Apr-16-13 7:04 PM EST –

I know absolutely nothing about 16 foot, fiberglass, touring kayaks, and I'm not the most trusting individual in the world either.

But, the first thing that popped into my mind was someone on the phone, talking to someone in Indonesia; trying to get them to honor their warranty.

Or will the "local company" take care of all warranty issues, and exactly what experience does this "local company" have doing warranty repairs on Indonesian made kayaks.

What is the warranty?

Also wondered; where did these highly skilled Indonesians kayak builders gain their expertise in making fiberglass kayaks. Wonder what an Indonesian kayak maker's hourly wage is? Wonder if the company will be making kayaks 2 years from now?

If price sounds too good to be true; I'd considering taking Monty Python's advice, "Run away, run away"!


P.S. I know this for sure; there certainly are a lot of well known brands of used kayaks, in the "same price range", available in the pnet classifieds.
Many pnet paddlers would be able to comment on their specs, quality, warranty, handling, reliability. And some would probably be very close to where you live.

Of course they are going to be cheaper

– Last Updated: Apr-16-13 5:56 PM EST –

workplace safety and worker respiratory health is not a priority over there.

I am not up on kayaks either, but the only solely FG ones I can find are on the short side. A sixteen footer is either going to have lots of heft, or may have inadequate material or a poor layout schedule. Its as much about how the material is applied as the material.

I bet both halves are put together domestically, for ease of shipping.

When you say half price, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Now I do have a sixteen foot kayak, but for sure its not all glass..its a composite of glass and kevlar. I am betting most kayaks are a combi like that or carbon and kev and glass. Fiberglass canoes used to be more available and and cheaper than other composites. But guess what, lately there has not been a market for them. One of the boatworks I am familiar with discontinued making glass boats; no market.

Hopefully should it happen the manufacturer discontinues making them for the USA market, the buyer will have recourse for repair or warranty work.

Also not all fiberglass is alike. Pictures can deceive.

not so fast
I own a Dell computer and an AT&T recording machine. Want to guess where my customer assistance comes from?

I’ll give you a hint - it’s not from the States.

But, how many Indonesian kayaks do you own?



well played, my good man. Well played.

Lets go for Chinese
Surely there have been some imported hulls.

Caveat emptor
I say “buyer beware” on buying anything substantial from Indonesia.

Some years back I was involved in analyzing evidence on a huge lawsuit involving construction of a specialized power plant here in the eastern US where the winning general contractor underbid his competitors by procuring low-ball quotes for the huge steel castings for the turbine assemblies from Indonesia (despite the fact that domestic casting facilities were less than 40 miles away.) When the components arrived, they were massively out of spec and didn’t even remotely match up – alignment on some pieces was off by FEET, not millimeters or inches. The contractor had no choice but to cut apart and field weld the parts or build modifications to connect them, losing time and paying huge fines. They halted payments to the vendor, but since they had to pay over 75% up front (millions of dollars) to get the “deal” from the Indonesians, the overseas foundry apparently felt they had made enough profit from the deal already and “liquidated” before they could be sued. Several separate US subcontractors ended up in bankruptcy over cost overruns and delays the project and the whole thing ended up in court. The Indonesian foundry, protected by their own laws, could not be prosecuted.

From the research I did in preparing documentation for the case, I discovered that shipment of grossly defective products from Indonesia is not uncommon and recovering losses from them is nearly impossible. Wages are so low and safety regulations so lax there that goods can be produced at very low prices. So suppliers there can make a quick killing undercutting vendors in overseas markets then do a corporate vanishing act before the disappointed buyers try to come after them.

Indonesia only enacted a domestic “lemon law” last year, decades after most industrialized nations. The World Bank ranks them close to the bottom among countries worldwide in enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Their rankings are more similar to those of small and corrupt third world countries despite being the 15th largest economy in the world (ranked between South Korea and Holland).

A bargain is no bargain if it’s a dud and you’re stuck with it.

They are still made here
Why gamble with questionable products when some of the best are built right here?

What is the name of this new kayak brand. Do they have a web site so we could look what they are offering? More curious than anything. If the importer stands behind the kayak maybe it wont be to bad? Heck most things are made in China now. Indonesia, isn’t that were most sneakers are made? Of course not the same as kayak.

Indonesian kayaks

– Last Updated: Apr-17-13 4:44 PM EST –

Stumbled upon this site with information about how Kaskazi kayaks of South Africa provided molds to a group involved in ecouraging ecotourism paddling in the Raja Ampat region of West Papua in Indonesia. Evidently the local craftsmen would first build the fiberglass kayaks to be used for the tourism venture and then be able to build them for income purposes. I wonder if this is related to the source of kayaks the OP mentioned? Even if not, Raja Ampat looks like a spectacular place for kayaking. And helping people with training and micro-loans to develop sustainable livelihoods that could help improve their existence and protect the reefs is an honorable mission.