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Old 05-08-2007   #1
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1
Whitewater Kayak

Hello Kayakers,
I am part of a team that is working on a business project concerning whitewater kayaks. Our specific product would be a polycarbonate whitewater kayak that features a new unique patented polycarbonate. This polycarbonate would be different from current, traditional polycarbonate. It would be stronger and equivalent to the structural expectations of the current market. Also, since this polycarbonate features an alternative production process using less materials and time, it is cheaper than current kayak materials. This would result in prices on the order of polyethylene kayaks.
Please take some time to answer a few questions, keeping in mind that our polycarbonate is structurally stronger than polycarbonates you may have had experience with as well as the fact that our kayaks will be cheaper than current models.
What skill level kayaker do you think would be most interested in this product?
If you were to purchase a polycarbonate kayak, how would you do so? Would you order it online to be shipped to your home, visit a retailer, or other methods?
Do you think a product like this would fill a niche in the kayak market?
Would you be interested in this polycarbonate kayak?

Thank you for your time,
-Ryan Kelley
Halite Kayak Group

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Old 05-08-2007   #2
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
I am not a chemist nor did I sleep at a Holiday Inn express last night. Give me an example of a poly boat.

"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 05-08-2007   #3
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Summit, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,085
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Whether people are interested in the product at first will depend on kayak design, not the plastic. If it's a good design, people will buy it. If the kayaks hold up and do not break when being pushed to the limit, people will continue to buy them. If the boats start breaking, you will not have a customer base for very long. As far as plastic goes, people tend to prefer the cross-link (Jackson) to the Linear (most other companies) because of its structural integrity. That being said, Dagger, Prijon, Pyranha, and LiquidLogic have reputations of making boats that hold up well too.

Most often, people buy boats from retailers because they have the ability to demo the boats and size it up in person.
"The world would be a better place if everyone kayaked."-Brad Ludden (Valhalla)
"You only get one chance to run a drop blind."-DD
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Old 05-08-2007   #4
Frisco, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 62
First of all how much difference would there be in price? Are we talking 100-200 dollars difference or would it me more significant?

I would deffinatly have to demo the boat first.

As far as purchasing a poly boat i would not make a determination untill i tried it out and compared it to other boats like it.

A question for you, are you making both creekers and playboats?
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Old 05-08-2007   #5
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
I am not sure exactly what kind of properties polycarbonate has, but the main issue with kayaks in my mind is the blend of weight / strength / brittleness. Polycarbonate is a good strong plastic, but my first impression is that it will be much more brittle than current boat meterials. The most common failure in boats is rock puncture in colorado. For rock abuse you want something that can deform and not fail due to brittle fracture. A very hard boat with low brittle fracture will get destroyed in colorado.

I'd say that if you found a new material that was cost competitive had better structural properties, and that was as easy to manufacture that everyone would eventually want one. The real test is to see how they stand up on the river.
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Old 05-08-2007   #6
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Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 679
Most whitewater kayaks are polyethelene. Strength is not the only issue, toughness (impact resistance) should be part of the material selection. Tensile strength might be higher for polycarbonate but the you need to consider how the material will hold up at 33 degrees F and falling 20+ feet onto a sharp rock.
"I think I handled my alcohol pretty well considering how drunk I was." -Cousin Dan
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Old 05-08-2007   #7
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 176
Ryan - from your post it sounds like you are not very familiar with whitewater kayaking. Read Count's post, because if you don't have someone who knows the sport designing your boats you will not have any customers, no matter how good the plastic is.

Originally Posted by COUNT View Post
Whether people are interested in the product at first will depend on kayak design, not the plastic.
That said, there is going to be more demand for durable boats for creekers than a playboat. You can't really break it down by skill level, although people running creeks are for the most part advanced boaters.

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