From their website today (May 8, 2010):
“Tiderace Sea Kayaks are delighted to announce a new manufacturing partnership for production of our range of composite sea kayaks.
Following three years of continued and accelerating growth, we have elected to commence kayak production in Thailand with one of the largest and most technologically advanced composite production facilities in the World. This opportunity offers us unrivaled high quality production allied to the volume and expansion possibilities required to service our current sales and continued growth.
With the new facility’s significant resources in advanced composite construction, R&D and production, we are absolutely committed to Tiderace’s continued position at the technological forefront of sea kayak design, manufacture and quality. Production of composite Tiderace sea kayaks will commence at the new facility from May 2010 to our unique and exacting designs and constructions.”
From their website today (May 8, 2010):
Link to discussion on UK Sea Kayaking
This is all very interesting, but I have
never even seen a Tiderace let alone paddled one. It is almost as relevant to me as saying they are moving the space shuttle production to China. I hear these are nice boats, hopefully some day I will actually see one. Bill
Well, I have an interest in TideRace
kayaks as a paddler, but I haven't seen their kayaks either. Nor do I have a personal interest in the company. I only know of them by reputation.
Regrettably, there are only four dealers in all of North American, two on each coast and none in Canada.
Speculation: This could be due to their pricing?
Most dealers I know are not in a hurry to pick-up another line of 'expensive' boats. Based on cost comparisons with other 'British style' sea kayaks makers (NDK, Valley, North Shore and P&H), TideRace demands a premium price. It will be interesting to see if their manufacturing move will reduce retail costs (MSRP) and allow them to be more readily available to American paddlers?
The MBA’s are getting paid.
It happens to most manufacturers. At first some craftsmen and designers get together and form a company to make something good. They develope the designs and the market and start to get pretty good saleries for all their hard work.
To take it to the next level they need more investment and the investors want more people with business expertise. The new managers take the new investments and reduce the diversity of products and reduce the labor costs to improve the return on investment. As they growth the compnay either loses its market due to quality issues or getting bigger and less responsive.
In the end all the worlds composite kayaks might be made at this one facility owned by Cobra. In time I hope Cobra will take the best designs and sell them direct as Cobra brand boats at a deep discount.
Later the unpopular designs get mothballed because only a few hundred a year get sold and the market opens up for a local group of craftsmen and designers to make a few boats that fit their local conditions well and the cycle continues.
The materials keep getting better and the boats keep costing less in real dollars as the sport ages. Now begining pplastic rec boats can be had new for less than $250 and new composite boats often cost less than $3500. In real dollars these may be the lowest prices ever and the quality is as good or better than ever.
If only we were staffed like that…
First of all, thanks to those who have read the announcement and even taken the time to comment.
Why have we moved production? It’s very simple- the volume we need to meet our sales now and into the future with absolutely no sacrifice of quality. If our motivation was simply to improve the bottom line we would have moved straight into China where any saving would be far more significant.
The reality is there aren’t many facilities in the World able or willing to handle producing thousands of composite kayaks every year. When you factor in the desired specifications and quality requirements, that list shrinks further.
Cobra just happen to be based in Thailand, but that’s coincidence rather than plan on our part. They have what is probably the finest facility in the World for building our kayaks. What we do know about Cobra is that they’re as dedicated as we are to producing absolute quality to whatever volume is required, so the end user gets the kayak design they want at the quality they really deserve when spending what is a significant sum of money.
I’m pleased to announce our company has a grand total of 0 MBAs amongst us- just a strong desire to offer paddlers the best kayak designs to the best quality. The very best salesman for our kayaks will continue to be the boats themselves and I hope you’ll all get chance to see that when the kayaks arrive in the US later this summer.
Frank, I am not disagreeing you, but
TideRace kayaks were never 'inexpensive' to begin with. They are asking a premium price for their boats compared to other 'British style' kayaks. Although designer/owner Aled William is British, TideRace was never made in the UK, but by the Challenger factory in Finland (maker of Skim kayaks).
Ok, one step back. I believe initially Aled had his TideRace boats produced in two factories in Poland. I am sure there was a 'cost saving' invovled, but there were also apparent production issues, so operations were moved to Finland.
I am not sure why they subsequently moved operations from Finland to Thailand. A spokesman from the Challenger factory would have you believe that they were very surprised by the move. It has been suggested to me, by a TideRace retailer, that the production move will not likely reduce the MSRP to the potential buyer. If that is true, I don't see their market share going up here in the U.S.
I don’t want to get too far off track
here, but as I read this a couple of questions come to mind. Is Aled also the designer of Rockpool kayaks? Is Aled an owner of Rockpool kayaks? Rockpool North America is introducing a thermal formed Alaw Bach and in a previous thread it has been stated that Aled would not be happy to hear his boat is being thermal formed. A thermal formed Rockpool is a real cost savings, does Aled not want to see his designs marketed at a lower price point? You guys seem to be in touch with some key players here. Can you please help me understand who owns these companies and who owns the designs? I think that I find my own interest puzzling given the fact that I have never laid eyes on a boat made by either of them. Yoda told me the force of the boat whore runs strong in me. :) Bill
For the avoidance of any doubt I can clarify that neither Aled or Tiderace have a relationship with any function of Rockpool or Rockpool North America.
We have no comment to make regarding Aled’s previous designs owned by Rockpool or Nigel Dennis; we are simply concentrating on continuing to move forward and making sure we provide the most advanced and high quality kayaks we can, as our production move and the beginnings of full distribution into the US demonstrate.
Dan would be THE Official source…
for information on TideRace and he appears to be doing an admirable job.
I have no official or unofficial capacity with TideRace. As a paddler I am simply interested in their boats.
Any information I have contributed here in regard to TideRace I have gleamed from other pnet discussions, the UK Sea Kayaking board, TideRace owners, and/or my regional TideRace dealer.
As a Tiderace owner
I can say they are one of the best built kayaks I have ever seen. Besides the finish being absolutely beautiful they are absolutely bomber proof. I have owned or paddled NDK, Valley,and P&H boats. I hope this move will make their boats more accessible in North America while keeping up their high quality build.
maybe later builds
but my skeg never worked, I have cracks all over the gel coat, and 3 of the 4 hatches leak. I think I got one of the last kayaks built in a certain country in E.Europe so maybe I got a lemon. Having said that, the company has been quite willing to help work these issues out (replace hard hatch covers with soft rubber ones, replace the skeg, and send matching gel coat).
As far as paddling, aside from a tendency to weathercock, the kayak handles somewhat like an Explorer, simple to turn with the slightest edge and lively and fun yet totally comfortable in lumpy water, and it rolls really easily. It’s a bit too much boat for me, I don’t really have the strength to take advantage of it’s length to go fast, and I can’t lie flat on the back deck, but it’s a keeper because I really enjoy paddling this boat…oh, and the 4th hatch (the candy dish) totally rocks.
Which model do you have?
How many do you think they make?
I wonder how many composite sea kayaks are made in the world in a year. I bet the number is not very high and the boats can just about last most of a lifetime.
That bad of a lemon…
…warrants a new boat IMO…just wondering…how much help was the dealer in getting problems resolved.
lots of help
All these issues will be resolved with much help from the dealer and Tiderace. I’ve been present while the dealer talked to Dan, they’re all about getting it right.
This wont be a Thai built boat!
And, it may be one example of why Tiderace went to a world class manufacturer. BTW, Cobra isn’t “cheap”, just excellent, and consistent.
Good move Dan!
I know Cobra well and agree with everything you’ve said. Anyone who doesn’t “get” what you are saying and wants to spew nonsense on-line simply needs to see a Cobra built kayak and compare it to whatever they have…nuff said.
My boat was one of the first from Finland. Solid layup, no gelcoat cracks. Only a minor skeg issue which the dealer and Tiderace addressed immediately.
Where the boats really shine is in rough water. Confidence inspiring is the way I would describe the feel.