P&H Kayaks made in China

I would just like to remind everyone
that in days gone by there was an American company that had composite kayaks built out of country in Canada. The Canadian boats were of much greater quality than the one built here, that is if they are even still built here in the U.S. so who knows?

I emailed P&H to see if they had a responce to this thread and as you can see so far…no reply at all.

I kind of feel that it’s unfair to start rumors about this kind of stuff without proof. Kind of like the one about Perception funding Alcida. It serves no real perpose but to stir the pot, or troll.

Not just rumors
I think Peter Orton speaks from knowledge.

People are not wrong to be concerned about a change in maufacturing. I believe this thread has both reflected genuine concerns and, thanks to Peter et al, shed some light on the situation under discussion.

BTW, it is generally agreed that often the best quality manufacture of kayaks is Canadian.

I stand corrected
As I admit that I didn’t read Peaters thread before rushing off to work this morning. I’m happy to have read it and see the facts of the matter.

Thanks for pointing this out to me. I’ve been very busy in the shop making a greenland paddle and am covered with sawdust to the point of not being recognizable. I will get cleaned up and read it again!

Having read this over
and thinking about it all I have to say is…

It’s a very sad state of affairs when a company who employs only “12 to 15 people total” has to resort to farming out work to China and either give up hands on control of their product or perminantly station someone overseas to guard against incompetence. It almost sounds like “Monty Pythons Flying Kayaks”

Something very wrong with this pictue!

I’m afraid…
…that this is typical of many manufacturing firms. As someone who worked in the semiconductor industry for many years and lost his job due to offshoring, I speak from experience. The driving force is cheap labor, plain and simple. Why pay U.S. salaries and wages when you can pay 25 or 50 cents an hour overseas? Once a company moves its operations to China (or Mexico, or Tailand, or India, or wherever), then its competition has to follow suit or be driven out of business because of the inability to compete due to labor costs.

I won’t get on my soapbox (too much) about the “global economy” and the un-evenness of the playing field, but one thinkg is for sure. The trend of offshoring is not going to stop anytime soon. Corporate greed and the consumers’ insistance on low prices will continue to drive it forward.

Most recreational kayaks are rotomolded; an operation that is largely automated. There’s not much operator skill involved, so the process lends itself well to being produced by unskilled labor. These types of industries are perfectly suited to offshoring. I personally believe that if one kayak manufacturer moves its manufacturing to China, then it won’t be long until they are do. It’s simple economics.


Rule of thumb
If their freight cost is more than our labor- make it here.

And vice versa.

This is a simplistic business strategy which does not consider less tangible macro-economic factors.

One more tangible macro
factor is not to give our country away. It hurts when I hear stories like those of incanoe.

Although I tend to be liberal, as a business owner I find it reprehensible to see American jobs disappear.

Sorry- this is more for B&B than here.

Just about every major brand sailboard
is made in Thailand. Waterskis, wake,snow,kite and many long boards too. Been to the (huge) factory several times and it is pretty amazing to see.

There IS a secret spot in China where boats can be built as well as a manufacturer WANTS them to be built…As for the people building them, just show them how and watch it happen without complaint, need for a ‘break’ every couple hours, employer coddling, or chip on the shoulder attitudes.

OK… so let me get this straight

– Last Updated: Sep-25-05 11:26 AM EST –

What we have here is a true catch 22. Send the boats off to China to be built, get rid of those pesky employees or at least most of them and appease the rest by telling them we will still build "some" of the boats here for a while. Cost to produce will be so low that high cost shipping will be offset. We can sit on our ass and collect money and just answer the phone ourselves, even get rid of the receptionist!

Oh but wait! who will we sell our boats to? Not me...I don't shop at Wallmart for the same reasons. Doing business with Cina has killed """thousands""" of American jobs and now that we have built China they are consuming so much energy that I can't drive my car or heat my house! And I can't get a raise but everything and all things are becoming so costly that I may need to by China made goods just to stay alive!

Sorry for going off

Simplistic strategy
I agree with Bruce. There are less tangible factors to consider as well. For one, what happens if (heaven forbid) we get drawn into a war and no longer have the domestic manufacturing capacity to make the equipment we need? Or, what happens if we p___ China off, let’s say by supporting Taiwan’s resistance to Chinese occupation (there is a treaty which requires us to do that), and in retaliation China nationalizes all the US investments in plant and equipment over there? I seriously doubt that we would risk war with a superpower in order to take back our investments.

It seems that we are giving away much of what made this country strong for the short term corporate goal of maximizing profits without considering the ramifications of doing so. I also cannot see how a country can thrive on a service ecomony alone. Successful nations have diverse economic structures comprised of manufacturing and service industries. That way their economy does not suffer as much as a whole if one segment or another suffers a temporary downturn.

I think we will eventually see the small boat shops who cater to paddlers who want the best quality continuing to make boats in the U.S. The large corporations that build mass produced boats will over time move operations overseas. Sorry, I realize this is a paddling discussion board and not an economics discussion board, but all the discussion in this thread shows what a hot topic it is.


Free Enterprise vs Big Government

– Last Updated: Sep-25-05 10:23 AM EST –

We like to preach the virtues of free enterpise, but more and more coporations who claims that is what they want are relying more and more on making their profits by having their products manufactured in overseas government subsudized factories. So ironically if it weren't for a Big Government then these corporations might be sucking wind on their own preachings. So if eliminating big government is our goal, then maybe a policy shift is due or we need to redefine fair trade.

Well said N.T. and incanoe

Would they be available in China?
It has major market potential. There was lots of interest in my kayak ( Feathercraft) when I was there.

Two other issues…
besides QC.

  1. Customer support. Compananies with stellar customer-service reputations (such as QCC and Folbot) need to have their production facilities within North America.

  2. Politics. Every purchase is a political statement too. While I can’t be pure as the driven snow, I try to favour Canadian produced goods. When MEC started moving their manufacturing to Vietnam and China, I started buying at a competitor whose stuff is still made locally. If I am going to support a government with my money, then I want to be able to hold that government to account at the voting booth.


– Last Updated: Sep-26-05 4:51 AM EST –

Wow, this seems to be a hot one! It seems a shame that one person with seemingly the full inside scoop won’t or probably more likely can’t say more. I’m guessing his previous employers have some kind of gagging order over him. It will be interesting to see if P&H responds this Monday!

I understanding that Pyranha the white water kayak company purchased P&H from the founder Dave Patrick 2 or 3 years ago. Peter, who was running P&H at the time, appears to have stayed on in some capacity until jumping or being pushed earlier this year. At the same time Pyranha’s head of development Jason Buxton also left, they both now reside at Valley.

As a devils advocate I would like to speculate the following- Big white water company purchaces specialist top end sea kayak company after failing to break into that market itself. Now wants to see quick returns, to do this wants to focus on more mass market products (new Capella is wider and flatter hulled than its predecessor, Easky 13 single layer moulded in seat very wide etc.) chuffed with getting these in to some big box stores they want to follow the same path with the composite line. Peter not happy with what he sees as a dumming down of the company he helped build jumps. Jason already seeing the same emphasis in the white water ranges jumps too. Valley’s gain?

And the evidence so far- P&H launches the rec-touring Easky’s, talk another in this line next year and now seemingly looks for cheaper off shore production. Valley brings out it exciting Rapier racing sea kayak, a surf range, enhancements to its flagship Nordkapp and switches to resin infusion for its top end laminates. For my money it is obvious where each company now sees it future, Valley is still very much the enthusiasts company, whilst P&H and Pyranha seek sales numbers over everything else. I’m watching Valley with interest!!

Do agree with N.T. and Incanoe. I think we make moral choices with our purchases. My info on Current Design comes from a new dealer who points out their composite Kestrel and new sit on top composite Kestrel will be made in China.

Recreational sector in China…
… should be going up right along with their incomes.

Direct reply from P&H
I recieved a direct responce from P&H today. It states that it is partly correct that some of the lower end P&H boats will be made in China but that all high end and composite models will still made in England.

so be it.


– Last Updated: Sep-27-05 4:20 AM EST –

I would certainly prefer to hear a more detailed response i.e. are they categorically saying none of the glass boats will be made in China or are they just saying none of the higher end carbon composite ones will be made there? Depending on use of terminology either could be the case!

Close but not quite
"We can sit on our ass and collect money and just answer the phone ourselves, even get rid of the receptionist!"

You can choose to sit on your ass, which many CEO and owners do. Or you can choose to devote your time to design new models or refining the existing ones. The salary you’re NOT paying the receptionist can be applied toward the more knowledgable people who help with the new design and such…

Your choice. Those who choose their career as typist can tell you that their career had been totally eliminated by the computer word processor. Those who choose their career in the computer field say they can write their own pay check.

Whatever floats your boat.