Polish made P&H Kayaks

Just a word to the wise for anyone looking to buy a P&H kayak over the next few months. Now although this is friend of a friend story I have no reason to doubt the source. My friend works for a major resin/gelcoat company based in the UK, one of his colleges covers parts of Eastern Europe, including Poland, long story short Dave (the english guy) was asked by his eastern European colleague if he knew of a kayak company called P&H. Turns out they have placed an order for about 500 kayaks.

Now I have no reason to doubt that a polish company can produce a good kayak. What I would question is how clearly they will be identifiable from those produced in the UK and will there be any small differences in specification due to locally sourced parts and materials. P&H has a very good track record for QC but considering their attempt to have product produced in China (under the Venture brand) was abandoned last year due to QC problems, there must be some concerns that they will have the same issues again.

Don’t take this as an anti P&H, Chinese or Eastern European thread. All have the ability to produce outstanding products. What I would say is that those who have gone down the offshore route have typically encountered initial QC problems and that I would be very wary buying the first batch of anything produced at any new location, home or abroad.

Obviously some important piece of information could have been lost in the passage of this story from one source to the next, the products might be limited to the Venture range or be some new product outside the existing range. However as a paddler preparing to pay top dollar for a new kayak I really want to know where it is made and that just because the company is busy they haven’t just subcontracted work to another company.

I guess my ideal response will be a reply direct from P&H reassuring this forum that no P&H badged kayaks will be made by third party manufactures, in which case I will check my source and if a mistake has been made I’ll apologise and remove my post. Failing the above, my next best P&H response would be a reassurance that they will undergo QC by P&H’s own staff and will be clearly marked made in Poland (or wherever) at least then we will be able to make informed decisions and make our own direct comparisons between in-house and outsource produced products.

Perhaps you should verify your sources before posting this in a public forum.

I agree
Except for your use of the word “perhaps”, I agree.

Tide Race kayaks are made in Poland, by the http://www.plastex.home.pl/ I am quite sure their quality is up to par.

I’ve been reading a good book about Polish and other eastern Europe

workers in the UK . Its funny and sad , and well written . It’s a subculture

of workers from the former USSR picking strawberries and working in

chicken factories in Britain . It seems not unusual for UK kayaks to be

made in Poland . The books title is " Strawberry Fields" . The authors

prior book was titled “A short history of tractors in Ukrainian.” I did

have a dream of being a tractor driver in eastern Europe

why would you post the same gossip

(both here and on the Paddler’s Place Discussion Forum)

I don’t know anything about your rumor (T or F), but you sure must have an axe to grind.

If you’re right, why would you equate Poland with China? A member of the Hanseatic League … A Baltic Sea maritime power … Koenigsberg, Gdansk … people who still know how to work with their hands. And if you’re wrong I hope you’ll leave this thread as a testament to your recklessness. Rather than delete other people’s posts. “Hatchet and run” is called “swiftboating” around here.

"Just a word to the wise"
Posting your gossip on one forum would have been more than sufficient.

is that to me?

sorry bohemia
Comment was for the original breathless poster, not for you, bohemia.


for reasons posted by Bohemia
I’m not worried. I’m in the market for a Cetus and if I discover that Polish workers actually crafted the kayak I would not be dismayed…maybe even relieved considering the QA of some Brit companies I have avoided for years when adding to the rack…and in this vain, it would be most obvious to P/H that quality is something the American market is demanding more and more over pure gloss and pyramid schemes. Their reputation to date is on par with Valley and I hedge my bets that whoever is hands on with the layups is under their watchful eye.

Plastex ICF K1s
… have a good reputation. Not only are their carbon sprint kayaks rather flawless but the research that went into them quite impressive(tank tests in GDansk).

I would prefer Plastex over any UK based sea-kayak builders I’m aware of(including Kirton).


Thank you for posting the link. Aled had written me some time ago about Plastex, but I hadn’t found their web site.

As I recall, Tiderace is using Plastex because their ability to produce boats of consistent quality exceeds any current manufacturing in the UK.

P&H has the best reputation for quality build of any British manufacturer. I assume they want to keep it that way.

I think the responders are…
…being a little hard on DannyB. He didn’t say the outsourced product will be junk. He’s just concerned about the effect on quality. P&H boats may or may not be built in Poland, China or my hometown. That’s not the point.

The point, is that the buying public has come to believe in the quality of their boats based on how and where they are built. Now, if they decide to have some of their boats manufactured elsewhere then the buyer has a right to know. Nobody likes to feel like the victim of the old “bait and switch.” They might be great quality boats, but one should at least be informed as to the where the item was made.

no, the point is
that he’s posting/publishing a rumor

Why don’t you call P&H?
You posted:

"I guess my ideal response will be a reply direct from P&H reassuring this forum that no P&H badged kayaks will be made by third party manufactures, in which case I will check my source and if a mistake has been made I’ll apologise and remove my post. "

Then why not call or email P&H… Why post on an internet forum, that they aren’t responsible for…

seems simple to me…

Not once, but twice
DannyB has chosen to post the same breathless news flash not once, but twice on different public forums: “… word to the wise for anyone looking to buy a P&H kayak …”; “… my ideal response will be a reply direct from P&H reassuring this forum …”

Correct me if I am wrong, but in reading DannyB’s posts I see no attempt to contact P&H. I checked out P&H’s website, and if you click on the “Contact Us” function and you’ll get e-mail, telephone and FAX contact information. Before posting on a public forum, a good first step would have been to contact P&H directly.

As someone else has posted, the real potential issue is not offshore production, but potential QC issues when production gets moved. For example when Wenonah purchased Current Designs and moved production from Canada to the US (hardly an “offshore” move), there were some initial bumps in the production road; and Wenonah and its dealers stood behind their product and fixed the problems.

Whenever I have had a problem with a boat, I have worked with the dealer and/or contacted the manufacturer directly. And each time my problem was eventually resolved to my satisfaction.

Don’t think that DannyB will have too much to worry about getting a Polish or any other P&H boat, as there appear to be so many other people with their money in their hands clamoring for P&H product.

I have no connection to P&H or any other manufacturer - I don’t even like paddling Brit boats. What’s got me so upset is the inherent unfairness of posting DannyB’s kind of gossip on a public forum.

as a new poster

– Last Updated: Mar-22-08 5:06 PM EST –

First as a new poster I wasn’t sure which forum was right to post on, so I did post twice, I apologise!! . Secondly I have no axe to grind, I’ve tried to make clear in all posts that I have no problem with the principle of Polish or any other country manufacturing kayaks. My concern is that the shift won’t be seamless and that if it is happening there might not be the transparency needed to fully evaluate any difference between domestically produced and outsourced products.

To clarify, if it is happening and I am able to determine that a kayak I’m buying is produced in Poland, if it is of the same or better quality, I will still be buying that kayak. I fully understand the globalised nature of modern manufacture.

Where I do disagree with many of the above posts is with the concept that I should somehow be blinded to my kayaks origin or just blindly accept that just because they can make a good kayak in Derby England that they can just seamlessly pass that knowledge to a factory 1500 miles and a differing language away. We are not talking a piece of tooling that can be moved to another machine and just set to run. Alad and Tiderace is also being sited as an example of everything being OK, well it is my understanding that Tiderace gave up on another polish company (because of such problems) before it settled with Plastex.

So yes I like P&H, I just want to know, will I be able to tell if my kayak is not made by the 10 or so craftsmen in Derby?

the only question left unanswered
is: why “go public” without vetting the facts??

according to your reply, there is no motive for rumor-mongering,

so we are left scratching our heads

legitimate concern

– Last Updated: Mar-22-08 9:09 PM EST –


At the end of the day it appears that you'e got a question that you need answered: "How can I be sure that the boat I'm buying was made in Great Britain?"

So my suggestion is that you contact P&H directly or through their reps; check out P&H's website.

No one here is saying that you need to take a manufacture's claims on faith, but several people are saying that a public internet forum is not the best place to get your question answered by P&H.

If you're that concerned about P&H's moving production, wait and see what quality of boat gets produced. Then you can base a purchase decision based on objective outcomes.

Welcome to the rowdy pnet community. Today it's you getting slammed, tomorrow it may be me. I look forward to your future comments and posts.


P.S What is a "Chinese whisper"?

Not on the same wavelength !
To be honest I thought I had answered that question. I have vetted the facts to the best of my ability, short of hiring a private detective. I am also contacting P&H directly but for two reasons I thought raising the topic on an informed forum like this was a good idea:

Firstly I thought it would highlight any issues that had manifested themselves when other companies had moved production, Epic being the most obvious example but I believe others such as Necky, Current Designs and Wilderness Systems have all moved production in the last couple of years. Giving me an idea of what to look out for.

Secondly I thought that it would give P&H the chance to set the record straight if there are any inaccuracies in the story. This I thought was far better than the story doing the rounds like some Chinese whisper through the paddling community

Obviously I’m not on the same wavelength as some on this forum!!